“Liberty & Justice for all.”
US Pledge of Allegiance
When we talk about the being equal in this day & age this comes up in a conversation about several times but it truly doesn’t feel like anything is happening in that department, it feels more like we’re spinning the wheels as a country. We’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas but it feels like we are constantly taking two steps back. When we look at the the definition of equality which is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. However in a perfect world we have it in some areas & we can truly improve in others, it looks good on paper but like with anything it can be better in every sense. The title may be simple along with the premise, however most of the subjects covered have to be talked about in some realm because we practice it everyday big & small & hopefully we can take what we practice & apply it in a better way.
History of Equality
Looking at equality over the last 400 years in the US it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows but with any push against the norm that tends to be the case. In a rough history lesson slavery started in 1619, the USA declared independence in 1776 followed by the revolutionary war with Britain which ended in 1783, then the civil war happening from 1861-1865 which resulted in emancipation proclamation signed by 1863 which was supposed to free slaves, then WW1 happened from 1914-1918, followed by WW2 1939-1945 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, after that the US entered the Vietnam War 1955-1975, followed by the US entering the Gulf War 1990 -1991, after the Rodney King Beating on tape that led to the LA riots happening in 1992, then in 1995 the OJ verdict happened in the US splitting the country again, Y2K happened, then the 9/11 attacks happened in 2001, followed by Kaepernick taking a knee in 2016 for the long list of social injustices that happened well before & after, then the protests in 2017 that happened in Charlottesville, & now we’re in 2019. There has been a lot that has happened over the past 400 years & I tried hitting all the significant bullet points because a lot happened over that time. In a perfect world equality is something that people have regardless of race or if they are a minority or part of the majority. In actuality this only true when it comes to certain things & is real specific when it’s in action. Once the emancipation of slaves (predominantly black) happened they still faced roadblocks as a population like share cropping, lynching of fathers to take away land from families & breaking them apart, imprisoning people which took the form enslavement, voting rights were questioned & even blocked in the 60’s during the the civil rights movement to keep the population down, blacks were even terrorized up to this point. When you look at what happened after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese people in the US that weren’t even apart of it were wrangled up into internment camps as a reactive thing. Same thing happened to Muslim populations which were under scrutiny after 9/11 even if they didn’t participate in the attack, Hasan Minaj said it best “immigrant families are having to prove their patriotism every time something happens”. Inequality & injustice is way more prevalent in the larger picture, the only thing that has changed is everything we do now is on camera now so it’s on display even more for the public. What makes equality so hard in practice is because people tend to live by the mantra if it doesn’t affect me it doesn’t matter, this applies to blacks dying after police interaction, the mass shootings unless they happen in your neck of the woods, or even the Sudan revolution happening now. People don’t get up in arms till until a specific time or thing happens making you ask are you willing to die on this hill? Even though things have been put in place like affirmative action, ESL, title 9, or even the 13th amendment, they look good on paper, but in practice a person or people can try toppling it because they do feel they don’t matter or feel they shouldn’t be in place. There are bias still when it comes to people, medicine, culture, & even general life as examples but with equality I comes to the people to make it work
Current state of equality
Looking at the current day & equality it is the same struggle different paint job, like someone once told me “there is nothing new under the sun” same goes for injustice. We have made strides but we still face a lot even though we have made progress. When you look at women a lot has happened after the suffrage or title IX you see the population thriving in politics, sports, & even the culture but there are still issues like pay inequality in jobs or sporting like the WNBA or the US Women’s National Team who balls out & got a 4th World Cup title & all they just wanted was a fair payment for doing the same thing as their counterparts & excelling. Same goes for minorities, there are flashes in the pan when it comes to success from an eye test, but no matter how much money they have or however much they’ve done they still face a onslaught of things whether blatant or in your face. Equality is always a subjective thing & it comes down to the people to make it happen & is always moving forward.
In this world currently there are people that are bucking the norm & blowing up things, whether intentional or just through their actions. Looking at #metoo females have had enough of how things were going back to the early 1900’s (probably even further) where ladies of all ethnicities we’re treated like dirt & this group of people has went in even more as a result of things that have been going on for decades & now it has came to a head. With #blacklivesmatter or Kap kneeling it may be abrasive to some but it’s getting the job done making the injustice viewable even though it’s a hard truth. Even looking at music in the last couple of years the landscape has changed where in a field controlled by a certain idea or trends have been bucked by artist like Cardi B, Megan the Stallion, Lizzo, or SZA just as a few examples, they spoke their truth about their situations even though some artists have been doing the same for longer or in a different decade, but at the same time people are taking notice whether they don’t like it & have been vocal with their own distaste of what they’ve created or they rock with it because they relate to it in some way, the ironic thing about this is people have been rocking with the same ideals for a long time but when someone comes to the table with a different package of presenting something or looks different off the top then people get up in arms about it ,but by a certain time disapproval only adds fuel to the fire ( same with public enemy, NWA, or Nina Simone in their respective decades). Because of the fight of people against the very lopsided ideals in the first place by people before us it has allowed people to thrive like we do now,whether people don’t agree with it.
When I was shooting photography with someone while in San Antonio, something was said derogatory to someone else in the vicinity by a younger kid on a bike which was a messed up thing to do especially when they just pedaled off in the distance like everything was all good, they were too scary too say what they said statically. The same goes for equality in this day and age we live in a time where we are afforded in the US to say what we feel like saying however the reverse of that is just because we have freedom of speech to say what’s on our mind we can easily catch a charge for what we say or do if it’s something that threatens or endangers another group, top that with the unwritten rules that come with being in a certain race or demographic, this is the best and worse time to be vocal as a person. When it comes to being a person fighting for equality i try to assess what I’m doing & try not be a hypocrite for what I say actually being a person with open ears & not just spitting word vomit at people that actually bring something to the table that I should digest mentally. The fight for equality has been going on well before me & well after me, I just know I have to do my part when it comes to doing my part far as the subject is concerned & not just someone that cries foul when something I don’t agree with happens, because frankly people get up in arms about a lot that doesn’t fit their own views or they flat out don’t just agree with. When talking about equality it is something that changes over time & comes down to the generation I’m in & the one behind me because the older generations already have their mind made up about a lot and pass their views down ( whether good or bad ) to the next. It may be a real trend but everyone has to face it at some point, this is just a thought.