Racial, gender, religious rights, and the many freedoms in America have been a long fought and complex battle that must continue to rage on. Our unique country was founded on the principles that we are all created equal and have the same opportunities. Per Abraham Lincoln’s “The Gettysburg Address,” he states, “four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (Lincoln, 1863). While equality does not mean that we are awarded the same educational, physical, or status in wealth, everyone should be entitled to pursue each of these in their personal pursuit of happiness. In modern day society, the rights of LBGT, minority races, and women of all ages and ethnicities are struggling to not only survive but obtain the same privileged rights of white men in America. The only way equal rights for all American citizens will be a reality is if we unite, put aside our many differences, and focus on a common goal; a unified America and equal rights for all who reside within our land.
The fight for equality for all in America should be a political and social movement and be gained through the use of violence; unfortunately, more often in our history, we observe how aggression arises as the words of our equal rights leaders fall upon deaf ears. In “The Ballot or the Bullet,” Malcolm X states, “understand that whenever you are going after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours, is breaking the law, is a criminal” (Malcom, 1964). While many of his points of views are more extreme than the views of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., his message is still significant to the vision of an equal America. Sometimes we must use force to gain what we desire and unless America continues to at least attempt to provide all its citizens the same equal rights, women and minorities will fight for it themselves, and quite possibly in an aggressive way. “We want freedom now, but we’re not going to get it saying “We Shall Overcome.” We’ve got to fight until we overcome” (Malcom, 1964).
The “Ballot or the Bullet” by Malcolm X, clarifies how African Americans ought to battle for social liberties in America. In this article, Malcolm underlined the significance of voting as an answer for aiding the end of oppression towards African Americans. Since prior election decisions had been so closely decided, he indicated that the African American vote was imperative. In the North, white government officials were blurring the lines of the importance of African American voters to diminish their proposed impact on the voting process. In the South, African Americans were frequently the majority, although they did not feel like it. Malcolm X stated that either “the tally or the slug” would come next in the social equality battle (Malcom, 1964). This implied that the government must permit African Americans the same right to vote or else violence would become their way to generate change. A potential answer for the social equality campaign is to convert the segregation of African Americans from a social equality to a human rights issue. This would authorize African Americans to take their case to the United Nations. The United Nations has a board of trustees which manages human rights, and African Americans could then address the general gathering and be both heard and respected.
Malcolm X contends for these arrangements from a black nationalist forthcoming. Dark nationalism, otherwise called dark separatism, is a political and social development which attempts to obtain monetary power and make a feeling of togetherness among African Americans. Dark nationalism is hostile to absorption, implying that it is not their objective to completely incorporate into white American culture; African Americans ought to possess their own organizations and have their specific government officials representing their groups. It is in this way that Malcolm X advocates liberal thoughts. Since the government is an agreement with the general population and the motivation behind government is to secure everybody’s individual rights, individuals have the privilege to revolt if the administration damages this agreement. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” King explains, using Thomas Jefferson’s writings, that everyone has the duty to rebel against an unjust government. He further states that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” (King, 1963).
The equal rights movement needs to perpetually fight for the rights of all Americans, regardless of gender, race, or religion; however, the method that this war if fought is key. In the article, “The Weekend Interview with Walter Williams: The State Against Blacks,” Williams converses about how the manner in which white America attempts to take care of its African Americans. He states, “Politicians exploit economic illiteracy” (Williams, 2011). This demonstrates how the fight for equal rights for African Americans specifically involves educating themselves and not just requesting the government to produce change. We often forget that this government is assembled by men who we give the power to fabricate said change. Williams further states, “racial discrimination is not the problem of black people that it used to be” and that, “today I doubt you could find any significant problem that blacks face that is caused by racial discrimination. The 70% illegitimacy rate is a devastating problem, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with racism” (Williams, 2011). Williams believes the problem lies with the African American’s themselves and their lack of education. Therefore, it is often their own responsibility. To pursue equality for African Americans, they must personally make changes and seek out personal improvements in education and political views.
The equal rights of women in America are just as important as the continued battle for African American’s. Women have been proven to be often more intelligent than men, better suited for leadership positions, delegation, and more apt to acclimation and pressure. In Pew Research Center’s article, “10 Findings About Women in the Workplace”, the unfair wages of women, as well as the many benefits hiring a woman over a man, are outlined and supported with relevant statistics. “Today’s young women are starting their careers better educated than their male counterparts” (Pew Research Center, 2013). Despite this fact, the Pew Research Center further states that “In 2012, young women earned 93% of the average hourly wage of men the same age” (Pew Research Center, 2013). This wage gap should not exist in present-day America, unfortunately, we live in a society that slowly adjusts to new variations in our everyday lives. Men, for an acceptable amount of time in this country, have been the head of the household, the main financial provider, and the backbone of the workforce. However, we are seeing the growth of women in careers, the rise of stay at home dads, and the increasing strength of women across America. The question becomes, what continues to hold back women from obtaining the same high paying jobs as their male counterparts? Women are often held to higher standards and society is not ready to hire or elect women leaders due to outdated rules, regulations, and social norms. They are also often burdened with family responsibilities and often have little to no party support or connections.
Additionally, women are viewed as not daunting enough to properly manage others and find themselves treated as merely sexual objects deemed solely for the role of reproducing. Many of these reasons are just false opinions of men who are set in their outdated ways. Per Pew Research Center’s article “Women and Leadership,” “According to the majority of Americans, women are every bit as capable of being good political leaders as men” (Pew Research Center, 2016). With the help of all Americans, we can and must fight for gender equality, as it involves female and LGBT citizens of all races and religions.
X, Malcolm. “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Cleveland, Ohio. 3 April 1964.
Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” 1863.
“The Weekend Interview with Walter Williams: The State Against Blacks.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition. New York, N.Y. 2011.
Pew Research Center. “10 Findings about Women in the Workplace”. 11 December 2013.
Pew Research Center. “Women and Leadership.” 14 Jan 2016.
King, M. L. (). “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Birmingham, Alabama, USA. 16 April 1963.
Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” 1863.