Essay on Social Justice in the United States



Social justice. A term used very commonly in parts of the world, but in others it never meets the ear. 

The United States has a troubled history of racism, going back to the country’s colonization, founding fathers, and white landowners who enslaved millions of people from Africa and their descendants. More specifically, immigrants. Approximately 25 years ago my parents decided to leave my home country, Bulgaria, to start a family. They came to America hoping to find the “promise land” but from their journey till when they first arrived in America wasn’t so promising. Bulgaria’s government at the time was very corrupt. This restricted my parents from having the luxury of well paying jobs, affordable healthcare, and a superior education. The effects of racial inequality ripple throughout society, impacting law enforcement, your standard of living, and society. 

For countless immigrants, the struggle to arrive in America was rivaled only by the struggle to gain acceptance among the population. Immigrants say they came to America seeking economic opportunity and freedom for themselves and their children. Yet when they come here they still seek for that. Police Brutality is a leading cause of death for people of color in the United States. About 1,000 civilians are killed each year by law-enforcement officers in the United States. By one estimate, Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime. Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Bulgarian, Latino and many other ethnicities are significantly more likely than white women and men to be harassed by police.People have identified various core issues that contribute to police brutality, including the insular culture of police departments (including the blue wall of silence), the aggressive defense of police officers and resistance to change in police unions, the broad legal protections granted to police officers

It was 1995 and my parents just moved to the United States. At the time my parents lived in Oklahoma. My mom was a 20 year old immigrant woman who barely knew English. She was driving back to the place she called home which was really a shelter  because she couldn’t afford the luxury of owning her own “home”. This motivated my mom and dad to work even harder and try to find a well paying job to get them out of the dangerous neighborhoods they stayed in. So, my mom set up an interview at a local restaurant and stayed up all night reading a dictionary and trying to improve and expand her vocabulary. The next day, my beautiful mom dressed up with a blue satin dress her mother had given her for special occasions when she came to America. Then, she started her walk to the restaurant.  When she arrived she politely said, “ Hello I am her for a  job interview.” She noticed everyone around her turn their heads, she could feel the judgment and disappointment in their sharp stares. She was pretty much used to it so far so she didn’t think much of it. The boss pulled her aside and told her, “ Ma’am you have to leave,” My mom was in shock. So she said, “Why I just got here, you haven’t even spoken to me.” At this point the boss told her straight up, “We don’t employ people who don’t belong in this country.” My mom couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She refused to leave. This made the owner call the police. When the police came they didn’t even let her talk. They pushed her on the side of the police car and cuffed her. She tried to talk and explain herself which only made it worse. The officers proceeded to put her on the ground and keep their knee on her back until she stopped talking. When she went to the station the sheriff talked to her and gave her a 500 dollar fine. One which she could not afford. After that, they simply let her go and since she had no money she couldn’t afford a lawyer to defend her. The next day she woke up and it felt like nothing happened. Because of my mothers accent and her ethnicity it made her a target. Being accused and harrased of something simply because of the color of your skin or your ethnicity is an idea that is terrifying to so many immigrant women and men of color. This gives immigrants an unfair disadvantage than the rest of society. Leaders have made racial inequality seem like an unimportant issue, when in all reality it is so much more than that. POC have to wake up everyday and fight to be treated as a part of society. They have to work harder than others, because of something they cannot control. The fact that some people have the audacity to judge someone of the color of their skin, assume their morals, and what they hold themselves accountable for is disgusting and a disgrace to everyone and everything ¨America¨ is said to stand for. 

In the United States, many health disparities exist among the population of race, ethnicities, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Health inequalities and disease occurrence are often seen among people with low income and different social backgrounds. Also, people of different genders and sexual orientations can face these issues as well. The factors that contribute to health disparities are lack of access to health care, education, income, nutrition, lifestyle, and environment. Embedded racial inequities produce unequal opportunities for educational success. Systematic policies, practices and stereotypes work against children and youth of color to affect their opportunity for achieving educational success. Health disparities are seen with unequal access to care and the quality of care given. Culture plays a key role in the quality of healthcare or health insurance services offered to patients. Disparities are ethnic or racial differences in the quality of healthcare. Ethnic or racial minorities tend to receive poor quality healthcare services compared to the majority ethnic group. My parents had to take care of themselves and be careful because if they got sick they couldn’t afford or get healthcare just because they looked and talked differently than the people around them. 

Although there are a few exceptions, many immigrants as well as other ethnic and/or minority group members tend to trust less in generalized others. Nor is this surprising given the discrimination that minority group must often endure. My mom told me a story that forever broke her trust in society. My family emigrated from Varna, Bulgaria, to Adah, Oklahoma, in the late 1990s. Similar to many immigrants, they sought economic mobility, greater opportunity, and cultural acceptance. After 9/11, however, families like mine became targets within the country they tried to call their own. On September 11th, America experienced something they never thought was possible. America faced the biggest terrorist attack on home soil when four airplanes were hijacked and crashed into one of New York's most crowded areas, and the United States' defense base. These locations include both the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. The men in charge of this operation were part of the Al-Qaeda group and were of Middle Eastern origin. In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Muslim and Arab communities have experienced incidents of strife at the hands of the US government and private citizens as well as from other countries across the world such as France and Australia. The people of the Islamic faith are senselessly harassed on a day to day basis. When traveling, they are given a hard time and interrogated unnecessarily and given a hard time when issuing visas. Due to all this mistreatment, families and the lives of these people are shattered and put in a state of disorder. When my parents went to Seattle on vacation that summer, they noticed that airport security had changed. They went through two checkpoints where luggage was searched, sharp items were confiscated, people that looked Middle Eastern were stopped, and my mother traveling alone with a baby was searched. They made her miserable. Security held her back even though nothing was found after multiple searches. She missed all her flights and felt sick since she was pregnant with my brother. She explained that nobody wanted to walk hear her or even talk to her just because of the color of her skin. When my brother and I were born my parents insisted we took speech classes to get rid of our accents just because of the trust they lost in society.  I am lucky to be privileged with good food, water, and shelter. “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” These words were written by Emma Lazarus and are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. And yet, the very door they talk about is no longer available to those who need it the most. The door has been shut, chained, and guarded. It no longer shines like gold. Those seeking asylum are being turned away. Families are being split up; children are being stranded. The promise America made to those in need is broken .America is supposed to be the dream, we know what we need to do to change, so why don’t we?