Welcome to the United States of America, the land of dreams. Welcome to the ideal of capitalism, of the “greatest nation of the world”. Welcome to a place where the color of your skin determines your job, where your ethnicity determines your opportunity, and where your “democratically elected” rulers will give the police the power to determine whether you live a free man or die a caged one based on your race. Welcome to a place where discrimination is not just accepted, it is integral to societal functioning. Welcome to a place where social order is the reason civilization is sustained. Welcome to the United States of America, the land of systemic oppression.
Today’s America is the dystopian future young adult authors spoke about merely a few years ago: a tyrannical president hell-bent upon war, unchecked oppression of major parts of society does not even elicit a second look, the disgustingly rich live right next to the filthy poor. The concept of absurdism has never been better expressed than the current iteration of this country, and in the words of Camus, man is truly naked, exposed, uncomprehending, and hence unable to process the pure insanity of what is happening before his eyes.
The discrimination by American people is not just random acts of oppression without any common factor. It is not something carried out by people without any pervasive necessity breeding in their subconscious. The discrimination of people is so integrated into society by the media and the government that an atmosphere of fear and discrimination have been bred by it. A few simple examples of this are the ease with which Islamic terror groups in the US are denounced with the most repulsive and vile language on very public platforms, while White Christian Supremacists cause the government to lay blame on “both sides”, in a blatant show of violent racism. The media contributes to this as well, demonizing people of color and showing them in the worst possible light while showing Caucasian people in the most favorable way possible. There’s an attempt to influence your subconscious into perceiving the PoC as guilty and the Caucasian men as innocent, simply going by the pictures, where one portrays a group of cultured, white family-raised and law-abiding citizens, and another, a group of hardened criminals who’d kill for a dime.
The impression conveyed by the media and the government is one that has reinforced the bigoted conservative mindset that plagues a majority of the people living in the Bible belt, an area woefully unaware of the concepts of equality and accepting society. It has spread the message that PoC is born with the prerogative of America’s destruction, and their presence in the country alone is a threat to the peace and safety of the country. Louisville, and the countless police brutality cases, should tell you all you need to know about the state of law enforcement in the nation. After all, they are composed of ordinary citizens, and they are as influenced by the media as anyone else.
To understand just to what extent the institutionalization and integration of discrimination have occurred, let us look at the controversy that is Colin Kaepernick and the NFL. Once a celebrated Pro Bowl-level quarterback, he’s now a free agent, shunned by an organisation that once loved him, because he took a stand against racism, and through that, attacked the rich, old, white people running the NFL and profiting from the conservative white people who watched it, who would’ve felt attacked by someone questioning their oppressive ideologies. A multi-billion dollar industry, now crippled by one quarterback, and only not expelling players kneeling for the national anthem now because they’d empty half the rosters in the league if they did. Their suppression of Kaepernick and what he stood for was quick and brutal, and him speaking out for equality has left him without a job after holding a multi-million dollar contract just last year. And it needed the majority of a league to even slightly impede this oppression. The Caucasian hetero-normative male in the United States of America controls the people, is the people, and represents the people, because they’ve kept other sects under them for so long that they no longer know to rise up against it, instead resignedly accepting it and furthering its integration into society.
But this discrimination isn’t just limited to the US. Every nation in the world has some form of suppression or another, be it caste, race, religion or ethnicity. The more we allow it into our society, the easier we make the life of the oppressor. Discrimination is not, should not, and cannot be allowed to become normal and accepted. If we accept discrimination, we sign our own death sentence, and the death sentence of freedom, equality, opportunity, and every other bedrock of civilization upon which we hope and dream.
– Pranav S Aatreya