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The Big Mean Ugly Government

After reading the Color of Wealth and watching Race the Power of Illusion, it truly astonishes me how the government is at fault for creating such an enormous wealth divide in our country. Even though we as society have done our part is creating this divide, the government has taken our societal inequalities and formulated them into law. After completing the sections on Native Americans, African Americans, and Latinos in the Color of wealth, I became sick to my stomach that such inequality exists now and has existed for centuries throughout our history. It may seem odd that I am so unaware to these harsh inequalities; however, I do not feel like I am entirely to blame. Up until now, I have been taught history only in one way-a way that makes the American government look like heroes and everyone else look like they deserved what they got. It’s really quite disturbing at how our education system works up until college. If you really think about it, up until college (at least for me) students are not exposed to the harshness and reality of what has occurred throughout our history. However, the truth is that the government is to blame for our wealth divide. The same government that preaches freedom and equality for all went and stabbed the Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians in the back. The government and the media especially like to paint the picture that minorities control their destinies and that they are the reason they are in poverty, barely surviving without good educations. Yet, it is the government that gave many Americans no choice but poverty, no choice but low income housing, and no choice but to extend the racial wealth divide that exists in our country today. In order to reverse this racial wealth divide a lot more needs to happen than just becoming a colorblind society. Our government needs to correct their wrong doings. Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians have suffered for long enough. These people never choose to suffer, rather they, like everyone else, are trying to lead productive lives and provide for their families. The government needs to create a new deal for our nation’s minorities in order to better our nation as a whole. They say we live in the richest and greatest nation of all, however, are we truly rich and truly great if all our citizens are not treated fairly and are not living the lives they deserve?

Comments

What a fabulous post. I've another parallel journal myself subsequently I could very well keep coming back to read more. thanks for this sort of a pleasurable time. Wendy

it is very interesting how minorities are treated both today and in our past. I feel like one of the biggest issues that minorities face with lack of education, and little income is that perpetual cycle, which is one of the hardest to bounce back from. When we look at refugees and other minorities that come to this country in search of refuge, our governement does little in providing the needs to be successful in this country. With again lack of education and a good job base (especially with many making less than a decent living wage) we are only continuing this cycle of despair and trials.

You have some great points in this post...Like a lot of others said it is very sad that our education system is so biased and does not bring up the bad things our government has been a part of. I am in an Asian American studies class and we were talking about the camps that we kept Asians in during WWII. I was never taught this in grade school, in high school someone brought it up during a lecture, questioning the teacher about it. THe teacher dismissed it and said that there was a lot of controvery and lies about them. Saying that the camps were kinda of this "myth" in our U.S. history. Thats scary.

Hey Sadie, I'm glad you brought up the issue of the Holocaust being taught to middle schoolers as opposed to having them learn the other side of their own American history, the half that's never been told. Your mention of white participation in the Underground Railroad is very similar to what was taught in my school. When it came to slavery, John Brown was shoved down our throats as the great liberator of slaves, a sympathetic white man who fought against his kind for the sake of the blacks. We even had a marching song we sang every Thursday, in his honor. There was never a mention of blacks who participated in the struggle. By the age of ten, we were required to know and be able to recount if prompted, the details at Harper's Ferry on the day John Brown was supposedly killed. Funny thing is, this John Brown guy probably never existed even.
All of these deliberate distortions of history are an attempt by the dominant race/ class to maintain their status quo and a system of domination by making the other races not feel any highly of themselves and therefore develop an inferiority complex. If we, as intellectuals, do not go seek for basic knowledge by ourselves, these systems of domination, inequality and discrimination will prevail.

The U.S. government has a lot of control over our education as elementary through high school students. I think it also important to note, as mentioned above, who wrote our text books. The majority of the authors are white men, and typically only one text book is used per class, giving us even a more narrow perspective. I don't think it is necessarily that they are trying to shelter us as young students, because I clearly remember learning about slavery in the second grade. I think the key is the perspective in which these classes are taught. At the same time that I learned about slavery in the south, I remember that the main focus was the underground railroad and how whites were helping the slaves. Maybe this is still sheltering us, but mainly its painting a picture at a young age that whites were helping the slaves out, leaving out all of the truth and the dirty details.

sorry I didn't mean for that last one to be anonymous...its me!

It is exciting to hear such focus on the education system! This whole semester this issue has just been killing me...

We even learned in high school history how other countries tend to write "revisionist histories" of the conflicts in their countries. Examples discussed were Japan, Germany, and China. Never was it mentioned that the great and wise America might be a just a TINY bit revisionist of its own past...

When I expressed this to a friend of mine, he argued that high schoolers and middle schoolers are not ready to deal with the difficulty of this subject matter. I almost laughed. Yea, maybe white privileged kids aren't ready to deal with it, but what about the kids that LIVE it?! Discrimination and disparity didn't wait for their innocence to pass...

And even besides that, we learned the gory truths of the holocaust VERY early on in our educations. the Anne Frank diary is required reading in, is it middle school?
If we can learn to point fingers away from ourselves in our early education, we can certainly learn to point to ourselves...

I agree with your notion in that we (as students) are not taught the true history of our country. For example, in elementary school I was taught that Christopher Columbus found America. It wasn't until high school when I found out that the truth was that the land was stolen from the Natives. This example is a prime example of how the racist views in our country is embedded within our school systems (and in society)

I believe that these things are kept under wraps because history is "written by the winners". The winners in this country (sad to say) are wealthy white men and they want to come across as hard working men that built this country themselves. The truth is that this country was built on the backs of people of color and the poor because through some public polices they are easily exploited (showing the intersectionality of race and class).

The government is but in place to keep people of color from receiving the benefits that whites receive. Its sad that our country is built on lies, thievery, and racism, but its up to the people of our nation to recognize the inequalities and to change them. If we keep quite and continue to be blinded things will stay the same.

I agree with you that education is limited prior to post-secondary education. What you said in terms of the legislation put into place & the presence of institutions also aiding in the continuous cycle of inequality also reflected exactly what I was thinking. I just have to say that it is not the government that puts these ideas into place but the people. I do know that one can argue that the people also make the government, but with hopeful people like Obama coming into roles that can change the government, more blame has to be put on society itself.

As we should know being students of this course, intersectionality, social construction, & other terms that explain the continuance & reshaping of racism, classism, & sexism, it does also come upon us as citizens to find the knowledge. As I am a minority myself, I have been a product & a victim of inequalities in my life. I chose to figure out why this was & when I came to college, I finally had courses that were provided for me & I no longer had to research myself. Society has dealt minorities a major battle to fight because not only do we have to live with being a minority because of the color of our skin, we also have to fight for our rights to be educated, to afford luxuries, to attain a job, & to just be equal. So much has been put in place in order for White supremacy to survive, it's just that since it's all over the board, minorities have to remain shuffling to recover the reasons why.

Kudos to your post & now that more people are realizing these inequalities, we ALL need to begin helping the progression.

I love exaclty how you took the words right out of my mouth!! For so long now we have all (as minorities) been taught that we are at fault for our lack of prosperity in this nation, when all along the alteration of our success was created by our own government!! And again you are absolutelty right! It's like the ultimate betrayal to be betrayed by our own country in which we serve, especially when it's known the be a country of free will (which every citizen does not have the right to exercise).

Also, the education systems and media are all built on lies and false information/stereotypes that depicts minorities as lazy, unsuccessful, and impoverished by choice. When in reality we are these things in result of an unfair government system that creates the notion that there is one race that is superior to others. As a minority myself I feel like the govenment owes us. But in reality I know no corrections of their wrong doings will take place if they are not even willing to take responsiblity for what they put minority americans at fault for. It's just completely unfair, but as they say life isn't fair. But I do believe that in the near future maybe some changes will be made to correct the wealth divide in our country. As long as its been I am still optimistic. I will never give up my faith. The government has already stripped us of so many crednetials, we can't let them strip us of our faith as well. As of now it's all we have.