America’s minority report needs work

In his famous Gettysburg Address President Lincoln proclaimed, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” 

Was he speaking of the American government? The answer is obvious, but looking at the history of our country, has the government ever been “of the people,” “by the people” or “for the people?” If you believe the answer to these questions to be yes, you are probably white, as minorities in this country are very aware that the country has never been of them, by them, or for them. The American representative democracy is no more. In fact, as of Jan. 25th, the United States has been demoted from a full democracy to a flawed democracy from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In 2014, a comprehensive analysis of over 40,000 local, state and federal office-holders from Who Leads Us found that 90 percent of American elected officials are white. White men made up only 31 percent of the population, but held 64 percent of elected positions. In 2014 the U.S. population was approximately 318.9 million according to the U.S. Census, and 63 percent of the population was white. 

That does not sound like a very accurate representation of our country’s demographics. Simply put, a government of the people should be representative of the people.

And as for a government “for the people,” has America ever been that? 

Slaves stolen from Africa were stripped of their culture, language, taken from their families, brutally beaten by their masters, raped, mutilated, lynched and subject to other horrors that are hard to imagine in present times. 

African slaves were viewed as lesser, and did not get the rights that that belong to all people as stated in the Declaration of Independence. 

When slaves were brought to America, their masters were not envisioning one day sending their children to school along with the children of their property. Many measures were taken to keep blacks and whites separated even after the abolition of slavery such as mass incarceration, Jim Crow laws, segregation, redlining, gerrymandering and “separate but equal” schools.

Junior Communications major Miranda Turner believes that America has never been for minorities, especially African Americans .

“I feel kinda cynical whenever someone says that, because from my experience and the experiences of people I know and care about, they did not get equal opportunities. The country was made by us, but it is definitely not for us.” 

There has always been great effort to show African Americans that this is not their country, however, when African Americans make it known that we do not feel a strong sense of patriotism, like Colin Kaepernick, they receive death threats and are told to go back where we came from.

We were brought here. And where would our pride come from?

President Donald Trump has signed executive orders banning Muslims from entering the country, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent over 117,000 Japanese citizens to internment camps during World War II and we are the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon; in other words, our hands are not clean.

In order for America to be for the people and of the people, as President Lincoln claimed, it must represent its citizens and acknowledge the mistakes it has made throughout history.

Until then, I know this country is not for me.

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