Society’s current obsession with race and gender is only causing more division and discrimination between Americans.
The United States has taken great strides in the fight for civil rights and liberties over the last century, and while our system is not perfect, it cannot be denied that it is exceptionally better than it was decades ago.
Both men and women can vote and run for office, homosexual couples can marry and people of color have equal rights when applying for jobs and being employed.
While our legislation does not judge people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., individuals and groups within our society still cling to many of these factors.
Much like India’s caste system, discrimination is legally outlawed, but some of its effects have unfortunately been burned into America’s culture. T
oday, too many people are obsessing over what gender and race someone is without considering other far more relevant traits. Our society does not realize that this kind of obsession is still a form of discrimination.
A great example of this is the 2020 presidential election. Many people are up in arms because our president will most likely be another man who is white. I am not denying that it would be great to see a female and/or minority as president who would set a new precedent in highlighting women’s and minorities’ capabilities.
However, we are witnessing people who are attacking candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden based solely on their gender and the color of their skin.
Ad hominem attacks directed toward these candidates are discrediting their eligibility on the mere basis of their skin color and gender. Those characteristics are irrelevant when it comes to their caliber and presidential capabilities, just as the gender and/or race of nonwhite candidates is irrelevant.
The qualities that should be thoughtfully examined are the candidates’ policies, beliefs, job-related abilities, promises, morals and work ethic. People seem so tied up in gender and race that their selective attention narrows their perspectives, and they therefore miss out on the characteristics that carry more weight.
I am certainly not suggesting we become insensitive to race and gender. Sensitivity to others and their feelings and experiences is critical in a society like ours that is striving to reduce the divisions of our nation, to become more unified, more understanding, more appreciative of each other and to value our differences.
When a person makes the decision not to vote for a particular candidate on the sole basis of their skin color or gender and nothing more, they are letting stereotypes and prejudices get the better of them and influence, maybe even determine, their decision.
Whether they are choosing not to vote for someone because they are black, white, Hispanic, male, female, homosexual, Latino, Asian, it doesn’t matter. This issue goes both ways and must be fought head on.
The renowned civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against judging people by the qualities that are not in their control in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, saying: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Does this not still ring true today? If people can agree that what Martin Luther King Jr. said on the matter is true, then should Biden and Sanders be judged by the color of their skin and their gender, or by the content of their character?
The overarching issue in today’s society is that we can be so hung up on what gender someone is and what race they are that we can overlook the qualities that have a much more significance in defining who we are as people.
One’s character is not determined by their gender or race but by who they are within, and these qualities are what people should be looking at. We must expand from the narrow lens of mere gender and race and achieve a new appreciation and respect for the qualities that truly hold value.