This was a hard blog to write about. Originally I thought I’d discuss one of the major civil liberties issues like gay rights, but then I decided to refrain. For many struggles, including gay marriage, the issue is no not entirely a wide enough base of support, but rather, that the people in power don’t adequately represent the beliefs of the populace.
I don’t think that our society has to face the same divisive issues that Huck’s society faces. I don’t honestly believe that I can sit here and claim that any issues of today even remotely compare to the systematic racism that plagued his.
With that said, I tried to come up with a belief or two that diverges from the status quo. And so, I decided that the American idea of the “self-made man” is not as easy as we make it out to be. Although many claim that America still remains a land of abundant opportunity, we aren’t doing enough to support those who have less.
We expect single mothers to make ends meet, while many receive only tip-minimum wages. We expect African Americans who grew up in inner-city districts to “break-the-cycle” by getting a higher degree. The truth is, the self-made man is almost exclusively available to white men. Now you’re probably thinking that I’m most definitely not alone in this opinion, and you’d be right. But I don’t think many people are entirely convinced that the white-power structure still exists.
It’s clear even in our classrooms. In AP classes at our school there are almost no black students and hardly any hispanic students. And this separation continues to divide us instead of integrate us. All of this aside, I think that there is a general consensus that in order to combat racism, we need to “stop seeing color.” I disagree. I think that we must recognize a history of oppressing a certain group. I think we can’t ignore the validity of race in our society. Affirmative Action, something that always gets people scratching their heads, is probably one of the best ways that valuing race can facilitate leveling the playing field.
What can I do to act on my beliefs? Honestly, not much. I don’t understand the experiences of black people in America. This sort of plays into my whole ‘rejecting what others believe’ deal. I can’t tear up an arbitrary standardized test, or yell at State legislatures that oppose Affirmative Action. Instead, I can merely know that the system is kind of messed up. Capitalism and education support a self-made white man.