Land Of The White

Ayla DeBord, Reporter

The Constitution of the United States purposefully has a lot of grey areas in its laws because the Founding Fathers knew that the future would hold many changes in the workings of the world. But, it is important to recognize the harm that this grey area causes, or rather how our society has formed and grown into narrow perspectives of how society should work. Our long history of racism and sexism is what has led to the chaos of who is truly free in America. 

America as a whole, claims to be a country of equality, justice, and freedom. But I’d like to offer another perspective. From the moment we were able to talk, we’ve been indoctrinated into believing that as Americans we live in the land of the free. We grew up having to memorize the pledge of allegiance and start every school morning, reciting it like robots. But, when we leave school to protest against gun violence we are negatively connotated with being dangerous radicals who want to take away people’s second amendment rights. America’s brand is to be free but in all seriousness, the line drawn between freedom and criminally radical is very thin. 

This has been more apparent because of the recent riot at the capitol on January 6th. How is it possible that 570 people in Minneapolis were arrested at a peaceful protest for the justice of the death of Goeorge Floyd, and only 70 people at the Capitol riot – where many were armed – were arrested? The answer is easy, white supremacy has been and will always be the line between what is seen as enacting your constitutional rights and ‘thugs’ disrupting the peace. To be surprised or shocked that the Capitol riot even happened in the first place is a display of white ignorance. By now, it should be abundantly clear that white people are treated differently than those of color. 

What we are taught in school and in life has greatly blinded us to the truth of how America – when it comes to justice and freedom of speech – is no different than the countries we tend to villainize. In fact, it can be argued that America is actually more dangerous when trying to speak out. My reasoning for this is the compare and contrast of rules in other countries and the U.S. In many countries that are ruled by a dictatorship, people know that if they speak out they will be arrested. People know the consequences of going against what their government represents. Freedom of speech in these countries is not at all the same as in the U.S. 

It is important to recognize that in the U.S. people are greatly more privileged when it comes to exercising their rights. But in the U.S., there is no clear consequence. Someone can get arrested for peacefully protesting while others can be armed and storm a government building. The grey area of what citizens can do lawfully makes it extremely dangerous to be someone that speaks out against what our government represents and the looming idea that darker skin equates to criminalization. This in turn corrupts our justice system and makes it relatively impossible for people of color to be treated the same as white people. 

America is a privileged place compared to many countries, but I wouldn’t go as far to say that everyone in America is free. White supremacy and patriarchal practices control this country and stepping out of line can cost people their lives, while some may step out of line and get away without punishment. This is not the land of the free; it is the land of the white. And pushing back against the racist institution that is America comes with the price of knowing that there won’t be a definite outcome of your actions. Will you lose your rights, your so called freedom, or your life?