Social Exclusion and How it Relates to the United States Today

 

     As mentioned in Sarah Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion, while it could be argued that social exclusion and injustice has improved over the last two centuries with the abolition of slavery and universal suffrage, it appears that the injustice has only become more dispersed, impacting a much larger number of Americans. Groups like blacks, hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals, and even non-minority groups like women are affected daily by all kinds of social injustice like misogyny, racism, and discrimination, and that only names a few.

 

     With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the United States saw an end to slavery, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. The amendment only technically ended slavery. It continued in the form of peonage, a loophole for former slave owners, giving former slaves places to live in exchange for free labor. This was one of very few options for many former slaves, because most of them had lived on plantations prior to the abolition, and after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, they had nowhere to go.

     Racism and discrimination continued into the 1900’s through the implementation of Jim Crow laws; Laws that heavily separated people of color from whites through segregated public spaces like restaurants and drinking fountains. This segregation continued in the south until Brown vs. Board of Education brought significant changes to public policy regarding integration.

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     Racially charged social injustice has stayed alive in modern day in the form of police brutality and racial profiling. Over the past two years, cop-related violence has been in the news almost perpetually. Eric Garner, Michael Brown Jr., Freddie Gray, and many more were victims to police related violence in the last two years alone. The “Stop and Frisk” law regularly targets minority groups like blacks and hispanics.

     Another group that regularly experiences the results of social exclusion are are Muslims. Considering recent shootings in Europe and the United States that ISIS has claimed responsibility for, the presidential candidate for one of America’s two major parties plan to implement an anti-Muslim immigration policy, barring any new citizens of Muslim descent to entering the country. Even today in post-9/11 America, Muslims are a group that are frequently “randomly selected” in security checkpoints at airports, simply for wearing a hijab.

     The exclusion doesn’t stop there, either. Recently, the LGBT community has become victim of discrimination based on their sexuality. North Carolina’s “Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act” is particularly discriminatory toward transgender people, only allowing people to use bathrooms based on their assigned gender identity. In many places around the country, businesses can turn away homosexual couples because it “conflicts with their personal beliefs.” Not even women escape exclusion, being paid significantly less for doing the same job that a male counterpart does.

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     Social exclusion has been an issue in the American socio-political system since the beginning. Systematic racism, sexism, and profiling have lived in various forms in the country over the century, but continues to play a roll today.

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