The Poison of Unadulterated Inequality

I don’t want to lay clichés in front of you. So let’s talk about something that comes across as over discussed but is clearly not. Racist sentiment has poked its ugly head quite a bit over the past week. Cliven Bundy, a well-known Nevada rancher, made ripples across the country when he made racist comments in public. Dani Alves, a soccer player who had a banana thrown at him due to alleged racist sentiment, had the perfect response: he ate it. And last but not least—perhaps the most well known of the three—Donald Sterling dug one of the deepest metaphorical graves when his racist comments were leaked. To quote the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama, “When people… when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” It’s worth mentioning that Holocaust Remembrance Day just passed on April 27th.

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We all battle the existence of such sentiments on a daily basis. The prejudice caused by generations worth of narrow thought channels cannot be washed away, not even over the course of decades. It was only in the last century that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which upheld the voting rights of every American no matter what their race) and the 20th Amendment (which granted women the right to vote) were passed. Millions have realized that gender and race equality take the moral and ethical higher ground, but there are and will remain those who do not accept this fact.

There is a perceived and thereby realized inequality attached to race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Yes, the entire world is on terms of inequality. Even in purely communist populations, it is usually clear who holds the power. Inequality, as reads the title of a recent article by Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper, has become the new apartheid. But who needs race in order to discriminate? It is simple enough to discriminate based on gender as well. In fact, in her New York Times article, Vanessa Barbara, a Brazilian journalist and contributing op-ed writer, said that feminism was still seen as a ridiculous notion in Brazil, the same country that has Dilma Rousseff as its president.

Socioeconomic inequality is also too prevalent. The worst part is that the capitalist system encourages competition that requires one person to be better than the other. Ambition and zeal have viewed at as virtues, rather than the toxins that they have proven themselves to be in our society. Take a look at the current educational system in New York City, where children under the age of five have been playing the piano for most of their lives. The idea of doing something “since I was two” has taken on a literal meaning in both interview conversations and resumes. Collegiate programs have also become more and more competitive, and tuition inflation has made them unaffordable to millions. Meanwhile, tens of countries continue to pass us in educational rankings.

After decades of protests, killings, internal conflicts, divisions, wars and uprisings, it is clear that such prejudices are not going to be washed away without teaching the generations that come after us to think differently. It is for these and innumerable other reasons that inequality has become the toxin that is crumbling systems of social progress across the globe.

The featured image and image in this article can be found at Flickr Creative Commons here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.