Over the course of this semester I have really noticed just how much of a role the government has played in perpetuating segregation throughout history. One question I have continued to ask myself as I learn more and more about racism is what if the government itself created racism so that its citizens couldn’t come together against it? The government has the power to do pretty much whatever it wants whether we like it or not. An example of how a government controlled its own society would be when Hitler banned the use of firearms so that the citizens could not fight back against him during the Holocaust.
Article 169 of the Treaty of Versailles stated, “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless. ” The German Weimar government was trying to “stabilize” their country during 1919-1928. After that came the Regulations on Weapons Ownership, Law on the Disarmament of the People, and the Law on Firearms and Ammunition.
The Holocaust soon followed. Although the laws lightened up a little, Jews were still forbidden from the manufacturing or dealing of firearms and ammunition. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Germany) That government controlled its society so that they could not rebel against them and I believe today’s governments have been doing something very similar. There were three topics during this course that really made me sit up and pay attention, all of which had something to do with the government.
The first topic was the relationship between women, race and the government which was presented in chapter 2. The second topic was the relationship between the homeownership, race and the government presented in chapter 8. The third topic was the relationship between the government and healthcare presented in chapter 10. WOMEN, RACE & THE GOVERNMENT WHAT? In 2004 the government in France forbade its women to wear the hijab. They are not only discriminating against ethnicity, but religion, and gender as well when they have the power to help their society overcome discrimination.
SO WHAT? Reading and learning about the Muslim community during Chapter 2 on page 32 really shocked me. It is so different from our community. Though there remain some “old-fashioned people” here in America who believe that “females should engage in communal behaviors and roles and males should engage in agentic behaviors and roles (Etaugh and Bridges, pg 80) , a majority of Americans want to be accepting of all sexes and have more egalitarian attitudes. This also goes for people of different races and ethnicities, sizes, styles, hobbies, and sexual orientations.
At least here women do not have to be confined to one style of dress in public. Here we have access of different stores, magazines, designers and boutiques that allow us to reflect our individualism and therefore promote and embrace our differences. Because of my lifestyle in the United States of America, growing up in a place where I can wear what I want, say what I want, believe what I want and do what I want where I want to do it I really do believe that restricting Muslim women from wearing the hijab is a form of discrimination.
I took Women’s Psychology last semester and gained a deeper insight of other countries’ views. I learned that overall the societies’ views of women were mostly negative, and that even at birth women and men are not thought of equally and sexist stereotypes remain (Etaugh and Bridges, pg 48). People continue to instill some ideas taught to us by the Doctrine of Two Spheres. This matters to me because I am a woman living in a world where discrimination happens I want more of a change.
I want women all over the world of all races and ethnicities to be able to have more rights and opportunities than they do now. NOW WHAT? There are a lot of quotations shared about prejudices against women that I think women from all over the world should apply to their lives. One that Marilyn Monroe said was, “To all the girls who think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, it’s society who’s ugly. ” I like this because it empowers women and makes them feel like they’re still beautiful even though they’re not as fit or skinny.
It inspires them not to worry about society’s views. The simple truth is that men don’t get made fun of like women do when they gain a little weight, have wrinkles, or when their hair grays. Another one from her is, “Women who want to be equal to men lack ambition. ” This is so inspiring. I know that there is still a lot of sexism and racism in this country, but I do believe that we have come a long way. We are advancing and rising above the issue. I hope that the Muslim community does, too, as a result of the recent uprisings, rebellions, and confrontations.
One way I think that they can achieve more egalitarian outlooks from their counterparts would be to form groups, clubs or organizations like America has that fight to increase awareness of the negativity and oppression and strive to challenge those views. HOMEOWNERSHIP, RACE & THE GOVERNMENT WHAT? The role of the government in creating and perpetuating racial residential segregation has been very prominent throughout history. “While many believe that the federal government’s role is to promote fairness and equality for Americans, it has not always acted toward equality for all (Scott, 158).
” If the government truly wanted America to be culturally integrated and equal, they would do a lot more to make it happen. The government may make it seem like they are trying to make the effort, but the effort falls short time and time again. I don’t quite understand how the United States of America thinks it can be a successful, powerful country if it is separated. What benefit is there to be culturally divided? How will that ever help us?
A few of the major ways the government perpetuates racial residential segregation mentioned in the text are as follows: * Allowing redlining resulting in Whites accumulating wealth while non-whites are being deprived of wealth (Scott, 159). * Enforcing, upholding, and legitimizing racially restrictive covenants, until Shelley v. Kramer in 1948 which even still never ruled the existing covenants invalid (Scott, 159). * Enabling racial steering, the act of “steering buyers or renters toward specific neighborhoods based on their race (Scott, 160), by real estate agents by allowing it to continue.
SO WHAT? I originally thought that reason certain races lived in a neighborhood would be so that their families can be close to each other. There are surely many other things that contribute to this phenomenon (i. e. public education, landscape, recreations, etc), but I do know for a fact that families choose to live in particular neighborhoods so that they can be in close quarters with their relatives. Take for one example Ray and his parents on Everybody Loves Raymond. I never realized how big of a role the government played in residential segregation and how many different ways it was approached.
“While government policies and programs aim to improve the lives of its citizens, they have often been discriminatory, either overtly or in practice (Scott, 159). ” Until the government finally decides to set a great example to its citizens of what it means to not only want racial equality, but to make an effort to achieve that then we will never be lucky enough to see what it’s like. This idea matters to me because I want so badly to see people coexist and live in peace with one another before I die. NOW WHAT? Martin Luther King Jr.
had a dream that his four children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We are taught in school time and time again of his struggles, but we are never shown that things have really changed to eliminate the struggles put upon non-whites living in this country. A lot of the segregation stems from people’s personal beliefs and actions, and the government is made up of those very people, so we all need to take a good, hard look at ourselves and make the necessary changes to be anti-racist.
Doing this will surely help inspire more people to do the same. Then, we can join together to take action and change the way the government controls our community and where certain races are permitted to reside. HEALTHCARE & THE GOVERNMENT WHAT? President Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010 “which aims to enhance the quality of healthcare for all Americans – particularly the 32 million Americans who are uninsured – by offering a public option for healthcare coverage (Scott, 197). ” SO WHAT?
Growing up in Parker, Colorado, the only people you ever hear from are the Republicans slandering the president and belittling every decision he makes. However, you never hear that our “great nation” is the only one without a universal or public healthcare system or that 1 in every six of us does not even have health coverage, or that half of all bankruptcy in America is from medical debt (Scott, 198). These statistics blew my mind. I believe that if everyone was open and honest about America’s downfalls they would be more than supportive of Obama’s decision to pass the act. According to Healthcare.
gov the health care law is making a difference for the people here in Colorado by establishing the health insurance marketplace, increasing access to Medicaid, providing new coverage options for young adults, making prescription drugs affordable for seniors, covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay, providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule, scrutinizing unreasonable premium increases, removing lifetime limits on health benefits, creating new coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions, supporting Colorado’s work on Affordable Insurance Exchanges, and by preventing illness and promoting health. With a list like that it is really hard to say anything negative about it. I think it is great. NOW WHAT? We, as a society, need to start focusing on the good of the group and what will be best for the generations to come. This act will improve the overall health of our nation’s citizens. Public healthcare has proved to be a success in other countries so why wouldn’t we want to give it a shot? Because we are America? Because we want to get away from the ideologies and philosophies of other countries and create our own, and then believe that they are working when they are clearly not?
It may not be a bad idea to let the government step in on this one if it means helping out people who need it, and improving the lives of our families, our friends, and ourselves. As A. J. Reb Materi said, “so many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health. ” Once the Affordability Care Act goes into effect next year this problem will disappear along with a lot of the diseases that could have been prevented through regular doctor visits. There are, however, many issues with public healthcare systems that are currently in place in other countries. I hope they are taken into account before next year. The United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland are all Capitalist Democracies who have been successful in providing their citizens with healthcare.
PBS’s webpage “Sick Around the World” discusses percentage of GDP, average family premium, what it’s about, how it works, and the different concerns. If we are going to be successful then the government, and anyone else who plays a major role in this act, will need to study these things and learn from. CONCLUSION Our government plays such a huge role in our day to day lives and I never even realized until all these issues were presented to me. I hope that in spite of the politicians having so much power to control our society by enabling racism that they take a step back to realize the effects of what they do and make more of an effort to dismantle it.
I believe that if politicians follow Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer’s first two steps in the Four Level’s of Change, the first being to identify personal prejudices and the second holding those around them accountable for their prejudice ideas, there will be such a positive outcome. Our society has come so far in the last century and I cannot wait to see the positive changes and advancements the future holds for us. BIBLIOGRAPHY * Scott, Mona. 2012. THINK Race and Ethnicity. Boston, Pearson. * Etaugh, Claire A. and Bridges, Judith S. 2009. Women’s Lives A Psychological Exploration 2nd Ed. Boston, Pearson. * “Gun Politics in Germany. ” Retrieved from Wikipedia. com on May 14, 2013 * “The Health Care Law & You. ” Retrieved from Healthcare. gov on May 16, 2013 * “Sick Around the World. ” Retrieved from PBS. org on May 18, 2013.