Official documents, society, and even friends have attempted to label me as a minority. The term “minority” is used to refer to a group of people who make up a small part of a whole, which implies that Persons of Color are small in terms of population and subsequently play small roles in this nation. There is nothing “minor” about the impact that POC have had in shaping this country politically, culturally, or economically. Every ethnic group has contributed to formulating the identity of United States in major ways, yet POC are always the victims of systemic mistreatment and prejudice. The United States proudly proclaims itself a “beacon of democracy”, promising many freedoms and “inalienable rights” to its citizens, but by reading some of the nation’s headlines recently, an outsider would assume these rights vary by the amount of melanin you have. The tragedy behind this is that these headlines are nothing new. They are commonplace, a phenomenon that has been occurring ever since Columbus made the mistake of stumbling upon this continent.
One of the most persecuted groups in this country’s troubling history are African- Americans, yet these resilient people have spurred profound and lasting changes in the framework of our government. After the Civil War, several amendments were created as a grievance for slavery that are now fundamental to the United States’s identity. The 13th, 14th, 15th amendments have expanded and secured the rights of countless other POC, including myself. The Black community was the embodiment of the Bill of Rights during the Civil Rights movement: exercising their freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and press. Yet they still struggle with the brutality and disparaging attitudes left behind from the days of slavery.
Latinos make up the majority of the agricultural workforce yet they are constantly discriminated against by the very people that eat the fruits of our labor. During the Great Depression, Mexicans were forced out of this country under the Mexican Repatriation because they stole jobs from “Real Americans”. But it was only when the economy was crumbling and this country was starving that these “Real Americans” would even consider doing the work that Latinos have been expected to do for years. This, along with the fact that the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed only after countless Chinese immigrants gave their lives to complete the railroads that serve as the veins of this capitalistic society proves that POC have been systematically exploited and tossed aside after the American agenda of expansion has been fulfilled.
Now it seems that history is repeating itself, with the aid of a certain bigoted politician advocating for the return of Mexican Repatriation. This idea is preposterous because even if you could remove an entire ethnic group from this nation, you would never be able to erase the enormous impact that we have had in improving this country. The upsetting part of this ordeal is not that there is a politician advocating for this plan, but that this country has not learned from its own mistakes and continues to engage in rampant hypocrisy.The same people that celebrate their country for being a “melting pot of diversity” are the same ones advocating for the creation of a divisive wall. These people have not learned to appreciate the fact that Latinos, Blacks, Asians, and all the other ethnicities are inextricably linked to this nation’s history and excellence.
It is estimated that by the year 2040 “minorities” will surpass the population of white people in the nation. What will politicians refer to us as then? Mobs? Perhaps the term minority is an instrument used to discriminate against POC and strip away the potential power that lays in our hands because they have seen the immense change that we are capable of bringing and they are afraid. I refuse play a “minor” role in anything. I am not a minority, I am part of the majority striving for acceptance and change.