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The notion of equality can be viewed anywhere you go, weather you’re in a classroom, workplace or even at home. The main purpose of equality is so that no one is exempted from playing their role within a society. While the ideas of political equality ascended, Americans were designing a political system. With heavy controversy, the earliest stages of political equality were not positive for the American society. The struggle for equality is still present today and has been exemplified in the past with concerns to women, race, and Rwanda. With numerous debates, it is always important for any country to be composed of values, and rights. Initially, the United States constitution had previously been controlled so that only men were eligible to vote. Equality has made a significant impact on this law and today both genders are entitled to vote. Although it is perceived that the US has achieved full equality, this isn’t necessarily the case. No matter what country you live in, it is nearly impossible to achieve full political equality since there will always be minorities within the country. In order to fully understand the foundations of equality it is also important to recognize inequality.
One of the biggest controversial issues concerning equality was women’s ability to vote. During the 1920s, the final vote of Henry Burn, the deciding vote that made Tennessee the thirty-sixth and final state to approve and validate voting rights for women, was cast. The 19th amendment was altered to state that the right of citizens to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Enfranchisement demands of American women were first seriously devised at the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. These demands went unacknowledged throughout the course of many decades leading to the aggravation of those who believed in human equality. Ultimately, the granting of the ballot to American women in 1920 was the result of the determination of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman’s Party as well as other American citizens opposing male chauvinism. “The men are able to run the government and take care of the women. Do women have to vote in order to receive the protection of man? Why, men have gone to war, endured every privation and death itself in defense of woman. To man, woman is the dearest creature on earth, and there is no extreme to which he would not go for his mother or sister. “Senator J.B. Sanford replies when questioned about his view on women’s right to vote. “By keeping woman in her exalted position man can be induced to do more for her than he could by having her mix up in affairs that will cause him to lose respect and regard for her.” Male chauvinists argued that a woman’s place was in the home and it was dangerous to change a social system that worked. Many anti-suffrage campaigns were held using tactics to humor and prevent women’s votes arguing that women were not qualified to exercise it even if the really did want to vote, which they really didn’t.
August 26th 1920, marks the day women finally obtained their rights in a male dominant society. No longer is a woman’s worth measured by how well she can sweep the floors or how memorable the luscious taste of her meringue pie is. She is no longer to present her influence through her husband on the politics of her own country. The women of the United States of America are not fragile beings that are incapable of contributing to society. It is a day from which she is not to be considered incompetent outside local affairs such as housing, education and care of children. It was said that if women became involved in politics, they would stop marrying and producing children; let the world see then, that a woman can nourish society in ways other than merely reproducing children. Throughout both the world wars, the women of this nation were mobilized to work. Just five years ago, women left their children to work eight hours a day in factories. These women became significant parts of labor forces in the United States, They were given more freedom and social and economic mobility than ever before and when expected to return to the home to work and continue to engage in their duties at home before the war, the women retaliated.
Although women now have the right to vote, there are still many inequalities in the workplace such as long hours of hard labor, little benefits, and unprecedented physical demands. World War II is the final reason that change is able to occur further within our society. It has allowed the women to have experienced new opportunities, independence and a sense of individuality and in doing so, society is prone to change further to nationally treat its citizens with equal rights regardless of gender.
Society has come a long way in the past hundred years or so, by recognizing women’s rights, and those who believe in equality will not rest until the other flaws of our society diminish and eventually cease to exist.
Furthermore, there are many events that took place where equality had been practiced, other countries as well. Arguably, the biggest genocides in the world have impacted the progression of it. On April 7th 1994, the first day of what is now known to be the fastest, most brutal massacres the world has ever seen, took place (Manji, 2008). Violence broke out almost immediately after the President Habyarimana was killed when the plane was shot down near the Kigali Airport. The end result of the so-called civil war, which ultimately resulted in a genocide of the Tutsi people of Rwanda, was 800 000 women the perishing of men and children and millions of others displaced, in a time period of approximately 100 days (Manji, 2008). Although the Rwandans were responsible for organizing and implementing the genocide, those who instigated oppression and those who failed to prevent and stop the killing campaign, are equally responsible.
Germans colonized Rwanda in 1894, favoring the Tutsis because of their “Caucasian” features (Prunier, 1995). They enforced pressure upon the already segregated Rwandans, the Tutsis and the Hutus and took advantage of the already established order. The Germans then enforced Tutsi rule over the Hutu Population. Later, the Belgians were to prepare Rwanda for independence, and were to be granted political rights. However, Belgium granted right exclusively to the Tutsis. In 1959, the country erupted in violence, the oppressed Hutus attacked the Tutsis, and there were over 20,000 deaths and 150,000 refuges (Prunier, 1995). The Tutsis including the king fled to Uganda and the Tutsi kingdom fell.
If the actions committed by the Hutu rebels were sooner recognized as genocide and as human rights, the lives of almost a million could have been saved. The Rwandans removed a system of oppression and dictatorship but cost the lives of many. The Genocide in Rwanda would have gone very differently if the international community put their self interests aside and took action to stop the atrocities that to this day haunts the world.
The Rwanda genocide has made its mark on being one of the most tragic event’s we have ever witnessed. This event has impacted the world and a movie called “Hotel Rwanda” is exclusively based on this incident. The movie takes place back in 1994 where many Rwanda events were occurring. A character named Paul Rusesabagina has the ambition to save as many citizens as possible from the massacre of the genocide. This film not only shows the inequality of citizens in Rwanda but it also examines the genocide, political corruption, and the consequences of violence.
Racial profiling plays a huge role in establishing equality even in today’s society. Much controversy was aroused in 1869, when the 15th Amendment, giving black men the right to vote, was proposed. (Harris, 2002) Suffragists responded in a militant manner, conduction campaigns, demonstrations, massive protests, mass marches and hunger strikes. The movie “Crash” is one example where racial profiling is present. This movie shows an excellent perception of how racism is demonstrated today accordingly, with many modern scenarios of interrelated character that are following stereotypes solely based on their ethnicity. Consequently, these stereotypes led to numerous problems for each of the character. In modern society, stereotypes can affect our values, judgments, and beliefs about individuals which as a result, prevent the development of equality.
Similarly, there are many feminists group seeking to achieve full equality in both genders. The movie “Mona Lisa Smile” exemplifies feminism in several ways. For instance, the whole plot is based upon a young female teacher who teaches at a women’s college. She is exclusively there to encourage her students to play a larger role in society rather than being the typical house wife and mother. These stereotypes can even be seen in certain aspects of today, but a lot of women are adopting higher status in the working environment.
Of the 3 movies, “Crash” seems to best present equality because it signifies the struggle of equality in modern society. Although feminism and the Rwanda genocide have greatly impacted the establishment of equality, it is important for people to become aware of today’s struggle for equality rather than the pasts. Creating a movie like “Crash” in particular can help raise the awareness of people who aren’t aware of today’s stereotypes and can in fact, indirectly improve people’s perceptions towards other. Initially, this is a small stepping-stone towards achieving further equality.
In any case, it is important to understand the main events which affect the place we live, in this case is equality. It is the value and abilities of us individuals which ultimately creates a stable society based on the whole of humanity. By doing so, we can further progress in more extreme struggles without discrimination against anyone. Regardless of religion, race, sex, or age, we eventually rely on one another for support. The struggle for equality in North America is always continuous and it is amazing how much progress has been achieved; and every step forward we take, will initially influence the declaration of equality everywhere.
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