Americans lost equality and safety in their own country
Updated 21:02, 24-Mar-2021
First Voice

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There is one simple truth: Americans don't get treated equally or feel safe in their own country.

A report about the U.S. human rights violations in 2020 issued by China on March 24 shows that, as the country that only accounts for 5 percent of the global population, U.S. has more than 25 percent of global COVID-19 cases and nearly 20 percent of deaths worldwide. Systemic racism, compounded by the pandemic, put minorities under greater discrimination and life-threatening situation. African Americans are three times more likely to contract the virus than white people do. Their death rate doubles that of the white people.

Can people blame this on the Trump administration's disastrous handling of the pandemic? Yes. But is it alone responsible for it? No. Even with Biden's push of vaccination, Black's vaccine rate is still half of white people's, based on the New York Times' analysis on March 5, 2021. Minority's lesser economic status in the society makes it harder for them to enjoy the flexibility and access that white people have even if they want to take the vaccine. "Racial and ethnic health disparities are longstanding a deeply rooted," the newspaper wrote.

If its people can't feel they are treated equally or that the government is solving their problems, then that government has failed at governance. But it'd be more insidious if the government can't even guarantee the safety of its people, particularly if that threat has existed for a long time.

People wait in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Paterson, New Jersey, U.S., January 21, 2021. /AP

People wait in line for the COVID-19 vaccine in Paterson, New Jersey, U.S., January 21, 2021. /AP

Gun violence in the U.S. reached a new peak in 2020. In the year alone, there were more than 41,500 people who died of gun violence, averaging more than 110 victims per day. If you need any approval of the deteriorating situation in the U.S., just look at the past week. "Seven mass shootings in seven days" is one of the subtitles in an article published by CNN. Started on March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia, where a shooter killed eight people, including six Asian-American women, gun violence took place in California, Oregon, Texas, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

This CNN article has a jarring title: "Mass shootings signal a dubious 'back to normal' in America." Indeed, people getting shot and dying seems to be defining day-to-day American lives. Perhaps many Americans are even losing track of the mounting bodies that have bullets in them. Public fatigue surrounding gun violence can't be blamed. The share volume of such incidents alone is enough to overwhelm people's daily life.

Within a single week, the U.S. government's incompetency in regulating the gun industry, coupled with rampant racism, sexism, and hate crime, led to dozens of deaths and injuries. No single factor operates independently. Been racist or sexist alone doesn't cost lives, it's how people act on their prejudice that does. The previous Trump administration always behaved under the assumption that their words don't cost harm, but they do.

A person holds a candle while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting spree in Atlanta in Lowell, Massachusetts, March 17, 2021. /Getty

A person holds a candle while attending a vigil held for the victims of the shooting spree in Atlanta in Lowell, Massachusetts, March 17, 2021. /Getty

According to the human rights report, in 2020, one-fourth of young Asian-Americans have become the target of racial discrimination and bullying. The Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign interviewed 990 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. about their racism experience during the pandemic. The interviewees believe that the pandemic and the Trump administration's rhetoric have "fueled a new wave of anti-Asian discrimination." And this new wave materialized itself this year with the death of Asian-American women in Atlanta and of an 84-year-old retired auditor from Thailand after being shoved to the sidewalk in San Francisco's Chinatown.

For a country that boasts itself as the beacon for human rights and champion for equality, its own citizens can't even be treated equally or provided with security within its own borders. According to a Gallup Poll released on March 23, 67 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the country's direction. Death by the virus, death by racially-targeted anger, having less access, less opportunity, and treated differently are what minorities have to face every day for decades in the United States.

Administration after administration claims it is aware of the problem and intends to solve them. Yet, at the beginning of the third decade in the 21st century, it is still failing.

And there's no one else that can be blamed.

Scriptwriter: Huang Jiyuan

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