2016: The Year America Stopped Pretending
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Politics and Activism

2016: The Year America Stopped Pretending

The best thing about 2016 is that America has had to take a good hard look in the mirror.

2016: The Year America Stopped Pretending

I think I speak for many Americans when I say that 2016 is a year we would very much like to forget. Between the presidential election (well the candidates), deadly police shootings, violent protests, and sexual assault scandals it seems like this year has shown off some of the very worst of America. However, there is one great silver lining to all of the terrible things that have happened this year.

America has stopped pretending.

For years now it seems like Americans, well at least some white Americans, have been operating under the assumption that American society had moved passed distinctions based on traits like race and gender. In this utopian world racism was a thing of the past, sexism was nonexistent, and the American justice system worked.

Now it seems that the veil has been lifted and those people are beginning to learn some hard truths. There are in fact a battery of negative 'isms' and phobias that are still prominent in America today.

Racism is still very much a thing.

You need look no further than the comments of one presidential candidate and the support they have received for this one. If calling all Mexicans rapists and criminals doesn't qualify as racist I don't know what does. Need another example? How about the http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-10-06/jesse-watters-receives-backlash-for-fox-news-chinatown-segment-on-the-oreilly-factorChinatown segment done by Fox News' Jesse Waters.

As bad as that is it's far from the only 'ism' that's alive and well in American culture.

Sexism is still very much a thing.

Many people have known for a while that being a woman in America was no easy task, but I think that fact really hit hard this year. It seems like 2016 is the year that the http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discriminationgender wage gap really entered the American consciousness. Even if a woman does the same job as a many she will very likely not be paid the same amount.

2016 was also the year of bogus punishments for sexual assaults. Perhaps more accurately, it's the year that those light punishments really caused media attention. From Brock Turner to http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/13/light-sentence-for-rapist-reveals-a-flawed-system/Austin Wilkerson, and most recently the http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-montana-judge-rape-sentence-20161021-story.htmlMontana man who got 60 days for raping his 12-year-old daughter.

On top of all that I could write a whole article on the sexism in the Trump campaign. From comments of him and his son to the https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-suffragettes-rolling-graves#Repealthe19th that I wrote about last week, this campaign has really illustrated how some people continue to view women as second class citizens.

While some people may have been able to deny racism and sexism I don't think the phobias were every question, we just saw a lot more of them in 2016.

Xenophobia is still very much a thing.

In a nation of immigrants, this one is perhaps the most baffling to me. Unless your heritage is 100% Native American your ancestors were immigrants, and they were very likely discriminated against at some time or another. However, they persevered to build a better life and helped build this nation in the process.

Why then do people continue to try and deny other people the opportunity to do the same thing. Even Syrian refugees who are fleeing a war that we are at least partially responsible for cannot get any sympathy from the majority of the American public. Ridiculous.

Homophobia and transphobia are still very much a thing.

One need look no further than https://medium.com/@Anna_Kareis/hell-hath-no-fury-like-house-bill-2-cc1e975f37c2#.njhq3ldh5North Carolina's HB2 for this one. In perhaps what may be the most laughable example of hypocrisy in recent memory, men and women who were terrified by the thought of their daughter being grabbed by a trans woman seem to have not problem electing a man who definitely would.

From Kim Davis to the Pulse Nightclub shooting 2016 has been just as rife with http://www.lgbtqnation.com/tag/homophobia/examples of homophobia as any other year. It's particularly upsetting though, because last year the LGBT community scored such a massive victory when they were given the right to marry.

So in the travesty that has been 2016 at least America has been shown its sad reality. Anyone who tells you that there are not problems is sadly mistaken or just delusional.

We are not a nation of equals, but that doesn't mean that our current problems have to remain. By acknowledging that there is in fact a problem perhaps we can make this country better for everyone.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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