The Politicization Of Human Rights Issues
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The Politicization Of Human Rights Issues

An Opinion Piece On The Current Climate In The United States

The Politicization Of Human Rights Issues
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In high school when learning about human rights, it has almost always been from a far away, savior perspective. Up until recently when I thought about human rights I thought about impoverished, starving families in war-ridden countries, and while these are real human rights issues, there are also many human rights issues right under my nose in the United States of America, "land of the free."

My white, upper-class privilege has allowed me to be unknowingly ignorant to so many human rights issues in my country that I have been awakened to only because of the thousands of protests that have been occurring across the country, and world, since the death of George Floyd.

Here is a list of human rights issues in the United States right now:

  1. Police Brutality
  2. Rolling back of environmental protections
  3. Rolling back of transgender health protections
  4. Attempts to roll back non-discrimination protections for lgbtq+
  5. Abuse of detained non-citizens
  6. Hate crimes
  7. Opioid epidemic
  8. Attempts to take away women's reproductive rights
  9. Freedom of expression and assembly
  10. Over-incarceration

These are issues I always knew we had, but never thought of them as human rights issues. These are also only some of the issues that the citizens of the United States face, to learn about more please visit the Human Rights Watch's page on human rights issues in the United States.

Rather than explain each of the issues I mentioned above, which I hope you will all research on your own, I want to tackle the topic of why these issues weren't classified in many people's minds as human rights issues.

I am a part of a group on campus that recently released a statement supporting the LGBTQIA+ community on their instagram story. Before it was posted members voted on whether it should be posted on our grid, our story, or not at all and members explained why they voted the way they did. One of the members who voted for the statement to not be posted at all explained that the group could lose future new members if the group as a whole "chose a side." This is when I realized why some people do not view the list above as human rights issues. Human rights have been politicized.

Black Lives Matter is about Black people wanting equality and to be able to live without fear of being killed because of their skin color. Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is about people wanting equality no matter their sexual identity or sexual preference. Women's reproductive rights are about allowing women to have the freedom to control their own bodies. Environmental protections are about protecting our planet from deteriorating, so that our great great great grandchildren will still have a planet to live on. Yet all of these issues are politicized and connected to "a side."

Politics has normalized racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and more by painting them as political opinions.

If we cannot depolarize our country, so that human rights issues aren't viewed as being on a democrat or republican side, then we must encourage people to always choose the "side" of human rights. If one "side" fights for equality for all human beings no matter their skin color, gender, sexuality, or age, while another "side" argues against that, then how can anyone choose the latter?

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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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