The Importance Of Inequality In America

1230 Words5 Pages
For centuries, white, privileged Americans have supported an idea that a person’s morality, ability, intelligence, and identity, or the key features a person considers as defining to who they are, directly correlate with their race. Elite Americans created institutions, ranging from businesses to governments, and a society that suggests being white is better than being black. It also provides whites with better opportunities, despite the idea that America is a country focused on equality. While many white, bigoted Americans consider race to be an essential characteristic for defining the rest of one 's identity, understanding the cognitive dissonance behind this claim can help Americans of all ethnicities discover the similarities behind all…show more content…
Addressing the cognitive dissonance present in many privileged Americans’ racial ideologies is the first step when attempting to create unity between multiple ethnicities. Privilege is a person’s exclusive access to opportunity due to elements of their life they have no influence over, such as race or class. Americans stating the value of diversity is an example of cognitive dissonance, or the act of supporting two contrary ideologies or acting in oppositional ways, because of the elite citizens ' dependence of privilege. Despite rampant inequality within America, equality was a founding idea of the United States. The American Revolution began because England treated the colonists as unequal to English citizens by denying their rights to representation in England’s legal taxing body. The United States often considers itself the freest country in the world, shown through documents and songs, especially The Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and America the Beautiful. This is an example of cognitive dissonance because all Americans who act compliantly towards…show more content…
Americans not suffering from marginalization accepting their privilege could lead to the bridging of inequality and lessening of oppression-based fear, or fear of retaliation from a group that suffers from oppression and abuse. Privileged Americans have been living with advantages such as better job opportunities, shown by the lack of diversity amongst CEOS, for centuries. Without these exclusive, and so easier, opportunities, they are unsure how to protect their wealth and power status within society. This is visible during the South’s refusal to abolish slavery. The South feared an African American revolt and so, even after slaves gained their freedom, they suffered disenfranchisement because privileged whites were afraid that if former slaves could vote they would use their new power to take advantages, such as better, segregated schools, away from the elite. The Demon in Darren Wilson’s Head comments on this form of fear from before the abolition of slavery, saying, “The purpose of these white racial privileges… was to form a wedge between the European and African indentured servant classes and exbondsmen so that a united class war against the ruling elite would not happen.” (Thandeka) This excerpt shows oppression-based fear on a wider scale, the fear of the oppressed lower classes. The elite was fearful that if unified, the lower classes would
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