Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
In the article, “From slavery to mass incarceration, America has separated families for centuries”, Antonio Cediel discusses how many centuries the United States has been a country that separates people from their loved ones. One can see that this country doesn’t learn from their mistakes because they continue making the same errors without thinking of the consequences in the future. Over the years, minorities have been negatively affected by the actions that the American government has taken. For example, they started dividing families during slavery to taken indigenous children from their parents to immigration problems, too, and lastly, during the “War on Drugs” were most people from the low-class neighborhood where taken to prison. But all of this happened because minorities have been seen and inferior overtime and never were given a fair representation to defend their rights.
The general idea express by Cediel is that The United States has a past history of unjustly targeted minorities specifically and by doing so the government tends to normalize breaking families apart. To take a quick look at history, for many centuries slavery have been used to separate families just because white owners believed to be more superior than African American was seen as their personal property. As Cediel says, “it began during slavery with the brutal, daily and fully legal practice of buying and selling away children from their parents”. For many centuries slavery, in The United States was something legal and was an economic system in the South.
A lot of white people believed that they were above black people just because of their skin color. They were not following the principles of all men are created equal meaning none one should discriminate against another race or gender. It was a trading system where white owners would buy black children, men, and woman. To be their property and forced into labor in a dehumanizing way. But white owners used the cavity justification that Africans were uncivilized and it was their right to make them behave like humans. Like white families, slaves also had families with children, but White American owners really didn’t care because they wanted to see them as “animals”.
Many African Americans at this time didn’t know what having a family was where they can live peacefully because at any time they could be separated by any white owner. They didn’t have that unalienable right that the American Society was built on life, liberty, and justice. The United States was first controlled by Great Britain, and when they gained independence, they promised that their people will have the right to freedom which is the most important we human beings have. However, they still violated trying to accomplish their man=in goal which it was to put slaves to work and make money out of them. The worst thing it was legal to take a person and convert to your own property like an object just because the other person feels they had more power.
The American government strategy to assimilate Indigenous children was unethical. In fact, no one should force upon another person in the different way of life or culture. This means the process of assimilation has to be consensual. However, what makes the strategy by the government unethical was the fact they coerced, this indigenous children to adapt to their policies. The parents of this children expressed their discontent and considered this action immoral because it would make them forget their Indigenous culture. In record, the author discussed how, “About the time slavery was abolished, the government then began the practice of forcibly removing Native American children as young as 5 years old from their families in order to “civilize” them in white boarding school”.
In addition, these families were correlated all of this happen while this children counterpart from white families were living in their nuclear families because the general society saw them as “normal” people. These children were separated from their parents without any permission to do so. They were raised without a paternal or maternal figure which impacted their lives negatively because it was a way of making them forget what they learned from their parents. They envision to teach those called “uncivilized” people how to behave in the America Society and that only way was separating them from those who influenced those children. As a result of this injustice assimilation strategy, this children, families and cultural beliefs fell apart.
During the “War on Drugs” in the Reagan Administration, many people were using and trafficking drugs in The United States. Most of them who were selling drugs came from the poor neighborhood where there weren’t enough jobs for everyone especially people without access to an education. Cediel discusses how, “in the late ’70s, the United States began an accelerated process of mass incarceration that quintupled the number of U.S. prisoners, giving America the highest incarceration rate in the world and paving the way for a new form of legal family separation on a massive scale”. This shows how it was their only way of making money to bring home for their family.
So the government decided that the best option was whoever was found with any kind of drug in them will have to meet a mandatory minimum sentence in prison, which was the easiest way of eliminating the problem without them thinking of the consequences it could have in those prisoner lives. Coming from a poor family and having to leave them would be difficult because now they would not have the same support as before. Instead of making the people addicted to the drugs go to reliability so they stop consuming drugs, some better actions they could have taken on those poor neighborhood was to increase the employment rate and concentrate on improving those people lives. This form would have a much more significant outcome than separating those people from their families by arresting them and giving heavy jail sentences.
This is the problem if they put people who abuse of substances in jail that’s not going to help them at all because once they get out, they are going to continue doing the same thing as before. That’s the only thing they know how to do, so if the government doesn’t help them, none one is going to support them. As always the American government also tried to do what it thought was best for them without thinking of the negative consequences it could have because throwing people in jail is not really a moral way of fixing a non-violent problem that is affecting mostly minorities. It’s sad to how the author states that “about 2.7 million boys and girls in the USA have a parent behind bars, and more than 5 million have had a parent locked up at one point in their lives”. This demonstrates how after many years children at the end of the day are the only ones suffering from the separation of families because the government is not thinking of the actions they take. Most of this kids don’t know what it is to have a family that worries and takes cares of them.
Lastly, we can see how the United States hasn’t made any serious change in regards to their Criminal Justice System that could stop the dividing of families. In America, many unfairness legal actions have been taken over the years by the government, which mostly affect people from a low-social status causing a division of families which is constantly ignored by the people in power. People should get out of their houses and promote their voices if they want to see a change in our society. They need to let the government know that they are unsatisfied with their policies. Minorities must gain an education, so they are able to represent their community in the American government because if not many more unjustified activities would be made behind the backs of people. The United States government doesn’t know what is to walk in another person shoes, the only way to fix this, it’s for US citizens to become part of the government.