Divisions in Human Rights Groups
Women's March 2017
On January 2017, the Women's March on Washington made national and international headlines. Approximately five million people marched that day worldwide not only to protest against Trump's presidency, but to also stand up for progressive rights, including but not limited to women's rights, environmental rights LGBT rights, and immigration reform. Many people, whether they be men, women, and children, came to this event to stand up for causes they believed in. Despite this, there were others who decided not to show. Many black women claimed that modern feminism in general has often been used to promote white middle-class women's rights. What's more, in the past, many feminists have been quick to call out aspects they perceived to be limiting feminine rights, differences that other women have argued to be due to culture, not human rights violations.
Human rights is a concept that describes the social, economic, and political ideas that are geared towards promoting social justice for all. Whether they be from marginalized groups or otherwise, these movements have been essential to raising the quality of life for many people, and guaranteeing that some sort of human decency is give to those who truly need it. Even so, in America, there have been a series of divisions that have been cultivated within these movements, divisions that may, in fact, undermine the value of human rights altogether. Below are just a few examples.
Feminism is a host of political, ideological, and social concepts, all of which share a common goal; to protect and promote women's rights on the basis of gender equality. The movement began in the 19th century, when Charles Fourier created the term. In the UK and the US, the focus of feminism has been to promote marriage and parenting rights, as well as property rights. In different Arab countries, Qasim Amin, considered to be the "father" of Arab feminism, had shown how women had advanced Middle Eastern civilization. Though many of the rights women have gained in these territories have been retracted, to this day, their fight continues. In China, the Chinese Communist Party during the time had created positions for women in the job force. These movements have shaped the foundation of feminism, foundations that have assisted in the rise of a woman's status.
Despite the advancements that women have made all over the world, there are certain boundaries that they've struggled to overcome. Such boundaries include many divisions involving issues that feminists have sworn to fight against. For example, many feminists have criticized the sex industry because of their exploitation of women, as well as their subjection to patriarchy. However, other feminists say say that the industry should be considered an expression of female power and sexuality. In the 2016 election, many women sided with Hilary Clinton because they believed she spoke out against gender injustices, while others voted for Trump because they believed issues like the economy needed to be dealt with first before women's rights can be addressed. Many feminists have spoken out against jobs they perceive as sexist, such as dart girls and prostitutes, while others say that it's their jobs, as well as their livelihoods, that support these women, and that they shouldn't be judged for it.
There have also been critics of feminists themselves. Many men and women see feminism as misandristic that advocate for the destruction of men. Some are anti-feminists because it goes against centuries-old traditions, while others simply don't want to degrade other men and want to be treated as equals. In other words, they feel like they don't need to stand behind a political movement to represent them, which, in and of itself, is understandable.
Civil Rights Movements
The civil rights movement in America has had a long, courageous history. From historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman, to the Black Panther movie and its impact on black representation and black rights, it's clear that many people have come together to fight against racism. Not only this, but other ethnicities and races have been known to support these movements. Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders;there's no doubt that civil rights have had one of the most enduring impacts in American culture.
The movement was affected by racist laws and prejudice flourishing throughout American history. From the American Civil War's dark history on slavery, to the Jim Crow Laws, to the election of Donald Trump, it's clear that racism is still ingrained in today's society. Organizations like the KKK and the Neo-Nazis have continued to harass and threaten ethnic minorities because they aren't white. It's because of these threats that many minorities have banded together behind outspoken blacks. Peaceful protests have been organized, speaking out against corruption in police, government, and other figures of authority.
Even so, there are some elements to the movement that have been the subject of debate. For example, Malcom X, who headed the Nation of Islam, advocated for the separation of whites and blacks, as well as "Black Nationalism", the idea that blacks should instead focus on making independent communities within themselves than with whites. This takes an even more gruesome turn in history. In 1804, a group in Haiti, led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, led a massacre against the remaining white people in Haiti. The massacre played a role in shaping the racist views in the South at the time.
As you may or may not know, the LGBT community is an umbrella term that describes a community made up of different sexual orientations and identities. Generally speaking, "LGBT" is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. However, this, by no means, encompasses other sexualities or preferences. I have to admit, I'm a bit biased when it comes to this group, because I, myself, identify as apart of the community.
While unique sexual orientations have been apart of human history, from the openly gay Ancient Celts, to the stigma surrounding the gay community in America, even so, the community has started to get more attention. Now, with society becoming more and more open to the community, issues have been raised as to the equality this community, as well as the almost backwards thinking that many individuals have on these groups. And during this past year, America has indeed made progressed, with the U.S Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
However, despite the overwhelming unity within the community, there have been divisions in this community as well. For instance, many people have often wondered if issues that transgender issues should be grouped with LGBT communities. Class divisions are pervasive in the LGBT community. A lot of people wonder if the term should be expanded to include other sexualities, such as being pansexual and asexual. What's more, because of the stubborn stigma gripping this community, many individuals feel that they would rather identify with their own race, ethnicity, religion, or any other group, than with the community itself, simply because they don't want to lose loved ones.
Human rights is an issue that many political, social, and economic groups fight for. Whether it be gender equality in the workforce, reduction in corruption in America's police force, or promoting marriage equality, human rights has been at the forefront of not just our nation, but the world as well. Even so, there are many divisions that plague these groups. Class, wealth, race; it's these divisions that have sparked debates as to what the correct philosophy is regarding the future of human rights.
These discussions generate ideas that could either bring people together, or drive people out. Of course, without these discussions, we're in danger of blindly following our group's ideals, going along with decisions we may not agree with. Because of this, we must not allow our own assumptions to cloud our judgement, and distract us from our goals. This is true for any group, regardless of what their ultimate goals are. It's these differences of thought that help add to the group, not destroy it, and creates an environment where we must respect each other.