Uneven Development  

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Inequality persists in this world we live in.  The notorious divide between the rich and poor is ever widening.  This gap can be observed within and across nations.  There is income inequality and huge differences in lifestyles and living conditions among the rich and the poor.  The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cited Chile, Turkey, Mexico, and the United States as the countries with the most imbalanced distribution of income. This means some people are enjoying an affluent lifestyle and exalted social status while some are barely surviving and living below the poverty line.

The report just analyzed the income distribution among developed nations, which means that it did not include yet the figures for developing countries, wherein and amongst themselves, inequality is very prevalent.  The topic about the uneven distribution of income is not just about differences in salaries in monetary figures among the workforce.  This also means differences in stature in society and access to resources and services. One may be led to ask why inequality exists. Why does there have to be rich and poor?  Why are there people who have so much and people who have almost nothing at all?  And why is the gap between the wealthy and the lowly getting bigger?  Can something be done about it?

I remember Neil Smith, who was a geographer and anthropologist, attempted to explain this phenomenon of uneven development through geographical spaces and the growth and expansion of capitalism in cities, nations, and throughout the world.  He argued that capitalism defined nature and space.  His theory was anchored in Marxism philosophy involving the class struggle between capitalists and workers to protect and promote their respective interests.  In as much as capitalism created and shaped progress and development in the places where it operates, it also brought with it urgent social concerns that affect the people and the environment. We should be mindful of this so-called development and never set aside the interests of the people for progress.  

SLAVERY THEN AND NOW 

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History taught us how slavery, racism, and class division became a part of our society.  They say that those who have not learned the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.  We might think that slavery has ended in these modern times but in reality, slavery has just taken other forms and faces.  Inequality still prevails.  We do not want another war to set things right.  It is in our nature to break free from these oppressive forces until we can truly say that America is the land of the free and the brave.  

History tells us that slaves from Africa were imported and traded in America.  The growing plantation industry of tobacco and rice back then depended on slave labor.  Through the years, slavery was entrenched in the society as well as racism, or the divide between blacks as slaves, and whites as free people. This started the power struggle between the two races. The whites or those in power tried to keep their status in society by enacting laws that would serve their interests and propagate slavery in society.  For the slaves, they would resist the conditions and strive for freedom.  There was a power struggle as each one – the colonies, government officials, landowners, and slaves, wanted to expand the liberties that he or she enjoyed.   

Through it all, the public sphere became an important venue for the ordinary public to voice out their opinions and views regarding political and social issues.  It was also a way for people to protect their freedom, especially freedom from slavery.  Newpapers encouraged political discourse and people viewed freedom of the press as a crucial component of liberty.  Today, we are able to voice out our opinions through various channels such as rallies and even in blogs like this one. Each one has a voice to be heard. We should use this freedom that we enjoy to protect the rights of everyone, regardless of color, religion, race, age, or status. Let us recognize slavery, racism, and class division and how they are manifested in our society so that we can put an end to them. 

 

STOP DISCRIMINATING LATINOS 

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There is a growing number of Latino Americans in the country and their voices simply cannot be overlooked.  Their influence is long-lasting and far-reaching that when we look deep within us, we can see a piece of their legacy inside of us.  Different as they may seem, they actually share a common history with us and stand for the same ideals and beliefs.    It is important to know their history as contextualized in the realm of America.  Their history is a call for unity in diversity.  It is a plea for respect and recognition of human rights.  The story of Latino Americans is the story of every person who wants to survive and thrive in whatever situation he or she faces.  Their story is the story of a people and their culture and how they had to adjust to the circumstances they find themselves in.  Their history is a testimony to the importance of standing up for your rights and fighting senseless discrimination against you.   It is a story of struggles and successes, of support and opposition, of journeying and hoping to find a place to call home. 

America is much more than the sum of the ethnic groups and races of its population.  America is the land of the free and the brave.  It should extend its love for justice, equality, and freedom to its people including the Latino Americans. It is time to stop looking at skin color, race, and other labels and see them as productive and valuable citizens of the country.  This is why it is important for us to know the history of a people.  History will tell us about the contribution of Latino Americans in this country and that they are entitled to the rights and liberties of every citizen of this land.  History will tell us that we should take down barriers, look past the stereotypes, and join the advocacy to defend the rights of immigrants and put an end to discrimination and injustice.