Personal Action Plan Essay
This past week in class we have discussed social inequality among other things, like being socially conscious. Ironically, this is a topic which I am personally all too familiar with because of where I am from and where I’ve been I have observed many situations that are socially unequal. Some people would just accept this as “the norm”, but I know it should be different. I refuse to accept that, any Personal class of people is any more or any less than the other. God created all of us equal and we should love and respect one another as such.
In the Midwest community I live in we have a neighboring community right across the river and the only thing that separates us is a bridge. The sad thing is this our two cities are as different as night and day. My hometown is a community of more than eighty five percent of its citizens living under the poverty line. The city across the bridge has a flourishing community of upper middle class and rich citizens. I will attempt to explain a little more in depth how different these two cities are and suggest an action plan for solving some of the social inequality and how we all can be more socially conscious of one another.The Whirlpool Corporation’s New World Headquarters will soon be completed in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Appliance Giant has been a major part of our community ever since it began.
How can you have the world’s largest appliance maker’s home base in a city that has the majority of its citizens living below the poverty line? It is easy when you close down the only manufacturing facility it has in the area. The headquarters used to be in St. Joseph, Michigan, right across the bridge where there is only about fifteen to twenty percent of its community living below the poverty line. The thing is, many of those living in St. Joseph today lived in Benton Harbor at one time. They have businesses in the community and a far better economy than Benton Harbor and it’s been this way for the last thirty to thirty five years.
Better streets, better housing, better police and fire departments also. When I go to St. Joseph I get a sense that many of its citizens really don’t want me over there because I am an African American male. Seriously, there is clearly a sense of being out of place at times. Most of our citizens in Benton Harbor feel the same way I do and go over there to take care of business and come right back.Unfortunately everything is in St.
Joseph, I mean everything, the hospital, the jail, both the municipal and trial courts and most of the Doctor’s offices. So it’s not like everyone has an alternative when it comes to paying certain bills and doing other important business. No I am not saying everyone in St. Joseph is this way, but for the most part people do have a way of making you feel unwelcomed.
In some ways it’s better that it used to be, but today they are more low-key with the racism. I have learned to stay in my place when I am over across the bridge.I work for the local bus system and we have a lot of passengers in St. Joseph I am over there quite a bit. The majority of our drivers are black and we all feel like we are not wanted in St. Joseph at times. I have also learned that people will be people and you cannot change people or the way that they think. But, I can work on me, so I don’t get into an altercation or another bad situation.
Here we are in 2012 and it’s like we still have many people in St. Joseph with the same mindset as back in the fifties or sixties, it should not be that way. Likewise those same kinds of attitudes exist here in Benton Harbor, but on a smaller level.It wrong, I don’t care who feels like they are better than anyone else. Sure, some of the attitudes and such are still somewhat subtle, but some of this stuff cannot be hid.
The covers came off of a lot of people when President Obama was elected and many more will be exposed now that he has been re-elected. I am not a racist, my mother is white and I have experienced racism on all sides, it’s about equality and human rights. By having the opportunity to live in different cities in different parts of the country I have become more and more socially conscious.No, I am not a mind-reader, but I am a good judge of attitudes and character. So, things have got better in many ways, but there is still a long way to go. Anytime members of a police department (St.
Joseph) will follow a car full of African American or Hispanic people from a county park to the city limits, I think that sends a clear message. When I am in St. Joseph I rarely see African American or Hispanic people working in positions like, for the police or fire departments, city workers or any job in the public that has any kind of prestige.I see the way mixed race couples are looked at, if I am walking down the street or through a parking lot, I hear automatic door locks engaging. People over there just assume that because I am black I am up to no good or I am the enemy. We, the people of Benton Harbor are not the enemy. There are some “Bad Apples” in every group, but that should not reflect on everyone. What I am saying is this, there should be no such thing as “Social Inequality”.
When I go to St. Joseph, MI. I should not be treated like I am a criminal or sub-human by its citizens just because of the way I look.A lot of what goes on today is a direct result of what parents are teaching their children. Where else would they get it from. I mean are all a product of our environment in a sense, so where do teen agers and young adults get this bigotry from? They had to get it from somewhere. I was taught that you treat others as you want to be treated, and this is what I taught my own children.
It does not feel good to be treated cold just because of the way I look or disrespected by someone’s child who happens to be better off financially than me. Each time I have experienced being treated sub-human I was very uncomfortable, I am human.That stuff bothers me. For example, I was taught to speak to people. I have been on the street or walking in a store or at the hospital (in St. Joseph) and have had direct eye contact with someone and said hello or good morning and that individual would look at me and keep on going.
Come on that does not feel good and I am uncomfortable whenever that happens, especially when other people are around and hear it. This experience has clearly helped me become even more aware that, people of all cultures and economic backgrounds should go out of their way to get to know one another and about one another.We must all become more socially conscious before things can really get better. I must do better at not allowing others negative behavior bother me so much and remain in control of myself regardless of how I am approached or responded to. Steps to take to improve social consciousness and equality 1.
Find ways to teach children more about social consciousness early like in elementary school. 2. With cities such as Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, leaders of the communities churches, schools and neighborhoods come together and try to develop ways to work together and develop solutions to heir social inequality situations. 3. Have mandatory cultural diversity classes and training quarterly for public service employees and those who interact with the public on a regular basis.
I have shared some of the experienced we’ve had here over the years and those we still face. It is important to identify and acknowledge such issues in order to develop ways to begin to address them. Sure the adults will experience positive improvements in social consciousness as a result. But, our children can really benefit from our trying to stamp out social inequality for good.