Discrimination is the unlawful treatment of a person or group of people based on certain characteristics such as race, skin color, religion, sex, and national origin. But these aren’t the only reasons a person may face discrimination. Other types of discrimination include disability, sex, and age. For example, paying someone more or less based on their gender is an act of discrimination. Women make $10,784 less than their male counterparts every year according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Unfortunately, the unequal and unfair treatment of others can go beyond hurtful words and gestures at times. Hate crimes are hostile acts of malice like murder, battery, arson etcetera based on the criminal’s bias against the victim’s characteristics. For example, committing an act of physical abuse on someone because they identify as gay or homosexual is considered a hate crime, but only in 24 states.
Americans have been fighting against different types of discrimination for years. In the 1960s, thousands of African-Americans alongside citizens of other races marched, protested and boycotted for equal rights. Civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X lead movements to end racial discrimination. With the help of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s legislation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Affirmative Action, and the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), civil rights leaders paved the way for millions of minorities to be afforded more equal opportunities in education and employment.
Japanese Internment Camps
On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which ordered 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent to be removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. The order was signed in reaction to World War II hysteria after Japan attacked US soil at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The U.S. was fearful that those of Japanese descent were spying for Japan, but during the entire war only 10 people were convicted of spying for Japan and none of them were Japanese. The families were released in 1945.
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 against the 1996 DOMA Act in the summer of 2013. Before the ruling, the legislation denied federal recognition of gay marriage and benefits to legally married, gay couples, including Social Security survivor benefits, family leave, and immigrations rights. The act made federal law unequal for all and violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of equal liberty. The decision also allowed gay marriage to resume in California.