Earlier this fall, the Trump administration put forth the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. At first glance, it seems like a positive and productive executive order meant to prevent stereotyping and protect minorities, but if you look closer you can clearly see the true intent — to deny the existence of racism and sexism in America today and to adamantly prohibit the proclamation that with certain sexes and races comes a degree of privilege. This order includes the censorship of concepts such as “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist” and “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”
These prohibitions are not only censorship of the very free speech Donald Trump abuses, but they go against the countless studies that prove disparities in income, education, health and otherwise exist in regards to gender and race/ethnicity. According to the article “Racial, gender wage gaps persist in the U.S. despite some progress” concerning a study by the Pew Research Center, white women make an average of $17 an hour compared to a white man’s average of $21 an hour. Black men, according to the same study, make $6 less on average than white men in the United States (Pew Research Center). Countless other studies back up these findings: women make less than men, and people of color make less than Caucasian people. According to the Department of Labor, white men in 2017 earned a median income of $60,388 annually, while on average, Black men earned $42,076 and Hispanic men earned $38,876 a year. And that’s just the income gap, completely ignoring rates of incarceration, attainment of higher education, teenage pregnancy, and dozens of other disparities influenced by gender or ethnicity that are supported by science today.
To deny the existence of white privilege and to prevent the education of federal workers on the privilege associated with being Caucasian is to blatantly deny the bias taught to millions of Americans. There’s a certain irony in a wealthy white male president putting forth the idea that racism and sexism — two things which wouldn’t be experienced by a white man directly — don’t inherently exist in America today. To be able to deny the existence of racism and sexism is in itself a reflection of privilege. Even worse, it’s a man with over a dozen sexual misconduct allegations against him who is pushing against the idea that sexism is currently ingrained into the fabric of America.
It’s baffling to live in a day and age where oftentimes it seems we’re taking steps backward as a society, but to allow it to go on without any criticism is an even bigger issue. By letting actions like these slip past the attention of the media, we perpetuate an atmosphere of support.
As young people, we need to raise our voices against these things, whether that be through protests, educating others, volunteering for causes we support, or otherwise. We cannot stay silent, lest we fall into complacency.