Discrimination still alive and kicking in United States

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I have a dream” speech 48 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and he had a vision that America would rid itself of discrimination.

Unfortunately, America is not at the point it should be, but it has made plenty of steps in the right direction. It elected its first black president. Title IX and affirmative action showed that politicians cared about helping all Americans without regards to bias.

However, it took until 2011 for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to be repealed, and gay people still can’t legally marry in most states.

Any person willing to sacrifice their life for their country is worth praising regardless of sexual orientation. No credible study has ever been published that proves a straight soldier is more productive than a gay soldier. Yet, there are crowds that will boo gay soldiers at GOP debates.

For people against gay rights views, remember the U.S. armed forces desegregated in 1948, blacks couldn’t vote until the ‘60s and interracial marriage wasn’t legalized throughout America until 1967.

It wasn’t long ago that those injustices were present in America. Can you imagine people protesting interracial marriages? That’s probably how future generations will view these anti-gay sentiments.

Even when you narrow King’s focus only to race, racial injustices are still present throughout America.

Last week, the federal appeals court knocked down some of the provisions in a controversial Alabama immigration law. The law, HB 56, allowed police to charge and hold suspected illegal immigrants who are unable to prove their citizenship without bond. This has caused many Hispanic families to pull children out of public schools in fear they will be arrested.

The court also blocked provisions that would have barred illegal immigrants from attending public colleges, working and finding a place to live.

The Republicans supporting the bill are using the law to attempt to help lower the unemployment rate in Alabama, which is around 10 percent, and reduce the financial burden of illegal immigrants not paying taxes. However, Hispanic residents only count for about four percent of the population in Alabama.

The main problem is people don’t account for the types of jobs that illegal immigrants hold.

Agricultural leaders are worried that Hispanic workers, whom are vital to harvesting crops statewide, will be too scared to work this fall.

Illegal immigrants risk deportation and losing everything they have worked for when they cross the border, while working for the lowest wages and longest hours. How can you blame them for attempting to give their children, spouse or themselves a better life?

Nick Valencia, a Hispanic reporter for CNN, recently wrote a column about an encounter he had with a white woman who told him to go back to his own country.

Although he was born a citizen, Valencia’s encounter shouldn’t shock anybody. Whether a person is Hispanic or a different religion, people are bashed for ways they are born or the beliefs they have.

The United States is the land of the free, and should give every person a chance to succeed, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.

Is this the America that King imagined?