LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Published: Monday, December 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 14:12
It has saddened the world that Nelson Mandela, the man who spent his entire life fighting for equality, inclusion and justice for all black South Africans, has died.
Mandela, as a deviant of the status quo in South Africa, which had been strategically established by National Party, with the application of apartheid agenda that systemically racially segregated the country—black and white in different quartered regions, was prisoned for 27 years for speaking out against the inhumane treatment of black. The white South Africans carried on the ideology of the apartheid, a minority of that country.
As the National Party did its programs of not involving black South Africans in the wealth of the country, not considering them as decent human beings who had aspiration of changing their unpleasant circumstances that had been rendered to them, black never succumbed. They had the conviction to not adhere to the idea that life was unchangeable and immobile.
They campaigned against norms that have been ideologically programmed and campaigned by white South Africa, as that was the best-suited treatment black could ever get. Nelson Mandela brought the South Africa’s system on the mainstream.
Unequivocally, Mandela dedicated his life to fighting for justice for all in South Africa. Jailed for almost three decades as a means of suppressing his radical standing on racial desegregation, he never lost his held belief that life could be changed for his brothers and sisters.
In 1964, he was sent to prison for his crusade against discrimination rendered by white South Africa toward black. The world became fascinated about his story. By 1990, his freedom was given to him as he walked as a free man from prison.
After his release, a new constitution was drafted; the apartheid was crumbling as the legitimacy in the power they had lost values. In 1994, he was elected as the first black South African president.
Being president, he still campaigned, advocating for the end of discrimination and minority power. He never stopped preaching for systemically changes until his death, on Thursday, dying in the hands of his family.
I sense, hypothetically, that Mandela has not died. Citizens around the world—engaged or non-engaged—will attest that Mandela will be greatly missed and that no one on this planet will ever be like him. As a political science and anthropology student, looking at circumstances from the broader sense, I am quick to refute that shared sentiment. Mandela is your neighbors, students, friends; illegal immigrants, poverty-stricken individuals, prisoners. They are fighting for injustices that have plagued their lives. I will focus on two of the above the issues mentioned, students and illegal immigrants.
In the U.S., the K-12 education system underperforms because of economic reasons and test systems that have been established. It forces students to regurgitate instead of knowing key concepts that are needed for society as a whole and are made to believe that they are do not have the intellectual capability to gain academically in the near future.
Because of poor results of standardized tests, that do not allow them to graduate high school, get a job or enroll in post-secondary education, many see their aspirations and their perceived American dream unforeseeable. Many resort to jobs that prevent them for social mobility; instead, they fall into the circle of poverty.
These individuals want the ascribed inheritance change. They are the faces of Nelson Mandela. When you see these people, I urge you to remember, that in no question, they serve as representatives of Mandela. This leads me to my second example of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants.
As reported, in the U.S., there are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country.
Some came as dreamers, some fled from the ascribed life circumstances they faced in their native countries. As ill immigrants, they still obey the core values shared by most Americans: patriotism, determinism, middle-class status, and goal driven.
However, because of their status, they cannot have access to resources needed to better them. They pay taxes and their children are born in this country and serve in our military. They teach in our universities and colleges, take care of our elderly, etc. Legal status has not been given to them.
The illegal immigrants as a groups and individuals, are the faces of Nelson Mandela. They have adhered that changes need to happen; the compass has to be changed in order for them to enjoy the numerous benefits of being an American. They have already started that process. It will take time until Americans are convinced that they have to be given legal status.