Are We Different?

Come to think about it, growing up in a safe neighborhood was a great advantage in my life. I spend my childhood and adolescence in Ilsan, a city near Seoul, South Korea. I spent a relatively happy and safe childhood there. Mainly, I had never experienced racial discrimination or hated different colors until I came to the United States. I didn’t even know such things existed in the world back then. I was quite ignorant. Thus, I took advantage of living in a safe neighborhood for granted.

Because of my background, therefore, I naturally regarded incarceration was necessary for the social order. I believed a person who committed a fault should be punished for the public good. However, my experience for four years in New York City changed my thought. Steven Pacheco told, “Selling drugs in my neighborhood that all I knew, all we knew.” In my opinion, this is one of the biggest flaws in the American social system. Pacheco is from “hood” where people consider as a dangerous neighborhood. And, a large number of police officers keep an eye on those neighborhoods.

However, social structures in the United States don’t particularly seem to give a chance to rehabilitate people come from a poor environment. Incarceration limits people who come from a poor background. When they make a mistake, society takes their freedom under the name of social justice. It won’t fix social issues as well as bringing similar problems repeatedly. Poverty brings another poverty while the privileged class is guaranteed to have the “equal educational opportunity.” As a result, certain ethnic groups will become an easy target that could be blamed, causing social problems. Everyone, even a person who made a mistake, needs to have a right to start a new life because we all are same. Therefore, incarceration is not only taking human rights but also equal educational opportunities.

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