On October 1988, Geraldine Ferraro, the first Democratic female candidate for Vice President, addressed the consequence of discrimination and the health of our nation.
“According to Ferraro, discrimination is a dysfunctional and maladaptive tendency. It gives rise to hunger, crime, and the spread of one of the century’s most debilitating diseases- AIDS.”
This article, found in the Emory Report for October 10, 1988 addresses some important questions. Does discriminations directly correlate with the spread of HIV AIDS? If this is true then, does discrimination directly lead to the lose of lives? We have already encountered how radical discrimination can lead to destruction and mass death as in Holocaust Nazi Germany and how it only took one man to raise a community against a specific people. This one idea- this one negative distinction was responsible for millions of lives. How about today? Will our ignorance and lack of understanding eventually transform to massive death? Can we realize that because of discrimination, we are robbing society of talent, artistic expression and individuality? I think that these are the questions that Ferraro herself had and tried to emphasize in her speech.
If this is true, that we are a discriminatory society, then are we (the public) more responsible for the spread of AIDS then the actual AIDS holders? If we cannot realize that the LGBTQ community is just as much as part of our society then, can we realize that we too are also responsible for sickness, fear, and crime? Ferraro explained that if you have an individual who was HIV AIDS positive then he/she would be less likely to advertise it because of the negative views of society. Society will automatically assume that this person is rather pernicious and if he is male, then that automatically makes him gay and not “normal.” What if however, this individual contracted AIDS from his mother, who was AIDS positive, does that make him less fit? Or what if this individual was a health care provider and he somehow contracted the disease by an infected needle? How are we going to know this if we are going to automaticity assume that he is gay? For this reason, these individuals are less likely to advertise and inquirer others of their illness and thus, spread the virus even further.
I think that this speech is appropriate for its time, the 1980’s, because of the huge increase of AIDS positive cases in the United States. This was a way for Ferraro to voice her concerns of our well-being and tried to educate others on the negative affects of discrimination towards others. If individuals begin to claim their disease, do we as a society still need to make their lives more difficult by separating them from society and deeming them “bad” for everyone? No, I think that once someone has the courage and wiliness to claim their illness do we (the public) then have to recognize this accomplishment and honor them by accepting them for their courage and lend them support.
“Non-dicrimation must become more than just a nice idea. Discrimination is the most unpatriotic of acts. By blocking the expression of talent and by preventing individuals from soaring, they (institutions) rob the entire nation of the greatness it could attain.” – Geraldine Ferraro