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Hector Irizarry


Word Project Essay

Ms. O’Keefe

Word Project Video

The Meaning Change of Human Rights

The United States of America has changed drastically over time. Till this day,
America is still changing as it builds off of the freedoms the founding fathers built and
stabilize the country on. One big way that America has changed is through the
word/phrase human rights has been used.The change revolving human rights occurred
when the Declaration of Independence was created. It said that all men are created and
equal and are given unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it
did not apply to all people. Based off that document the definition of human rights is a
right that everyone has and can justifiably express. Moreover, this definition involves the
change of the word because the ​Declaration Of Independence ​didn’t give freedom to
blacks or women. These groups of people were later given freedom from the 13th and
19th amendments which freed slaves and gave women the right to vote. As seen
through the history of America, the right of a definition hasn’t changed it’s meaning. It
more or less changed how you express your rights and how to use them peaceably and
respectfully as seen through Colin Kaepernick's protests and Donald Trump's outlandish
remarks towards minorities and civil right minority leaders and other countries.

First off, before I get into detail with the differences human rights back then and
now, I want to explain my process of research and how I got to the point of where I am
now in understanding the change and controversy of the word. As I stated I began with
the Declaration of Independence because that was the beginning of the standard of
human rights. As stated in the​ Declaration Of Independence​, “We hold these truths to
be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
Happiness” (lines 7-10). These words from the Declaration of Independence are
necessary to bring up when talking about human rights because this gave everyone no
matter their skin color equal human rights given by god which were life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. Showing that human rights was more of a meaning of what they
are and actually getting them since slaves didn't freedom till the 13th amendment

abolished slavery and women didn’t get to vote until the 19th amendment. So the way I
moved my research from the past to the present is by using Colin Kaepernick's protest
with kneeling during the national anthem in football games to trump outrageously saying
racist things to civil rights leaders and supporting racist as well as saying he doesn’t
care about helping other countries and solving their human rights. The reason I chose
these two examples because it shows how the media helped changed the human rights
meaning by making it news for people abusing their rights and with these two examples
you can see the correct and respective way to abusing human rights by kneeling
peacefully with no offensive language toward anyone. Also, in the incorrect way with
Donald Trump being so ignorant and disrespectful by outrageously attacking the
NAACP for their beliefs calling them all talk but no action. By supporting a racist senator
candidate for Alabama as well as showing no care for help giving equal human right
opportunities to other countries. Showing that the media wants people to see the
meaning of human rights as everyone is entitled to them but must be done the
respectful way as Colin Kaepernick did.

The first piece of evidence I had gotten to show how human rights has changed
is ​The Daily Show with Trevor Noah ​and how he helps show the different sides of Colin
Kaepernick and how people support him and go against him. Evidence from the daily
show in support of Colin Kaepernick stated, “A woodrow wilson football team also
kneeled during the national anthem this weekend to...U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe
joined Kaepernick too kneeling during the anthem saying she also wants to spark up
meaningful conversation too.” This shows support of human rights has changed to
actually learning how to abuse them properly because as you see other sports like the
soccer player joined him in peacefully protesting showing how players and others would
join in peaceful for protest for something that is right and do it respectfully which attracts
attention to the issue. More evidence from the video that is against Colin Kaepernick is
when a white reporter stated, “You are an overpaid athlete. The next time some
overpaid entertainer says boo hoo, people are mean to me, because of X, Y, and Z,
laugh in their face, including this guy.” The reason this piece of evidence is against
Kaepernick because this reporter is pretty much saying Coln shouldn’t be able to
express his human rights of freedom of speech and expression because he gets paid to
play football and not voice his opinion on the political state of the country and what he
thinks is right. Now comparing both sides of this video I can see why people can be mad
that Colin is disrespecting America by kneeling during the anthem and going against
what America stands for but he did the right thing by kneeling peacefully and saying he
can’t stand for a country that oppresses people of color which may seem offensive but
he didn’t call anyone out or offend anyone which is why this shows the media changed

the meaning of human rights by showing the respectful way of protesting by not making
any offensive comments or actions towards anyone.

The final way the media has changed the meaning of human rights is through
explaining President Trump's remarks to the new civil rights museum. Also through the
way he showed no care for helping human rights issue in Saudi Arabia. Evidence from
the WGN news article states, “​The President has a contentious history with Lewis and
has caused controversy for his ​comments on race.​ Trump faced bipartisan backlash
prior to his inauguration for ​calling the civil right supporter and political official “all talk”
and “no action.”​ He was widely criticized for racially charged remarks he made in the
wake of a deadly incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, when protesters clashed over the
removal of a Confederate statue. Just the night before the opening of the Civil Rights
Museum, Trump rallied for Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, ​who
recently praised the era of US history that included slavery​ because, according to
Moore, families were stronger.” This shows the media changing the meaning of human
rights to how to use it because President Trump wanted to visit the newly opened civil
rights museum in Mississippi. He had expressed his human right of expression and
freedom of speech by talking bad on civil rights supporters and leaders has Trump said
that John Lewis, Georgia's senator, is all talk and no action as John Lewis said trump's
insults to civil rights in his speeches are very offensive and that he doesn’t deserve to
be at the opening of the museum showing that Trump uses his human right of freedom
of speech wrong as offends individuals and groups of people which is not the correct
abuse the right because people are only calling him out because he has insulted many
groups and individuals before this and supports a racist Alabama on top of his offensive
behavior causing more controversy over his his opinions. The final piece of evidence
that I have that supports the media changing the meaning of human rights to using their
rights properly and repetitively is a ​real politics video​ from democratic rep Adam Schiff
and he states, “ I was also struck by the suggestion, and I think this is a broader
element of the administration's policy, that they're going to de-emphasize issues of
human rights, that what countries do within their own boundaries, were essentially going
to look the other way.“ The reason this shows the media changed the meaning of
human rights to actively expressing them respectively and properly because Adam
Schiff points out how Trump doesn’t want to help other countries with their human rights
issues. Which shows he did use his human right of free speech peacefully but its really
blunt and offensive because he shows nothing but selfish actions towards other
countries in times of need which is wrong because America was founded equality and
helped spread equality other countries back then. Showing that he used his freedom
because he’s changing what America stands for which offends others like Adam Schiff

because the right thing to do is to help and keep Americas tradition and not steering
away from helping countries out.

In conclusion, people now know how human rights has changed over time. As
back then in creation of declaration of the independence where it was more gaining their
rights as slaves and women had fought too and as to now it changed to becoming using
your rights respectively without harming or offending anyone. This change shows the
actual definition of human rights hasn’t changed as a justifiable right that everyone has
but that how people use them changes as people all have them but they have to use
them in a respective manner as Colin Kaepernick did and unlike Trump did. How the
human rights impacts its audience which the citizens is that people feel that if a person
stands for something respectively and is for the common good of the people not just
one group of people or individuals then the message of the way they used their human
rights is correct as it is unselfish and makes America a better place to where everyone
can express their human rights freely and effectively.

Works Cited

“The Declaration of Independence: Full Text.” ​​, Independence Hall

Association, ​​.

Organization. “Colin Kaepernick's National Anthem Protest - The Daily Show with

Trevor Noah.” ​Comedy Central​,


Posted By Tim Hains On Date May 21, 2017. “Dem Rep. Adam Schiff: Trump Making

‘Historic Mistake’ By Ignoring Saudi Human Rights Record.” ​Video | RealClearPolitics​,


“Civil Rights and Community Leaders: Trump Doesn't Deserve to Attend Museum

Opening.” ​WGN-TV​, 9 Dec. 2017,