Our Civil Rights
Racism has plagued the United States for centuries and no matter how many scholars study why racism has become the cornerstone of destruction in our country, no one can seem to understand why racism prevails. We have studied the effects of classism and socialism and even still, when two people both black and white, grow up on the same block in the same socio-economic class, white men still makes more money than their black counterparts. The only explanation that one can possibly give to this scenario is pure racism. Racism is embedded in our politics, courts and legislature and is the fuel to the fire.
This may be exactly why our civil rights are in jeopardy. The men and women responsible for our legislature are racist themselves. There were constructs and amendments put in place in our constitution to protect us from racism, injustice and inequality. Yet, generation after generation, our government finds loopholes to send us back to the pre-Civil Rights era. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion and sex for employment purposes. But black men are gunned down for senseless reasons purely based on racial bias, minorities are singled-out for travel bans and now Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans from entering our country. Dreamers are at risk because of their national origin and that of their parents. Realistically, we only know they are Dreamers by judging the color of their skin, the measure of their accent and the look of their face, which is a violation of Title VII.
Many believe our civil rights are in danger because there are more people who want to keep this country white than those who don’t. It’s not a secret that America is becoming more brown and the sad thing is there is a lack of representation. There is an article by TIME that suggests the reason why Jim Crow laws were enacted is because white people didn’t care and allowed the laws to pass. This shows that the people do have power over our corrupt political system, but the politics keep the people from having power. This is why the Voter Registration Act of 1965 is considered to be the most effective movement of the Civil Rights era. By suppressing people to vote, we the people do not possess enough power to influence and change our justice system. This is why many believe that forcing people to have IDs to vote is a violation of this act. Misleading information, purging poll rosters, lack of central locations, not counting mailed ballots and many other reasons are holding back the people from voting which is a crisis in legal reform.
There is no doubt that housing and zoning areas are affected by racism. Where you live is impacted by the resources available to you as well as the school district your children will attend. People in the mortgage industry keep segregation alive by moving black people into poverty and white people to the suburbs by gentrification. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 states that you cannot discriminate on the basis of Title VII when it comes to renting, selling and financing homes. There are studies today that suggest blacks receive higher interest rates on their mortgage loans than white people making it that much more difficult to move into more decent areas.
These violations are not because of the laws. The laws were put in place to protect us. But it’s the people responsible for enforcing our laws that keep racism alive. Take a look at our congress and courts. The average tenure for the house of representatives is about 10 years according to CNN. We don’t even allow our Presidents to serve longer than 8 years. Most of our federal judges are over 80 years of age. This means most of them were born in the 30’s and experienced the most racial times our country has experienced. We cannot be naïve to think that they were not influenced by racism and how it affects the way they carry out the law. We also cannot forget that the runaway slave patrol became our current day police force. Simply put, it is our own people who continue to keep racism alive.
Trump has let us know how he feels about blacks based on the color of their skin; they are ignorant, grow up in poverty and have nothing to lose. He let us know how he feels about Mexicans; they are dangerous and should be in jail and banned from entering the US. He also let us know how he feels about all minorities; make America great again. Like many journalists have pointed out, when was America ever great? Does this mean he wants us to go back to a time when our civil rights did not exist? His administration is pulling apart our laws and finding ways to abandon them. Affirmative action is being attacked as we speak. They want to do away with it as it appears to be racist in itself, but we fail to realize that if we take it away, people’s individual biases will take over and segregation will ensue all over again.
We, the people cannot allow these things to take place and threaten our civil rights. We must take a stand and exercise our right to vote. As much as Trump does hate the media, the one positive thing it is doing is highlighting racism. People can no longer claim ignorance as to what is going on. Let’s not go back to the 1950’s when racism was blatantly looked over. Let’s instead continue to talk about it and encourage others to not judge by the color of our skin, but by our character. I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would think today as the laws he shed his blood over are being dismantled more and more with each piece of corrupt policies.