Civil Rights


Civil Rights

Civil rights in the United States have a rather interesting history, but it is a story about our society’s future.  In the 1960’s, the Civil Right Act was passed.  The American Congress made it possible for these laws to be implemented that would have far-reaching effects.  Through this act it was possible to inspect voter registration rolls, prohibit discrimination on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.  It ensured there was equity in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.  Gwendolyn Brooks (19172000), a national poet wrote, “When you use the term minority or minorities in reference to people, you’re telling them that they’re less than somebody else.”  In the world’s faiths love is the greatest virtue, and there should be no distinction with the races of humankind. 

 The Civil Rights Movement’s (1955–1968) aim was to abolish discrimination.  Its success saw greater sensitivities with diversified TV images, church groups, protestors, and sympathizers.  Viewers had witnessed the brutality of sit-ins, freedom riders, marches, and clashes with the National Guard.  The Black Power Movement (1968–1980) revolted against stereotypes, and instilled racial dignity by advocating economic and political parity.  In the late 1960s was instituted the 11-member Kerner Commission appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to make recommendations concerning the riots in American cities.  A national Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders investigated the cause of this unrest.  How could future occurrences be stopped?  What was media’s role in the unrest? And how well were blacks served in society?  The Kerner Commission found that the media failed in its mission to the black community.  It was believed that America was moving towards two separate and unequal societies - one white, and the other black.  The media did not report the underlying problems that led to the riots.  There was a predominance of white images on TV to the detriment of Blacks.  Issues of black culture, history, and activities were ignored.

 American Diversity

Americans share a common destiny.  Ron Kind (b. 1963), U.S. Representative for Wisconsin said, “For as long as the power of America’s diversity is diminished by acts of discrimination and violence against people just because they are black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim or gay, we still must overcome.”  Since then, America has made some progress.  The American culture presently shows black visibility with a voice in government, business, and national affairs.  When an African American President Barack Obama was elected to the White House there was hope.  However, blacks are still portrayed disproportionally to whites as perpetrators of drug and criminal offenses.  Black leaders often criticize government and the media for this failure by pointing out police brutality against minorities.

In 1977 by the United States Commission for the Study of Civil Rights showed Blacks have passed the stage of being seen as “window dressing.” But women and minorities still have a way to go to be equal to white males in America.  Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), the preeminent leader of Indian Independence Movement in British-ruled India wrote, “You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”  World faiths continue to promote the equality of all people.  America’s future depends on the gifts of every ethnic group.


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