African American Civil Rights: The Sixties, Obama, and the Road Ahead
When you think of the United States, you think of the phrase "land of the free." Americans should all have equal rights, no matter what their race. Whether Americans are Black, White, Asian, or Hispanic, race should not determine the amount of rights you receive. Although America has evolved and made progress, most of the African Americans living in this country are still being treated poorly.
Today, African Americans are able to do all the things they were not allowed to do back in the 1960s and is equal to that of whites. This is the way the United States should stay and the way it should have always been. The current status of civil rights for African Americans is vastly different from what it used to be. In the 1960s, African Americans were not allowed to use the same facilities as white people, were not given the right to vote, and were slaves. In Raymond Arsenault's Freedom Riders, he states "that racial segregation on trains, buses, and in public waiting rooms must end," (2011, p. 184). It is not fair that the reason African Americans are treated so unjustly is because of the color of their skin. The services and facilities that was retained specifically for African Americans were always of lower quality than retained for Whites.
African Americans deal with oppression in a variety of ways due to the unfortunate conditions they have faced. For example, In Three Ways of Oppression, Martin Luther King says people who are abused face it three contrasting ways, "One way is acquiescence: the oppressed resign themselves to their doom. The second way that oppressed people sometimes deal with oppression is to resort to physical violence and corroding hatred. The third way open to oppressed people in their quest for freedom is the way of nonviolent resistance." (1958, p. 1,2). As African Americans continue to bear hardships of being denied their freedom, they start to give up, and this is where the first way oppressed people deal with abuse. An alternative second way the oppressed might lean towards is extreme force and violence because people believe violence is the answer to every problem. In reality, it makes the matters worse and creates even more friction between the conflicting sides. Another way the oppressed go is that of nonviolence. If Americans want peace, it won't be found anywhere near the category of violence and extreme hate. Is this really the way America wants American citizens to be treated?
Many believe the United States has come a long way in civil rights for African Americans and that it is safe to say America is more advanced now than it was once before. Although America has made progress, we live in a country where Blacks are still treated immorally. The majority of the people in prison are people of color and this does not happen to be a coincidence. For instance, in The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander states, "The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African-Americans during the past thirty years." (2010, p. 2). Most the of prisons and jails in America are filled with people of color, while only a small percentage are Whites.
The most effective strategies in achieving those goals for African Americans include allowing all races civil rights equivalent to one another. If America would be to not allow any type of racism, the dispute of what race is superior to the other would not exist and this would ensure equality for everyone. The reason for the lack of civil rights is due to the racial segregation in America. Citizens of the United States should be more open to various ethnic backgrounds so no racial discrimination would occur. The government should implement laws and policies that will help African Americans and not cast a shadow of discrimination over them. The injustice that African Americans have...
References: Alexander, M., (2010, March 9). The New Jim Crow. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press, 2010.
Arsenault,R., (2011). Introduction. In Freedom riders. (pp. 3-12). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
King, M.L., Jr. (1958). Three ways of meeting oppression. In M. Connely (Ed.). The sundance reader. (pp. 375-378). Boston: Wadsworth, 2009.
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