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Civil Rights Movement: Legacy

 
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2010 05:21 pm
I just toured a new museum devoted to memories of the Civil Rights Movement. The museum contained a "walk of shame" filled with fractured images of people being hung, burned, and mutilated. Afterwards, my friend and I discussed it and she made a wise comment: whatever we think about it, it will change and evolve over time. We're only seeing what the museum looks like today.

I was a tad disappointed that there was no plaque for Marcus Aurelius in a museum with "civil rights" in its title. No picture of Thoreau. No Lyndon Johnson. And I thought they could have explained a little more about the global dimensions of what happened at Little Rock.

Coincidentally, I'd heard an NPR program earlier about the upcoming choice for the next Supreme Court judge. One of the commentators jokingly apologized for even mentioning the white males on the list.

But anyway. Any thoughts on the long term legacy of the Civil Rights Movement? How will the next generation and those to come think about it?
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melonkali
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 03:59 pm
@Arjuna,
I lived in Alabama before and during the Civil Rights Movement -- and later studied under a college prof who was a close associate of Dr. King. Essentially his opinion, and I would agree, was that the Civil Rights Movement ended the horrific Jim Crow era, especially in the South, but failed miserably nationally and especially in large urban areas (for example, Chicago).

One mistake (in hindsight) seemed to be isolating the black population into ghettos instead of truly integrating blacks and whites in the same geographic areas. Busing children to different schools only worsened the problem. As a general rule, schools have "black" cliques and "white" cliques, and they don't mix.

We have now essentially created two separate cultures, black and white. And unfortunately, we continue to foster an outdated "sense of entitlement" in the black community. including "affirmative action quotas". When I was a younger mother, my best friend was black -- she was are better situated, both socially and economically, than I -- yet her children had to score only "26" on a standardized test to receive the same scholarship my children had to score a "32" to receive. Why?? Her kids were every bit as intelligent and well educated as mine -- they even attended the same school.

Considering the harsh economic conditions in this country for all, IMO we need a completely level playing field now. Racism IS growing again in the white community -- primarily because of the perception of unfair, outdated advantages being given to blacks, and the perception of a continuing black "sense of entitlement".

At least, that's my perception. What do others think?

rebecca
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 04:05 pm
@melonkali,
melonkali;158092 wrote:


Considering the harsh economic conditions in this country for all, IMO we need a completely level playing field now. Racism IS growing again in the white community -- primarily because of the perception of unfair, outdated advantages being given to blacks, and the perception of a continuing black "sense of entitlement".

At least, that's my perception. What do others think?

rebecca


Hmm. Have you expressed this prevailing racism you perceive to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the many other black people in government in this country who have been elected by all the racists in this country? You appear to think that your perception is reality. Facts are frightening when they conflict with a cherished theory, aren't they? Well, you can always ignore them.
melonkali
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 05:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;158094 wrote:
Hmm. Have you expressed this prevailing racism you perceive to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the many other black people in government in this country who have been elected by all the racists in this country? You appear to think that your perception is reality. Facts are frightening when they conflict with a cherished theory, aren't they? Well, you can always ignore them.


Seems to me we're talking apples and oranges here: TWO exceptionally bright high-ranking officials in a nation of millions of "average joes" -- the situation for the average guy/gal on the streets is a very different one. You as a non-American may not realize this disparity. Even in the presidential campaign, Obama had to fight racism and had to concede about 30% of the white vote, according to analysts, simply due to the issue of race. This was countered by a near consensus black vote which combined with the votes of liberals and the anti-Bush backlash against Republicans contributing to his victory. No small effect must be attributed to the Sarah Palin fiasco. A stupid and inexperienced politician, she was loosed to inuendo that Obama was a black supremecist, an Arab terrorist, a Socialist (and Communist), and that he intended harm to the nation. This campaign strategy, thank god, was a failure in winning votes although it contributed to increased divisiveness and animosity between the right and the left.

Recently, in Nashville, there was a Tea Party rally. If you don't know, these are people who radically oppose the Health Care amendment--and most other things Obama is trying to achieve. They're like Republican Storm Troopers, saying and doing things the Republicans support but dare not undertake. After the rally, an old man driving an SUV intentionally rammed a vehicle with a six year old passenger who was terrified. He rammed the vehicle again and again until he ran them off the road. Why? Because the vehicle had an Obama for president bumper sticker on it.

Do not doubt it. Racism is rampant in the white, fundamentalist, Republican community, but the political environment does not permit its open expression. The result is a highly partisan tinderbox of political contention and obstructionism. And the black and white communities in most of our cities and counties, though improved from the days of Jim Crow, remain still in hostile regards to each other.

Try to get a job with your local or state government, and examine the hiring qualifications: in this state there are definitely "quotas" --the most qualified applicant does NOT necessarily get the job. 49/50 U.S. states are "hire at will" or "fire at will" -- any employee can be fired without just cause -- UNLESS the employee claims discrimination based on race or gender -- "creed", while also included in the constitutional law, is generally a legal "non-starter" (per my understanding).

And back to my original post, why did my children have to score 6 points higher on a standardized scholarship test compared with other children who had even, if not greater, advantages? How was that fair? BTW: my kids did make the necessary score, but what about all the others who didn't? Did their parents, unable to afford college without financial aid, not have cause for resentment? Is college only for poor blacks and rich whites?

rebecca
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 05:53 pm
@melonkali,
melonkali;158112 wrote:
Seems to me we're talking apples and oranges here: TWO exceptionally bright high-ranking officials in a nation of millions of "average joes" --
rebecca


Them, but not just them. My own state has an (incompetent) black man as its governor. He is already the subject of two criminal investigations, and has said he will no not run again. Those inconvenient facts!
0 Replies
 
Jebediah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 05:54 pm
@Arjuna,
I agree with your point that, whether they are right or not, things like affirmative action are fueling racial ill will.

I don't know about your assessment of racism in the country though. You have Obama as an exception, but use the SUV driver to suggest a lot. I'm not sure what analysts had him losing 30% of the white vote due to race either.

I don't think you can conclude that racism is growing without a statistical comparison to previous decades.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 05:56 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;158116 wrote:
I agree with your point that, whether they are right or not, things like affirmative action are fueling racial ill will.

I don't know about your assessment of racism in the country though. You have Obama as an exception, but use the SUV driver to suggest a lot. I'm not sure what analysts had him losing 30% of the white vote due to race either.

I don't think you can conclude that racism is growing without a statistical comparison to previous decades.


Who needs facts when you have a theory that pleases you?
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 06:08 pm
@Arjuna,
there are definitely two separate cultures in america-two main ones, and a lot of splinter groups growing as a result of isolation of immigrants. india is the same-so proud of its diversity but still perpetuating violence and distrust, no room for any understanding or tolerance.

hard to comment sensibly on this-seems to be a part of human nature that will never get any better. groups always form and want to exclude someone else. seems to me to be the root of all the problems; we cant stop fighting even when the world economy is in danger and the ecology is threatened. still dividing into camps and trying to put the blame on someone else.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 06:11 pm
@salima,
salima;158123 wrote:
there are definitely two separate cultures in america-two main ones, .


Which cultures are those?
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 06:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;158125 wrote:
Which cultures are those?


i guess i oversimplified. people ask me here in india what american people are like-what are their customs, preferences, etc-and i always find that there are two answers-for instance, do americans like spicy hot food? do americans go to church and pray? and from my own experience i see that though segregation is ended, black people and white people are still very separated and isolated. so i see a black america and a white america. some of their dreams and desires overlap of course.

but by saying that they are distinct doesnt mean there is a problem-the problem comes when there is no exposure or understanding between them.

for instance, i lived next door to an italian family. the man used to come to our house and talk to my husband every evening, and i didnt pay much attention because he had such a heavy accent i really couldnt make out much of what he was saying. but after a lot of time passed-maybe about a year or more-suddenly one day all the words stuck out and were clear as a bell, and i then only understood what kind of man he was. he told us that though he had lived in america for 25 years, we were his first american friends. believe me-it was not his fault, he certainly put a lot of time and effort in trying to befriend us. but he had been isolated all that time.

i realize you can separate people in a lot of different ways-you can divide the world into political ideologies or philosophical beliefs or religions or races or food preferences or sports skills. but since the subject was the civil rights movement, i answered in that line of thinking. the world has so many lines dividing it.

the history of what has happened between black people and white people in america is difficult to overcome-and it should not be forgotten. just as the history between the original colonists who became the america of today and the true indigenous americans. in addition to that, we have other communities that spring up where people tend to segregate themselves because they have left all that is familiar to them and need something to hold on to, who are being pressurized to assimilate themselves immediately.

what do you think kenneth? you have more history in america than even i do...and probably more social experience.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 06:51 pm
@salima,
salima;158138 wrote:

what do you think kenneth? you have more history in america than even i do...and probably more social experience.


About what, exactly?
salima
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 07:04 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;158140 wrote:
About what, exactly?


has your experience been the same as mine as far as the isolation of different groups in america by race and nationality? or do you have a different read on it?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Apr, 2010 07:10 pm
@salima,
salima;158149 wrote:
has your experience been the same as mine as far as the isolation of different groups in america by race and nationality? or do you have a different read on it?


If you mean blacks and whites, it used to be so. It is no longer.
0 Replies
 
SammDickens
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 05:06 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;158116 wrote:
I agree with your point that, whether they are right or not, things like affirmative action are fueling racial ill will.

I don't know about your assessment of racism in the country though. You have Obama as an exception, but use the SUV driver to suggest a lot. I'm not sure what analysts had him losing 30% of the white vote due to race either.

I don't think you can conclude that racism is growing without a statistical comparison to previous decades.


The CNN election analysts mentioned it a time or two in the early months of Spring 2008, that about 30% of white Americans would not vote for a black man for president, a statement of political fact. The Obama campaign was run exceptionally well and Obama is an exceptional man, period (IMHO). After Bush, our nation was the most hated nation in the world, and our economy was in ruins. My dog could have defeated anyone associated with Bush! Obama was far better a candidate than he had to be, but the contest was a little close because the Republicans used dirty tactics based on Obama's race, name, heritage, and incidental acquaintances.

The Tea Party appears to be a political movement, but do not be blind to its racial undertones. It is not an old south racism that sees black people as inferior beings; it has retreated to a subtler form of intolerance, a hostility toward quotas and a defacto segregation in segregated schools. Poor white people are seen as defective failures; poor black people are seen as the racial norm. Both views are wrong, but the view of blacks suggests a deeply ingrained bigotry. Don't believe that racism is gone when it has only changed its clothing from that of the wolf to that of the butcher. The lambs are still in trouble.

We're certainly better off today than before 1950, much better, but racism is widespread in human culture, appearing today in immigration hostility, the fear of Arabs, continued anti-semitism. We've yet a long way to go. As the poet said...promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep.

Samm

---------- Post added 04-30-2010 at 06:12 PM ----------

kennethamy;158118 wrote:
Who needs facts when you have a theory that pleases you?


It's an interesting concept, amy, but what theory in particular is so pleasing to you that you need no facts? The list would appear endless. :bigsmile:

Samm
Jebediah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 06:01 pm
@SammDickens,
Samm;158571 wrote:
The CNN election analysts mentioned it a time or two in the early months of Spring 2008, that about 30% of white Americans would not vote for a black man for president, a statement of political fact.


From wiki :

wikipedia wrote:


Samm wrote:
The Tea Party appears to be a political movement, but do not be blind to its racial undertones. It is not an old south racism that sees black people as inferior beings; it has retreated to a subtler form of intolerance, a hostility toward quotas and a defacto segregation in segregated schools.
When you have a group willing to protest, the extremists always come out to vent. Why do you say "subtler form of intolerance"? Isn't it a more tolerant from of intolerance?

Quote:
We're certainly better off today than before 1950, much better, but racism is widespread in human culture, appearing today in immigration hostility, the fear of Arabs, continued anti-semitism. We've yet a long way to go. As the poet said...promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep.

Samm
It seems easy to overestimate these things though, since non racist people can be against immigration, arabic culture, and Israel. This is where careful statistical study is invaluable.


0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 01:50 am
@Arjuna,
it hardly matters whether or not they are racial issues, does it? the majority of people are intolerant-a part of the nature of the beast. if they are not intolerant of other races they are intolerant of other religions or other cultures or nations, or the opposite sex or the variations in sexuality or old people or young people, or tall people or fat people, the list is endless.

i dont think we can change human nature-we cant stop intolerance or even hatred. but we can at least try to stop the killing (i am referring to the use of legislation). i think we are trying (we as collective humanity) but we tend to try and stop other people from killing us rather than us killing them. paranoia runs deep and rampant.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 03:17 am
@SammDickens,
Samm;158571 wrote:



It's an interesting concept, amy, but what theory in particular is so pleasing to you that you need no facts? The list would appear endless. :bigsmile:

Samm


That America is a racist country, and that the Tea Party movement is racist (in some subtle way) were two theories I had in mind. But those are not theories that please me. I think they are simply false. However, I think that some would like them to be true since they already fit in with an overall view about America and the world they believe is true. Of course, "racism" is a word of derogation. In fact, most people prefer being with their own kind, and tend to look down on those who are not of their own kind. Like it or not, it is an instinctual and deeply ingrained trait of humanity in general.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 03:28 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;158756 wrote:
That America is a racist country, and that the Tea Party movement is racist (in some subtle way) were two theories I had in mind. But those are not theories that please me. I think they are simply false. However, I think that some would like them to be true since they already fit in with an overall view about America and the world they believe is true. Of course, "racism" is a word of derogation. In fact, most people prefer being with their own kind, and tend to look down on those who are not of their own kind. Like it or not, it is an instinctual and deeply ingrained trait of humanity in general.


The same thing is true with prejudice.
Of course we have prejudice, it's probably a survival mechanism. Once you've been chased by a Lion, why shouldn't you think the next one you run into will probably do the same.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 03:32 am
@wayne,
wayne;158759 wrote:
The same thing is true with prejudice.
Of course we have prejudice, it's probably a survival mechanism. Once you've been chased by a Lion, why shouldn't you think the next one you run into will probably do the same.


Jesse Jackson himself admitted that he gets nervous when he is alone at night and he finds himself suddenly alone with a some young black men.

Of course, what you describe as prejudice is exactly not prejudice. Just think about it. You have a lot of reason to be scared of lions, so how can it be prejudice against lions?
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 09:40 pm
@Arjuna,
Of course many countries have these kinds of ethnic, cultural and religious divisions. American in fact in many ways is unique in its historical absorption of many different races and religions. There are certainly instances of racial and religious intolerance and acts of violence but overall we are a nation of laws and the laws no longer institutionalize discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sex.

Have we completely overcome our legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and virtual extermination of the indigenous Native American peoples? No, and it is unlikely we ever will completely.

Are there still barriers to equal opportunity for all. Yes there are many economic, social and cultural barriers but few legal barriers. We have or have had an African American president, Supreme Court justice, two secretaries of state, and chairman of the Joint Chief of the armed forces. There is also great success for African Americans in entertainment, movies, sports, TV and other areas. It is hard to argue that there are insurmountable social or legal barriers to success in the US for any racial, religious or ethnic group.

Do we still need quotas, forced integration and affirmative action programs? Some would argue that such programs now do more harm than good. Even many in the African American community argue against such programs for it cheapens their accomplishments.
The Supreme Court has now struck down virtually all quotas and numerical goals although institutions are still allowed to consider the value of diversity in their student bodies and work forces.

Is the major problem for African Americans continued subtle institutional racism? I would argue not. The most successful group (at least in the American educational system) are Asian Americans (not white Caucasians). Surprisingly even first generation Asians outperform multigenerational Hispanics and African Americans. The major problem now lies within families, local communities, and schools. The argument that African Americans now perform poorly in schools, in our economic system, in our political system and in our society in general because of continuing racism now rings hollow. The best indicator of educational attainment is the influence of parents and the importance attached to it within the family not your race and not your religion. Education remains the best ladder to success in our society. You can provide opportunity but you can not force motivation or hard work those factors lie within individuals, their families and their neighborhoods not governments.

There remains more opportunity for advancement and social mobility in American society than in most other countries and societies. We can keep beating ourselves for past sins and attributing our failings to factors other than our own fault but the better solution is to buckle down and go to work. Give me the best and brightest of any country any race any religion and welcome them to American still the land of opportunity and of freedom.

There is no insurmountable barrier to success for any racial, ethnic or religous group in American society. Things are of course not all equal and not all fair, neither government nor nature can make them that way. There is however opportunity for all assuming one is willing to strive. The best government can provide is equal opportunity under the law not equal results.
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