Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Civil Rights Era: Was it Really A Movement?

Usually in my history class, The Civil Rights Movement, I am completely captivated by the catching phrases and bold views of my professor. Yes, I always have my own opinion, yet I have not felt compelled to argue a specific point, at least not until September 29, 2010. We discussed "Attacking Jim Crow in the Courts." The most shocking thing that was said, in my opinion, was the fact that the NAACP is always fighting to pass laws for legal sanction. Of course it was imperative during that time that laws be passed, changed, eliminated; however, I completely disagree with the view that, "as long as segregation has the blessing of legal sanction, we're done." This mindset is the reason why the supposed effects of the Civil Rights Movement did not "stick" to begin with.

When people think of the Civil Rights Movement, they usually refer to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, the right to vote, "Free at last," etc. when the harsh reality of the matter is that African Americans never actually gained the respect or complete freedom that is embodied by the first amendment to the constituion today. The problem is that a rally would happen, a sit-in would take place, a small change would occur after the fact in order to control for negative media imagery, and the African American community would consider this a victory. Why a victory? Why believe that we are living in a post-segregationist America when it is evident that schools were never completely de-segregated to begin with? If this problem had honestly been solved, then there wouldn't be such a huge debate in North Carolina in 21st century America about the re-segregation of schools. Yes, it has ALWAYS BEEN about unequal resources...nothing has evolved; it has merely simmered down, so to speak.

Professor McKinney posed this question to the class: "Is segregation inherently unequal?" After pondering on the question for several hours, and hearing the lack of justification behind an instance in which two schools are considered unequal solely on the grounds of segregation, I feel compelled to respond, "No, segregation is not inherently unequal." At least, it SHOULD NOT be considered as such. Things can be segregated and still have the same worth. Now, the value or worth of these things does depend on the mindset of each individual person or instituion. In essence, the main target of the Civil Rights Movement should have been to address and influence the corrupted minds of white supremacists, to find and develop community organizers who would not end their mission with the supposed emergence of "freedom" for African Americans, but who would continue to spread the works of the movement throughout several generations. The point of having a movement should be, primarily, to foster a sense of hope within the projected group of people, and discover leaders who will be willing to keep the ball rolling. I think that the ball has completely deflated...

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