Monday, July 13, 2009

From the People: Has the Civil Rights agenda been completed?

I've decided to try something a little different. Since I am trying to get back into the habit of writing consistently but face writers block quite often, I've requested input from my tweeple as far as what topics to write about.

Tonight's topic is from my lovely Soror @BlueDeucex2 who writes:

@KittyPurrfecta Do you think that the civil rights agenda has been completed now that we have a black man as president? If not, what's next?

Loaded first topic (and I'm really no politico), but I'm always up for a challenge!

First, we have to determine just what exactly the Civil Rights agenda was. While I am not aware of an official list of goals for the Civil Rights Movement, I do know that it was a fight for desegregation and equality in all aspects of life. While we do have these things mandated by law today as well as a black man as POTUS, I do not believe the civil rights agenda has truly been completed.

Let's look at some of the facts. Blacks make up about half of the population of all of the US prisons, while only comprising 13% of the total population. Of those in jail, the majority are in jail on drug charges, even though studies have shown that whites are more likely to do drugs than blacks. On top of that, police have even admitted to targeting black and minority areas, especially when enforcing drug laws.

As far as education, black are graduating from high school at a sad rate of only 50%. Out of those that go on to college, even less--only approximately 43%--graduate. And while we all know that a college education does not guarantee success financially or career-wise, a lack of a degree could be a setback in many areas and possibly a barrier to advancement.

Add to these the facts that:
* segregation and discrimination are still happening, even where there is no written policy to do so
* blacks and minorities still economic disadvantages in disproportionate numbers to whites
* blacks are still less likely to receive a fair trial or fair treatment by the criminal justice system

We see that there is still much work that needs to be done by way of the civil rights agenda. Yes, the nomination and election of the nation's first black president is a MAJOR step forward. However, this in no way means "we have arrived."

So what's next? Well, if it were up to me, I'd make the next step a two-fold move.
First, we need to turn inward and help ourselves. Let folks know what their rights are and how to recognize when those rights are being violated. Stress the importance of education versus the criminal lifestyle. Assist black entrepreneurs with starting, growing and effectively running a business. Support black businesses. Encourage those in our communities to vote not only in presidential elections, but those that affect us most: mayor, governor, senators, etc.
Secondly, we need to actively defend against any show of discrimination or act of prejudice. There should be devoted watch dog groups to ensure that the court system treats black defendants in the same manner as white defendants and to help victims of discrimination seek justice. (Of course, one could say that's what the NAACP is for, but that's another argument for another night; I just don't have it in me right now...)

Now, let the discussion begin!!

So what do YOU want me to talk about? Let me know! Just hit me up on Twitter ( or email me (go to my profile and hit the link).

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