Kimberly Stevens LAW 420 Summer B 2010 MTWR 4:10-5:50 Due Date: August 16, 2010 Racial Discrimination in America Abstract The framers that wrote the Declaration of Independence intended for this country to be founded on the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To an extent, this has been true, but our country still has a long way to go. Unless American society chooses to change their mindset and their way of thinking, then this country will never advance and there will continue to be racial discrimination in every aspect of our daily lives.
The very existence of a race other than white mocked the validity of a government that guaranteed liberty and justice for the nation’s people (Hurmence, 1984). The words racial discrimination used to be associated with African Americans, but after the influx of Mexican immigrants across U. S. boarders and the September 11th attacks, racial discrimination can no longer be associated with only African Americans. The disgraceful history of racial discrimination in America has been ongoing for over five hundred years (Racial Discrimination in the Workplace, 2006-2010, Race Discrimination in the Workplace, para. ). Now in the twenty-first century the disease of racism still saturates all aspects of society, including employment (Racial Discrimination in the Workplace, 2006-2010, Race Discrimination in the Workplace, para. 2). For many years and under the legislation of many U. S. Presidents, human beings whose skin color was other than white were considered property. The Declaration of Independence states: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Racial Discrimination in the Workplace, 2006-2010, Race Discrimination in the Workplace, para. 1) These key words in the Declaration of Independence should have given every person equal rights regardless of their skin color. Unfortunately, the only truth that has been and is self-evident is all men are not treated equally (Racial Discrimination in the Workplace, 2006-2010, Race Discrimination in the Workplace, para. 1).
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Even as the framers were writing those words, many of them had men, women, and children in chains back at the plantation (Racial Discrimination in the Workplace, 2006-2010, Race Discrimination in the Workplace, para. 1). When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865 and when “the 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868, this was supposed to be a means of ensuring that black Americans would be granted a full slate of rights in the era after slavery” (Bai, 2010).
It would be many years, if ever, before African Americans would truly be treated as American citizens. The “equal protection” clause in the 14th Amendment has been used to strengthen and broaden civil rights all over the country, especially in the south (Reader’s Digest, 1971). To a degree this statement is true, but the south especially has a long way to go in the area of racial discrimination. In this day and age the Mexicans and Muslims are now being treated as African Americans once were, and in retrospect still are. Mexicans have been crossing the U. S. oarders, both legally and illegally, for years. Whether Mexican’s are legal or not, they are all stereotyped as being illegal immigrants. The anti-Mexican immigrant sentiment has caused much controversy. Critics of immigration policy have said that the 14th Amendment now has the effect of encouraging Latino immigrants to slip across the border and have children who are not entitled to the opportunities of citizenship (Bai, 2010). The state of Arizona is even trying to make it legal to detain any individuals if it is thought that they may be illegally in the U. S.
With Arizona’s new law, this would call for police officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and require immigrants to prove that they were authorized to be in the country or risk state charges (Archibold, 2010). The judge that ruled to ban this new law stated: “There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens. ” “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose,??’a distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose” (Archibold, 2010, p.
A1). This could lead to the harassment of citizens and legal immigrants (Archibold, 2010). This could also show evidence that our country has backslid in an era when it should be moving forward. The September 11, 2001, horrific terrorist’s attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon left every Muslim to blame for these attacks. Even though it was only a few people out of this entire race that contributed to these attacks, all Muslims were held accountable in more ways than one.
Since these attacks, they have become the target of numerous racial attacks and forms of racial discrimination. They have become the target of public resentment in America. It has become normal to associate every Muslim person with those who were responsible for the September 11th attacks. Not all Muslims or individuals, who practice Islam, are responsible for the September 11th attacks. The resentment towards Muslims has filtered over into the workplace. Those with Muslim names are immediately turned down for jobs without ever partaking in the interview process.
This practice goes beyond stereotyping. To blatantly disregard someone’s application because of a name is certainly racial discrimination, and it relates back to the resentment created by the September 11th attacks. Employment discrimination laws have been enacted to protect against Racial Discrimination in the United States; one such law is under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Washington ; Ernster, LLC, 2006, para. 1). The provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing (The U.
S. National Archives and Records Administration, Background, para. 2). Title VII, the employment section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race and color as well as national origin, sex, or religion (The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2008, Introduction, para. 1). Title VII is the most important piece of legislation that has helped to define our countries employment rights and laws.
There are many different forms of racial discrimination in the aspect of employment: hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions, recruitment, job advertising, benefits, etc. Without these laws and provisions, our country would be in the same state it was hundreds of years ago. The long battle against racial discrimination is far from over. Many wonder if it will ever be over, or if this will become a part of our ongoing history, like it has been for so many years. Many laws and provisions were put into effect to help further advance this country and its society.
However, it is hard to change the behavior of a nation that has been acting so poorly for so long. This behavior is probably not what our founding fathers had in mind when they set out to create this nation. If our nation can change the way it has been thinking for so many years, then there might still be hope after all. Racial discrimination has been around for so many years, and it is hard to be sure whether it will ever disappear. References Archibold, R. C. (2010, July 29). Judge Blocks Arizona’s Immigration Law. New York Times , p. A1. Bai, M. 2010, August 8). I’m American. And You? . New York Times , p. WK1. Hurmence, B. (1984). My Folks Don’t Want Me To Talk About Slavery. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair. Racial Discriminaiton in the Workplace. (2006-2010). Retrieved August 14, 2010, from You-Can-Learn-Basic-Employee-Rights. com: http://www. you-can-learn-basic-employee-rights. com/racial-discrimination. html Reader’s Digest. (1971). You and the Law. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2008, September 8). Facts About Race/Color Discrimination.
Retrieved August 14, 2010, from U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: http://www. eeoc. gov/facts/fs-race. html The U. S. National Archives and Records Administration . (n. d. ). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved August 15, 2010, from The National Archives: http://www. archives. gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/ Washington & Ernster, LLC. (2006). Racial Discrimination. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from Washington & Ernster: http://www. civiljusticecenter. com/Racial-Discrimination/