I was asked to write a paper for my Multicultural Advancement Scholarship, and I felt like I needed to share what I wrote. The following is how I feel about civil rights organizations in today’s society and if there is still a need for them:
The inequality of civil rights has been an issue in this country for as long as there have been people who have claimed it as their own. There was a time when people had no rights and they were taken from their homes and coerced into slave labor. In the 1860’s The country had gotten to a point where freeing the slaves was one of the only options to keep it together. Even as the slaves had been “Freed” the people who were once slaves never had true equality. In the 1950’s people saw this inequality and decided to take a stand for true freedom. This Civil Rights movement laid the groundwork for today’s equal society.
This is what I believed in when I graduated high school. Since coming to college I have seen that there is a whole lot more to the term “Civil Rights” than I thought. I believed that when the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed and put into effect, there was equality. I have since realized the falsehood in my original beliefs. There is still a Civil rights inequality not only for African Americans, but a whole plethora of people. People from Native Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish Americans, Islamic Americans, Arab Americans, Lesbian and Gay Americans, People who face mental health issues, even women and many more groups of people still do not have equal rights that they deserve. People are not free in today’s America and until everyone can be treated with complete fairness and equality there will be a need for civil rights organizations.
Civil rights organizations are important to the education of the people. Without civil rights organizations like Black Lives Matter and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition I would not know some of the issues that people actually face in this country. With the way that the news networks talk about what this country is facing there is almost a taboo when it comes to talking about inequality among this country’s people. I look at the websites for some of these organizations and I see issues that as a privileged American I would never have to think about. I see articles about how people are tired of being apologetically black, and there is a
problem that someone would have to apologize for being who they are because society doesn’t completely accept them. On a daily basis people are not being completely included in corporate practices because they are minorities and women, and something that a person could never help can hinder them. It is the issues like this and also just plain racism that plague the lives of countless Americans. Simply stated, I would have believed that the country was equal without further education.
I will not deny the fact that I am privileged. I came from an upper middle class household where money was never an issue and I am a white male. I never felt like I had a certain privilege until I started attending Central Michigan University. Through civil rights organizations people like myself can not only give to their cause by donation, but if one cannot donate they can volunteer. If one simply cannot volunteer they can stand with the organization, and they can spread the messages of the changes that people need to see in the world. Organizations allow people to help. They give people a way to have a voice and a channel to make a change and that alone gives these organizations a purpose in today’s society.
I firmly believe that all people deserve to be happy with who they are. The fact that people are treated differently because of who they are or what they go through sickens me. I want to believe that one day everyone will be accepted into society for who they are as a person and not be ridiculed or harassed for where they come from or what they believe is right. The fact that police officers, keep in mind it is their job to keep the peace, can treat a citizen differently because of the color of their skin, makes me think that there have to be some real strides made in society. People should be able to love whoever they choose to love and feel however they need to feel without being judged by society. When these problems are dissolved there will be a day when civil rights organizations will no longer be needed in this country.
We still have to get involved and help people learn that the world is more than what is happening on their front porch. Simple conversations that could be had and articles that could be read are all at people’s disposal; however, people have a fear of being judged by the world. In order for the world to see a truly equal life we need to look past what is best for ourselves and help those around us, regardless of races, colors, and beliefs. The day individuals stop being selfish is when we will no longer need civil rights organizations, but that day is beyond our reach.
An issue that is around and is affecting the lives of Americans is police brutality. People in this country turn a blind eye to the fact that people are being treated differently because they are being stereotyped by their color. Many Americans simply do not know the facts and The Black Lives Matter Movement is giving people the information they need to understand the truth to the issue.
People talk about this issue as if it is not even happening. Most of the people that I have had conversations with say “If you run from a cop it’s all your fault” or “ninety percent of all police force is doing their duty to protect this country.” Now I do give them some credit because I used to believe and say the same things, but people have to realize that there are about 1.1 million police officers in this country. Rudimentary math tells us that ten percent of 1.1 million is still 110,000. So yes, ninety percent of people are doing their jobs correctly but that still leaves over a hundred-ten thousand police officers who are racial profiling and treating citizens of this country unfairly.
People who do not truly understand what is happening started using the #alllivesmatter tag on social media. People have the argument that “this generation of people is weak and you all just need to get over yourselves, so why should only black lives matter?” Someone once told me the story as follows: so all the kids in a classroom get ice cream except for one child. The child goes to the teacher and asks for his ice cream cone. The teacher responds with “all the children here, not just you, deserve ice cream.” The teacher didn’t solve anything except sidestep the question. While everyone else was treated fairly the child was left to suffer without any help. This is basically what is happening to Americans, and people are so selfish that their first thought isn’t “What are the true details and why is this as big as it is?” it is “Doesn’t my life mean something too?” this selfishness and misunderstanding could be all resolved if more people were educated.
This issue should be addressed by the government to get rid of the over one hundred thousand cops that are doing their job terribly. I can say that but no government official will do anything until they are correctly educated on the issues. Spreading the word at an interpersonal level will help people realize what is actually going on and maybe bring some rightfully deserved justice.
Civil rights movements are more than just people standing up for racial injustice. Civil rights movements are meant to allow people to be who they are and not be torn down by society because of what they want.