Civil Rights

Although, America has made great strides in our fight against racism and bigotry, there are still more work ahead of us in this fight.

The efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the traditional struggle for racial equality come to many people’s minds when asked about civil rights.

“I think of the civil rights movement of the 1960s…it is more images that come to mind than words: the marches, the dogs, the police and Klan, the singing,” wrote one respondent.

More than 89 percent of all respondents said racial inequalities remain important, but only a third identified racial inequalities as one of the top three current civil rights issues.

Eighty-one percent of the respondents identified themselves as white/Caucasian, and 19 percent identified as non-white. (The breakdown was 6.5 percent identifying as black/African American; 4.6 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander; 2.5 percent as Mixed-Race; .6 percent as Native American; and 3.7 percent as being of Hispanic or Latino origin).

When the data was cross-tabulated, non-white respondents were more likely to point to persistent racial inequalities and racial profiling as more important issues, the survey said. African Americans and Asian Americans identified racial inequalities as one of the top three most important civil rights issues. In fact, nine in 10 of the African American respondents said issues of racial inequalities and racial or ethnic profiling are very important.

“We’ve come a long way, but aren’t done. We are still people, more inclined to trust those who we view are similar to us…” wrote one respondent.

  • Hate Crimes: Congress defines as a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation of that person.
  • Affirmative Action: Minority applicants are preferentially hired to make up for past discrimination. The equivalent negative term is ‘Reverse Discrimination’. Candidates discuss whether ‘preference’ implies a fixed ‘quota’.
  • Racial Profiling: Also known as ‘Driving While Black’. Law enforcement practice of using race to decide which motorists to stop.
  • Redlining: Practice where banks draw lines around certain low income and minority neighborhoods. The banks then refuse to lend to those neighborhoods.