HOUSTON – The history of American civilization has left remnants of many open wounds that are constantly agitated within the Black community of its culture on a constant basis. A reflection over the year 2013 entails the fact that, there have been many instances of these open wounds that have reoccurred every day. Among them are many elements such as: affirmative action, voting right laws and racial profiling, just to list a few.
On Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action may be best described as taking the appropriate steps to, increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education and culture from which they had been historically excluded. This action was introduced into American culture and issued as an Executive Order by President John F. Kennedy on March 6. 1961. He created the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity which served to mandate that projects financed with federal funds “take affirmative action” to ensure that hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias.
Since it’s induction into US society, universities, states, employers and various other entities have fought relentlessly against it. In a couple of states there have already been bans placed on affirmative action such as, California and Washington. While it was just this year, that affirmative action in Texas has been up for challenge. Borgna Brunner revealed the following, “In Fisher v. University of Texas, the court allows universities to continue considering race as a factor in admissions to achieve diversity, but it does tell them that they must prove that “available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice” before considering race.” Accordingly, Brunner found that the court ruled to send the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for further review to determine if the school passed the test of “strict scrutiny”. Which means that the final decision has not been made so we should really pay attention to these matters and Wake Up Black America!
On Racial Profiling:
The Leadership Conference suggests that racial profiling is, “the targeting of particular individuals by law enforcement authorities based not on their behavior, but rather their personal characteristics; such as: ethnicity, national origin, and religion. It is generally used to encompass more than simply an individual’s race.” Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that while Congress passed a bill in 1865 intended to abolish slavery; that members of the Black community still have to deal with modern-day oppression to a certain extent. In some ways this oppression often involves, Blacks consistently being targeted by law enforcement officials. A great deal of times these demonstrations yield, ‘trumped up’ charges, imprisonment and death in some cases.
Allow me to digress back to an incident that occurred on February 26, 2012, but has left Blacks around the nation outraged by the verdict in 2013. On this date, a Sanford, FL neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman initiated an assault on 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin. After spotting Martin and telephoning 911 reporting of a “suspicious person” and being instructed not to get out of his vehicle; Zimmerman proceeded to disregard the operator. As a result, Martin was beat and gunned down, ultimately leading to a very untimely demise. Though the entire situation had already shaken members of the Black community on an enormous scale, the “insult-to-injury” occurred after the determination of a not-guilty verdict on July 13. Since that time, Zimmerman has had two bouts with law enforcement officials. The first being pulled over in Dallas for speeding. The second, led to him being arrested and jailed for an assault on his girlfriend, who claimed that he pulled a gun on her. Many White residents of Florida have only NOW begin to refer to Zimmerman as a “ticking time bomb” since his latest encounters. And that is now that he has pulled a gun on a White woman so, Wake Up Black America!
On Voting Rights:
The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed by Congress to allow Blacks the right to vote in 1868. Yet, it is a sad reality that after their passing, other measures were put in place to still block Blacks from voting. Voting provides an individual the power to speak without ever having to open their mouth. Whites during this era knew that this would give Blacks power previously not bestowed upon them. Thus, Blacks were purposely not told when and where voting elections were held. Then there was a poll tax that many could not afford to pay.
Additionally, states in the South enacted laws requiring people to pass reading and writing tests before they could vote. This was a grave injustice because so many Blacks had been in slavery and could not read or write. It was not until nearly a century later that Civil Rights movements were started and Blacks voices were finally heard. Therefore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was eventually signed into legislation by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
For it was just earlier this year that voters in Texas faced redistricting policies, that would not have been so accommodating to minority communities. Penda D. Hair informed in article that, “The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, striking down the coverage formula for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, made it easier for states to forge ahead with laws restricting the vote.” “Texas waited just two hours after the Shelby ruling to announce that the state would begin enforcing its voter ID law, which had previously been blocked under Section 5, and that its discriminatory redistricting plan would also go into effect” she continued.
Fortunately, the Department of Justice counteracted these measures by pursuing lawsuits which highlighted that their decision did not allow for “open season on voters”. Concluding, though it may appear that this nation has come a long way with new bills being passed, there remains a long journey ahead for African-Americans. So be not deceived we must, Wake Up Black America!