Civil Rights in the United States
In total there are fifteen laws that count towards the topic of civil rights in the United States, alone. Kenji Yoshino, author of “The New Civil Rights” says that in order for us to turn our current beliefs into a set of ‘new’ civil rights, law must play a role. Obvious enough, law alone cannot bring about a new set of civil rights. There are more than enough pieces that could make up this puzzle. For instance, media plays a huge role in this situation. The media only shows what they want us, the people, to see. If we only see what they want us to see then wouldn’t that leave us very narrow-minded?
The media adds irrelevant detail to every situation. For example, a person’s race, which otherwise makes no difference, could be the topic of discussion while a news crew covers a crime. Another component to solving this dilemma is spreading word of a new set of civil rights to the next generation starting at a young age. If adults with young children start to tell their kids what is right and what is wrong, from a civil rights perspective, from a young age, they will go their whole life knowing these ‘new’ civil rights.
If we, the people were to put an exclusive focus on laws and how they affect civil rights it would be detrimental to the new civil rights. We would be relying too much on the government to make our decisions. “It is only when we leave the law that civil rights suddenly stops being about particular groups and starts to become a project of human flourishing in which we all have a stake (Yoshino 488). ” Also, what the government thinks is right is not always what we think is right. In essence, if the government puts all the pieces to the puzzle together we may end up with major setbacks and no advancements in civil rights.
Conversation is voicing our opinions weighing in on different topics. In this case, the topic is new civil rights. As previously stated, laws are not the only things that can guarantee a new set of civil rights. “The real solution lies in all of us as citizens, not in the tiny subset of us who are lawyers. People who are not lawyers should have reason-forcing conversations outside the law (Yoshino 487). ” And with that said, spreading the word to an audience of a young age of what is right and what is wrong can be a big help to the issue at hand.
They will take what they learn about rights and wrongs and carry that with them for as long as they live. Then they will pass on that information to their children and their children’s children. Rome wasn’t built in a day and no one can change the world in a day either. It will take many generations to repair the mindset and mistakes of generations past. Also, depending on how good of persuading skills the person has, the word of civil rights will become stronger and stronger. A civil right could be a law, movement, or act designated by the government.
But, as Yoshino said, “Law is also an incomplete solution to coerced assimilation because it has yet to recognize the myriad groups subjected to covering demands outside traditional civil rights classifications like race, sex, (sexual) orientation, religion, and disability (486). ” Human rights are radically different. Human rights are rights you are born into. As soon as you come out of the womb and are given a name and a birth certificate you gain these rights. For example, human rights could be anywhere from the right to live to any of the rights you are given in the United States Constitution.
Now the question remains; how do we make civil rights human rights? It sounds simple enough that we should respect one another without race playing a part, but unfortunately it is easier said than done. “(The Supreme Court) is much more sympathetic to ‘liberty’ claims about freedoms we all hold than to ‘equality’ claims asserted by a subset of the population (Yoshino 483). ” With that being said, laws cannot be the only thing that can halt old civil rights and turn over to the next page to begin new civil rights. There needs to be one pivotal figure like Martin Luther King Jr. o push the negativities of inequalities in America. I could say “Racism is wrong” but unless I do something about it and spread word on why racism is wrong, civil rights activism won’t go anywhere.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines covering as an object or substance that goes over or on top of something especially in order to hide or protect it. Kenji Yoshino donates a more philosophical definition which is also geared towards the topic at hand. He states that covering is “to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream (479). People should be able to show their true selves to the public. Then, there are people who just can’t show their true identity and they are covering to live. For example, Middle-Eastern women cover their whole bodies in an effort to abide laws or be killed. In a less literal sense, in such a judge-mental society there are millions of homosexuals hiding their true identity for fear of being bashed in public. “Your commitment is to help people ‘be themselves’ – to resist demands to conform that take away their ability to be the individuals they are.
But the covering idea could perpetuate the stereotypes you want to eliminate (Yoshino 485). ” In other words, covering is wrong and we know this so we want to give a helping hand. But, by helping out and showing gays or blacks that it’s okay to act in the manner they really want to act will do no good. As a final verdict in the strife for equality, it is quite obvious that there is only one way to change the outlook of the world in the area of civil rights and it all starts with children.
Parents of today must instill this vital information into the brains of their children. Studies show that children gain most of their knowledge when they are at a young age by what they learn from their parents. Young children watch and learn, it’s like monkey see monkey do. If parents stress to their children all the bad things about our world and why they are bad like racism, sexism, and non-acceptance as a whole then they will carry it forever in their minds.
It may take a few generations to fix the whole world but we have to begin somewhere. The media also plays a large part in a child’s life. In the early years, the news channels don’t play much of a role but cartoons do. If cartoon network producers can find a way to tie in civil rights into kids shows then they will learn. The only way for a person to achieve authenticity in today’s world is if the population would be more accepting of everyone while disregarding race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.
Everything is a process that starts with the children. The children learn equality and civil rights and use that knowledge to change everyone’s outlook. Then once everyone’s outlooks are changed there will be no hate towards minorities or people who ‘aren’t the same’. And in the end no one will have to cover because there will be no hatred. The pieces of the puzzle are out in the open. It is up to us to figure out which pieces fit and which pieces don’t.