IS THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT FULLY IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BLACK PEOPLE?
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
The Civil Rights Act passed on July 2nd 1964 was known as a landmark decision passed by President Lyndon Banes Johnson due to the political pressures of white liberals, moderates and the Black community who were generally influenced by Civil Rights Leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, Whitney Young and many others. These Civil Rights leaders were very influential within the African American community nationally and they protested against the abhorrent and egregious racism and vigilantism inflicted upon African Americans when this country was ironically propagated as the land of democracy, equality, freedom and opportunity. The approach of the Civil Rights leaders at the time was non-violent resistance through protesting and marching like the March of Washington of August of 1963 and the sit-ins in public restaurants owned by segregationists who were discriminatory against African Americans. For example, the Woolworth Sit-In of February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina was utilized as an approach to integrate establishments of public accommodation through civil disobedience. Additionally, Civil Rights activists protested by sitting on the front of buses which were designated for White people in the examples of Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks of Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. These actions of civil disobedience lead to a year long bus boycott that lead to the ratification of the Browder v. Gayle decision that ruled and enforced segregation on public buses was unconstitutional and violated the 14th amendment of equal protection under the law. Prior to President Kennedy’s assassination, he proposed the passing of the Civil Rights Act but was ambivalent about the passing of the Civil Rights Act because he didn’t want to lose his democratic constituent base who played a responsibility in electing him to the Presidency notably in the Southern states. After President Kennedy’s untimely assassination, Vice President Lyndon Banes Johnson, who was adamantly against the ratification of the Civil Rights Act, eventually acquiesced to the political inclinations of the Civil Rights Movement by passing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 which he called “the nigger bill” when communicating with fellow Democratic or “Dixiecratic” politicians like James Eastland of Mississippi according to his biographer Robert Caro. The passing of the Civil Rights Act disappointed and infuriated a lot of white politicians primarily from the South like the Republican Presidential candidate of Arizona, Senator Barry Goldwater, who deemed President Lyndon Banes Johnson as a “phony.” Senator Goldwater was an adamant, unequivocal and staunch supporter of segregation. Ironically, one of the segregationist’s Barry Goldwater’s interns was a young and energetic young lady from Park Ridge, Illinois by the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton who is now running for the Presidency of the United States as a liberal democrat. The contradiction of Lyndon Banes Johnson’s racial sentiments, his affiliation with Civil Rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Roy Wilkins and his friendship with racist Southern Democrats historically proves the insidiousness, mischievousness and craftiness of politicians, especially as it relates to the Black Vote. From President Johnson to Hillary Clinton, the only time that “Black Lives Matter” is when “Black Votes Matter.” Additionally, another startling fact is that 80% of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the passing of the Civil Rights Act, while 82% of the Republicans in the Senate voted for the Civil Rights Act. Comparatively, only 63% of the Democrats in the House of Representatives voted for the passing of the Civil Rights Act, while 69% of the Democratic Senators voted for the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Henceforth, the Republicans were more so advocates of the Civil Rights of 1964 than their Democratic counterparts, and the irony is that the Democratic Party is supposedly the party for African Americans! I am not personally a Republican nor a Democrat and I think that due to the political craftiness of a lot of these politicians, African Americans need to be careful of being socially and politically dependent on these politicians and rely on themselves to solve their problems because relinquishing the power to the government instead to ourselves will only lead to more discrimination, subjugation and increased disappointment. Even though this was a bill to guarantee the protection of equal social and political rights for all citizens, we have to question in 2016 if this bill is fully effective or is it adulterated and contaminated with parts of the bill that impede or hinder freedom, liberty and justice, especially for the Black community.
WHAT IS A CIVIL RIGHT?
The notable term of a civil right according to Cornell University’s Law Dictionary is “A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Various jurisdictions have enacted statutes to prevent discrimination based on a person's race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual orientation.” Hence the purpose or intention of civil rights legislation is for political and social freedom and equality, yet I am going to show you how parts of the Civil Right Act of 1964 are in contradiction of Civil Rights in our everyday lives.
WHAT DOES THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF 1964 CONSISTS OF?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enumerated and annotated into 11 titles explaining what the federal government’s actions to protect the civil rights of its citizens are. These titles include the protection of voting rights, injunctive relief against discrimination in places of public accommodation, desegregation of public facilities, the desegregation of public schools, the expansion of civil rights commission to investigate cases to see if there are civil rights violations prevalent, the prohibiting of discrimination of public funded programs, the creation of the equal employment opportunity commission, the required recordation and documentation of voting records to ensure that there is no discrimination in voting registration, the efficiency and opportunity for the federal court to assume civil rights cases which may have been unjustly adjudicated in State courts, the establishment of the Community Relations Service to settle disputes involving civil rights, and finally a title mandating imprisonment and fines for violating the titles of the Civil Rights Act.
WHAT MAKES THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT CONTRADICT CIVIL RIGHTS?
According to Frederic Bastiat, the French economist and author, the definition of the law is the collective organization of individual right to lawful defense. Henceforth, the purpose of the law is to defend the individuality, property and liberty of its respective citizens from force or fraud from other citizens, domestic and foreign enemies who are in the geographical borders of the given nation-state where the law prevails. In saying all of this, it is unequivocally a no brainer that America needed the passing of a Civil Rights Act within the contextual framework of protecting the rights of liberty, freedom and property for its citizens. What made the Plessey V. Ferguson legislation unconstitutional and a violation of our civil/human rights is because it forced employers to discriminate based on phenotype, race, national origin or religion, which is unconstitutional and an infringement of a person’s freedom of property, freedom of expression and freedom of association. Additionally, it is unethical, unconstitutional and evil for the government to use their monopolized police powers to discriminate, victimize or assassinate someone based on their race, religion, color and creed because this is interventionist, tyrannical, evil, draconian and it violates the human rights of citizens to life, liberty, property and satisfaction. Hence, the purpose of the law is to protect the rights of citizens so that they can have the freedom to pursue their inclined destinies without them infringing or hindering the liberties and rights of others. With that being said, since civil rights is generally the protection of the social and political freedom of its citizens to ensure equality, there are parts of the Civil Rights Act that do not give people the freedom to individuality, liberty, property or happiness. The reason being is because according to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is the Injunctive Relief Against Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodations, it states that “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodations-without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” These establishments generally include private establishments like businesses involved in interstate commerce, lodgings, restaurants, hotels, inns, movies, theaters, stadiums, etc. Henceforth, if someone were to decline the financial support or patronization of a client or customer based on their social classification, then they can face retribution which includes imprisonment and fines when this is a violation of the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and the freedom of property. Hence, the African American community has the purchasing power of $1.2 trillion, according to Nielsen’s Economic Report on the State of Black America, so if an employer or a consortium of employers want to deny serving African American consumers, then the externalities or opportunity costs of this discriminatory action could cost up to $1.2 trillion which could alternatively get allocated towards economically empowering the African American community to create jobs, infrastructure, innovations, investment opportunities and effective charities for the underprivileged. Alternatively, citizens should have the freedom to choose and one’s decisions aren’t always necessarily in the best interest of the decision maker as long as that consumer has the freedom to choose as well!! Therefore, if an employer gesticulates subtly or blatantly a vibe of discrimination, then it is the consumer’s right to freedom and liberty to discriminate against that producer or business and to patronize a company who isn’t discriminatory on the basis of race. For example, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, enterprising and entrepreneurial African Americans formed their own streetcar companies to transport Black people from point A to point B as alternatives to the segregation on public buses. These companies started to generate economic momentum and viability until the Browder v. Gayle decision made it unlawful for buses to segregate on the basis of race in Montgomery, Alabama thus ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The desegregation of public transportation was a legislative milestone for the Civil Rights Movement but it impeded the economic momentum of the Black owned street car companies which were the “Ubers” and “Lyfts” of their time which could have been billion dollar conglomerates to this day creating economic opportunities for the Black community!! Additionally, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leaders Black Fraternities, Black Sororities, Black Universities like Tuskegee Institute, Black civil organizations and Black churches would be under the jail because of the accusation of them discriminating against other ethnic groups!! Hence, Booker T. Washington would be under the jail if he were to live today and not abide by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, especially according to Title II and Title VI.
Additionally, according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which made it illegal to decline someone’s employment on the basis of race, religion, national origin and creed. This was followed by the passing of other laws and orders but notably Executive Order 11246, which established “reasonable and flexible timetables” to ensure that companies diversify their staff based on race, religion, national origin and creed and required affirmative action plans to alleviate discrimination and homogeneity in places of public accommodation. Therefore, if an employer were not racist and hired solely based on meritoriousness, educational qualifications, experience and other pertinent factors excluding one’s anthropological or sociological classifications and the staff doesn’t meet governmental standards, then the employer may be charged with a felony!! Thus, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, is a violation of the freedom of property and assembly because it doesn’t give the employer the freedom to choose the most qualified candidates to fulfill the available positions which will ensure success for his or hers’ business. Additionally, if someone is an African American and they have the qualifications in order to excel in a position and help a business generate an exponential amount of revenue, then a business will certainly hire them because in the free market, what matters is the financial gratification or “the mula” – meaning that a rational business person will hire anyone who will help a business succeed and apostatize or put aside their discriminatory and prejudicial sentiments in the name of profit. Hence, 74.4% the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) roster is African American and based on the controversy of LA Clippers former owner, Don Sterling being accused of making racially denigrating remarks against Black people in private, back in 2014, it has been proven that 85% of their roster is African American which proves the point that in the name of victoriousness, he publically put his racist sentiments to the side along with other NBA owners who probably didn’t get caught!!! Also, with the talents of athletes like Lebron James, Steff Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and many others, it would cost Championship rings, ticket sales, merchandise revenue and other opportunity costs to discriminate on skillful and athletically gifted athletes based on one’s racial sentiments.
In conclusion,with this being election season, the Age of “Black Lives Matter” and contradictorily a time of Black excellence economically and politically with a Black president, we need to understand that the solutions to our problems are not with politicians who only want your vote to fulfill their own individual agendas for their interests and the interests of special interest groups. Our solutions are with us pursuing our own respective destinies and utilizing our power within the free market to inform, invest and empower African Americans to advance as a people locally, nationally and globally. Yes, it is deplorable to see the government and the departments of the police infringe and encroach on our rights, yet within the private sector, we have the freedom to choose and pursue our own destinies and we can not rely on government nor other ethnicities to solve the problems that we have the capacity, capability and ingenuity to solve ourselves. It is statistically proven that between 1940-1960, poverty in Black America decreased from 87% to 47% which is a 40% decrease and after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 to now, poverty has only deceased by 21% even in this age of technological advancement and a Black president!!! Henceforth, Black people were already progressing economically in the midst of Jim-Crowism, racial segregation and the days predating the Civil Rights movement moreso than the 1960s to now!!! In closing, the power lies within us and it’s time to recognize that “Black Lives will really Matter.”