The article, Equality Still Elusive 50 Years after Civil Rights Act by Richard Wolf, describes the current situation of racial discrimination in America. The fight for civil rights began during the slave trade era, with various laws and policies coming up over the years. The inclusion of Civil Rights Act in 1964 was a key feature in the change of segregation in major institutions and public facilities. It provided better opportunities for the black community across the country, especially in the south. According to Wolf, the act is yet to integrate into the society as per various polls conducted across the nation. The majority of black community members continue to face racial discrimination in their daily lives, yet only few of them believe there is a solution to the menace. Despite the lack of full realization, certain laws and policies made it possible for racial discrimination to end across the country.
Wolf begins his article by pointing out the effort made by President John F. Kennedy to end racial discrimination in America. He played a major part in enacting the Civil Rights Act by making a call to the Congress to look into the matter in June 1963 (Wolf par 1). In his speech, he projected that African Americans born in 1963 will have better chances of completing high school like the white baby born on the same day and place. One third of the babies born will complete their college education and become a professional. They will have one-seventh more chances of earning more than $10,000 annually and a higher life expectancy (Wolf par 3). More than fifty years after the projection, the battle against overt discrimination is more successful than attaining educational, economic or social equality.
The black Americans continue to make huge strides in high school, though college graduation rates continue to diminish. Their incomes rose significantly, and poverty rates across the country decreased significantly, but the gap between their incomes with whites continues to be greater. Most of the blacks in the working industry are middle-income earners, making more than $40,000 annually (Wolf par 7). Job opportunities across the country became accessible to the black Americans, though it brought about high unemployment rates. Despite the significant changes, a majority of black Americans live in ‘segregated’ neighborhoods, though they enjoy almost similar benefits as the whites. District schools, mainly occupied by black students, receive lesser funding from the government, resulting in a high number of school dropouts. The progress made in removing social discrimination was evident in the 2012 elections when black Americans recorded a higher voter turnout than the whites (Wolf par 8). It showed progress and acceptance to enact change in their lives and the future generation.
Michael Klarman, civil rights, and constitutional law professor law in Harvard School of Law, states the importance of having the civil rights movement and its enactment in different states (Wolf par 4). Without it, most of the black middle class would be in the low-income category. The realization of a black president would remain a dream for many and few blacks would join high professions such as medical and law school. The election of black representatives currently stands at 10,500 from a mere 1,500 in the year 1970 (Wolf par 12). Great progress continues to be seen in the current political, social and economic environments. However, there are certain acts that remain dormant in the current times such as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Wolf par 15). The act facilitated the fair public accommodation of all Americans, especially in the South. Currently, six out of ten African Americans live in the segregated household. Laxity in such dockets pulls down the progress made in restoring civil rights across the country. However, rights leaders continue to fight for the cause, with the promise of a better future for the next generations.
The news article focuses on the civil rights topic and incorporates law, politics, presidential powers and Congress. The focus on civil rights issues continues to hit the airwaves often, with many cases targeting the discrimination of black people in the public dockets. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a fundamental act to the end of discrimination, made possible by the powers given to the president and Congress. John F. Kennedy was in a position to create the act because of the evolution of presidential powers. The presidential responsibilities, impact, burdens and power increased drastically since George Washington’s presidency. Before the 20th century, the president’s docket was dormant with most of the laws and policies coming from the founders. However, the structural changes towards the end of the 19th century brought about the need to have a president who would stand out against other nations. The president ought to be a voice of the people and make laws that will govern the country.
John F. Kennedy exercised his powers as a legislative leader on the issue and voiced it out to his Congress, which is responsible for passing laws. The modern Congress has enumerated powers, which they exercise in lawmaking and elastic clause. These powers were important in controlling the country and providing opportunities for the citizens to air their views towards some of the laws. However, the president has an upper hand in the Congress as he or she can denounce some of the laws using the veto powers. However, some of the powers and responsibilities of running the country are held by the national government and states. Hence, not the Congress cannot enact some of the laws fully as they require decisions to be made by individual states. For instance, the gay rights have been an issue on whether it should be held by the Congress or states since it would have an effect on the acceptance by people. In the long run, individual states had the upper hand in enacting the rights in their state laws.
The civil rights liberties are constitutional laws, provisions, and practices which protect the individuals from interferences by the government. The introduction of these laws in the 19th century provided economic liberty to the early republic on certain elements such as intellectual property, slavery and obligation of contracts. The court played a major part in the evolution of laws throughout the decades as they highlighted the situation on the ground when it came to matters concerning the treatment of slaves. The Bill of Rights were in the constitution before the slavery trade but did not cover the black Americans. Hence, their fight for inclusion in the rights came through the court’s intervention as indicated in the 14th amendment. The Amendment guaranteed citizenship rights to the freed slaves and the state declared that no one should deprive another of their liberty, property, or life without the law’s due process.
These laws continued to progress over the years and brought hope to the black Americans despite the mishaps along the way. It is true to state that the decisions, policies, and laws made in the different topics learned in the class played a major impact to the events discussed in the paper. Apart from that, the article provides different event times, which makes it possible for one to understand the transitions from one decade to another. In conclusion, the article provides an overall outlook of the civil rights and its political, social, and economic impact in the society.
Wolf, Richard. Equality Still Elusive 50 Years after Civil Rights Act. 1 April 2014. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/19/civil-rights-act-progress/4641967/>