Civil Rights and The Future
The Civil Rights Movement and the Future
The civil rights movement in my opinion was a great success. Prior to this paramount shift in social standards people where subject to the bias and prejudice of others. This became particularly difficult when individuals experiences discrimination for necessary social constructs of interaction such as employment and education. During the 1960’s as a result of the massive amount of children born during the “postwar baby boom” there was an influx of new ideas and perspectives taken that challenged the status-quo. Impressively, Martin Luther King Jr. was probably the greatest influence for the civil rights movement its journey to Congress. Particularly his march in Birmingham, Alabama in which the people marching with him where assaulted with “fire hoses, dogs, and cattle prods” (Dye, R. T & Sparrow H. B 2009). When the rest of the country witnessed this it invoked a unified sense of humanity giving power to the movement that led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
The resounding effect of the Civil Rights movement is plainly evident in the level of gender and racial equality compared with that time. Of course there are still areas of inequality and prejudice in society yet acceptance of anything takes time an adaptation. There will always be resistance to these types of changes, not simply because those that benefit the most from the way it is want to maintain that status but because without resistance the change would have much less meaning and possibly less longevity. This is not the case with the civil rights movement. The majority of women workers were employed in manufacturing in the 1960’s, today however women tend to hold a more educated and crucial positions in education and health services (BLS.gov, 2012). However, the civil rights movement was not just meant to end discrimination against women but ethnic minorities as well, in particular African Americans (Dye, R. T & Sparrow H. B 2009). Yet curiously the movement did not change the conditions in which African Americans live. In a study analyzing the rate of entrepreneurship of African Americans in the United States it was found that there was a consistent 2/3rds disparity between white males and black males who owned their own business. What is interesting is that it was reported that both groups followed the same trend in regards to increase and decrease of entrepreneurial participation while maintaining the 2/3rds disparity (Bogan, V. & Darity, W. Jr. 2007).
Although the power and effect of the civil rights movement may be hard to recreate I do however think it is possible and probably inevitable. I realize this is a strong statement but consider the society we have created and what it requires to function. We as a society are conditioned to consume. I am not referring to our natural need for biological sustenance; I am referring to the multitude of products and services available for our entertainment and/or personal satisfaction. This consumption is required to support the providers who then pay their employees so they can then spend their money supporting the provider who then pays employees so they can spend their money continuing to support the provider. This can be referred to as cyclic consumption. This in of by itself could function smoothly, however, because there is no moral or ethical regulation of pricing and profit there is the danger that a service that could be considered a “need” such as shelter, food, clothing and medical care could be vastly inflated in price depending on demand. This also applies to other needs. Consider an individual working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage the government will allow employers to pay. As of today that rate is $7.25 per hour. That would net the individual $290 per week and around $1160 per month. In my area a one bedroom apartment with heat and hot water included ranges in rental price from around $600-$750 per month. If you add a generalized expense of $200 for electricity and phone and say $50 a week for food, $50 week in gas and/or transportation costs, vehicle insurance of $50, and possible vehicle payment of say $150 per month, the total becomes more than the individual takes in. I realize that these are not exact numbers but from my personal experience they are relative. When this happens the individual most likely will need to seek state funded support which will in turn eventually raise taxes creating an even more difficult financial situation for everyone. It would seem simple to require that companies pay their employees “fair and adequate compensation” based on their location and its financial requirement for living out of poverty.
Because of this increasing disparity between the wealthy and the poor and the internet’s readily available information regarding our countries financial structure I think it is inevitable that a new social movement will arise. I do think however that the “powers that be” will be quick to stifle it because they do not want it to gain momentum. Unfortunately as much as a social movement of that magnitude is repressed, the very act of oppressing it and refusing the change causes the movement to gain momentum. For a movement of that magnitude to take place in today’s society I believe it will take drastic measures that remove our civil liberties and impose martial control. People consistently throughout history fight the hardest when they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I learned a very simple rule running kitchens as a Chef. I have had a vast variety of personality types and backgrounds under my employ; in order to lead effectively those employees must know and feel that they are indispensable to me and that my success is dependent on theirs. If this simple philosophy was applied to our financial system or corporations and banks it could very well eliminate the poverty financial class of those employed.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that the wealth should be distributed evenly, to me that is ridiculous and destructive to moral and economic growth. I do however think that their needs to be a regulated balance founded on sound business ethics and social principles that work to remove the burden of low wage worker financial support by businesses so that that funding can be utilized elsewhere in areas such as education, medical care and utilities.
BLS.gov (2012). BLS Spotlight on Statistics: Women at Work, U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. p.10. Retrieved on Oct 16th 2012 from http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/pdf/women_bls_spotlight.pdf
Bogan, V. & Darity, W. Jr. (2007). Culture and entrepreneurship? African American and Immigrant Self- Employment in the United States, The Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 37, p.2. Retrieved on Oct18th 2012 from http://bogan.dyson.cornell.edu/doc/research/jseweb.pdf
Dye, R. T & Sparrow H. B (2009). The Civil Rights Acts, Politics and Civil Rights, Chapter 15, Politics in America, Pearson Education, Inc. p.547.