By Zerline Hughes
Did you know today was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act? I didn’t know. I’ve somewhat got my thumb on the pulse of media and current events and I didn’t realize this until about 3:45 today. My coworker who shares the same wall with me called my extension (yeah, we’re a bit lazy and choose not to get up to visit one another) to tell me about this monumental day in history and how he, too, didn’t hear much about it.
What does that say about us? About America and how dear we hold true this historic piece of legislation?
A case in point: Politico’s headline (that I had to go searching for late afternoon): Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today.
Hmph! What it says to me is no wonder our incarceration rates and racial disparity numbers are out the window. No wonder I have so much advocating to do for myself and my children as it relates to equal employment rights and education.
A New York Times op-ed on the past 50 years reports that:
There are important lessons here for progressives. Today most civil rights advocates focus on racial disparities, comparing the struggles of blacks and Latinos to those of whites without acknowledging that plenty of whites are harmed by the same structural barriers. Many whites shut down in the face of these arguments, rationalizing that minorities themselves are to blame and resenting the fact that their own economic pain is not being acknowledged.
Shut down in deed. We are not to blame for our “economic pain;” we are not to blame for having to settle for a crappy education system due to our zip code. We are not to blame for our Black boys and men going to prison at alarming rates compared to their White counterparts.
Fifty years come and gone. Gone indeed. I believe Politico’s headline … the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today. And that’s why I continue to fight, advocate for my children. Their civil rights will not be dismissed or forgotten. No, Not These Two.