The civil rights movement engaged in the daunting task of fighting for the civil rights of the minorities from its point of creation. It adopted various approaches in a bid to advance its civil rights goals throughout the United States. Even though the movement commenced as a small organization with restricted purposes, it eventually broadened its objectives to those of the national level (Dye, 2010). The civil rights movement was divided into different state and local chapters which worked collaboratively to start several major initiatives in the last century and achieved legislative success. One of them civil rights initiatives that it launched was the push for a stop to discriminatory practices in all aspects of the American life. The paper discusses the civil rights initiative that fought racial discrimination, including its impact on current and future public policies, and evaluates how it influenced the average American citizen.
When activists formed the civil rights movement, they focused on stopping discrimination and segregation that emanated from the state laws about education, accommodation, and public life (Dye, 2010). They achieved success in this objective with the Brown case and ended discrimination from the government’s side. However, the most daunting task involved eradicating discrimination and segregation in all aspects of American life. As a result, the civil rights movement broadened its objectives and took up the challenge of fighting discrimination in public and private life. It entailed compelling the Congress, state legislatures, as well as, city councils to stop discriminatory practices exercised in private and public areas (Dye, 2010).
The civil rights movement embarked on the fight against discrimination and segregation in public and private life under the headship of Martin Luther King, Jr. The struggle took different shapes such as nonviolent direct action and boycotts. In Montgomery, King led a year-long bus boycott in which minorities engaged in frequent demonstrations that targeted to stem out segregated seating inside the city buses (Dye, 2010). The eventual success of this political technique drew nationwide attention and the civil rights movement adopted a more evolved form of political power. Civil disobedience started taking roots in it and people engaged in breaking of the unjust laws without resorting to violence. Americans went to prison over such activities in a bid to articulate the unfair nature of the underlying legislations.
Even King got jailed after engaging in mass demonstrations, which helped highlight these unjust laws. Eventually, the white elites became aware of discrimination and segregation and took corrective actions to adjust the legislation that promoted these discriminatory practices (Dye, 2010). The success of the major civil rights initiative discussed in the paper emerged in the form of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which emphasized equal treatment in all aspects of the American life regardless of person’s affiliations to a certain national origin, race, religion, and color (Grofman, 2000). It ended the segregation evident in private and public areas. It disallowed discriminatory practices in public accommodation and even provided equal employment opportunities for all people.
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This action formed a foundation for current and future public policies, especially those that focus on fighting discrimination. The initiative to eradicate discrimination has impacted the public policies concerning same-sex marriage for gays and lesbians. It formed a precedent for the passing of laws legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States (“Southern Oral History Program,” n.d.). Currently, the initiative has influenced public policies seeking to annul naturalization of children from illegal immigrants. The public opinion has stirred up numerous debates with such laws receiving little support on the basis that this amounts to discrimination on the grounds of national origin. Therefore, the initiative forms a precedent for the public policies that will seek to eradicate discriminatory practices in the future, especially against illegal immigrants.
Further, the initiative has influenced public policies concerning people from the Islamic religion, according to which the public views them as terrorists. The civil rights act targeting discrimination has impacted the conduct of law enforcement agencies when performing the stop and search operations on Muslim individuals in airports and train stations. In addition, the initiative has also influenced stop and searches in which the police target minorities as a result of systematized discrimination in the criminal justice system. It guides these public policies to a greater extent in a bid to eradicate discrimination against a particular group of people. The initiative also recently informed the affirmative actions in the education and employment sectors in order to reconcile the past injustices in the form of discriminative practices.
These initiatives and policies have impacted significantly on the lives of average American citizens, more importantly the minorities. They have provided equal opportunities to all Americans regardless of their color, race, national origin, as well as religion. The initiatives and policies have led to the stamping out of unjust laws in the society and promoted equality and social justice for the average American citizen. Further, they have exposed Americans to hidden and more evolved forms of discrimination. For instance, initiatives and policies targeting to promote social justice for African Americans have led to hidden discrimination in the criminal justice system as evident from the disproportionate number of individuals in the criminal justice system. Further, the affirmative action has stimulated stereotypes and bitterness against beneficiaries in education and employment.
In conclusion, the push to stop discrimination in public and private lives is a significant initiative of the civil rights movement. The latter was divided into local and state chapters that worked in conjunction to push for the abolition of discrimination in all public and private areas. Eventually, the movement achieved its ultimate goal as reflected in the passing of various civil rights laws. However, the civil rights initiative impacted on current public policies. It will also continue to affect them in the future because it forms precedent on policies that relate to discrimination. The initiatives and corresponding public policies have impacted on the lives of average American citizens in a positive and a negative way.
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