Civil Rights and Social Movements

The struggle for equal rights is still ongoing. Minorities face many struggles in acquiring social, political, and economic equality. While de jure discrimination is easier to combat, de facto discrimination is very difficult to erase. The legacy of Jim Crow and other discriminatory practices can be seen today. The criminal justice system is heavily biased against minorities through both systemic and individual prejudices. For instance, Black defendants are more than 30% more likely to be sentenced to prison for the same crime committed by a similarly situated White defendant. This impacts opportunities not only for the individual, but also for their community and family. Minorities Make up approximately 30% of the population but make up around 60% of the prison population, even though minorities are no more likely to commit crimes than their white counterparts.

Given these facts, what can be done? Is the problem due purely to system bias? Should programs like affirmative action (which benefits women more than any other group and actually benefits whites as well. The group most negatively affected are actually Asian students) be used? California has seen a precipitous drop in minority students and a decrease in white students from 56.9% to 33.3% between 1990 and 2005 with the end of affirmative action and an increase in Asian students to more than 46%. Would a top 10% be better? How do we combat de facto discrimination?

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In your discussion be sure to be respectful and to not make blanket statements about groups unless it is a statistical statement (Hispanics are 45% more likely to …). If possible, use statistics to help make your point. As I noted above, implicit racism is not just something that out-group members feel towards a group (white/black, black/white, hispanic/black, hispanic/white, etc…) but can be seen within groups (black/black, white/white, hispanic/hispanic).

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