Reported by April Taylor
A recent article by Dr. Maruice Mangum discusses discrimination and the continued fight for Civil Rights. It points out that while black people are most affected by institutional racism and therefore make up the social group who fights hardest for civil rights, white people are also impacted by discrimination and infringement of civil rights. The fact that civil rights covers a broad range of protections for opportunity, access, and mistreatment based on descriptive qualities or demographic characteristics means that any person living in American society faces the violation of their civil rights at one time or another.
Mangum argues that despite this fact and the fact that other minorities face significant civil rights violations, it is still black people who are most impacted and therefore battle for justice that everyone benefits from. Unfortunately, the social movements of other groups do not always return the same benefits. One example is the Occupy movement, which focuses on economic equality and equity. Although the racial wealth gap continues to widen, Occupiers have not addressed that issue in their quest for economic parity for all.
Mangum also points out that even in the face of blatant manifestations of institutional racism such as voter ID laws, redlining, racial profiling, and stop-and -frisk policies and the criminal justice systems perpetration of police brutality and the failed war on drugs, white people still do not join in the fight for civil rights. The fact that white people do not join the fight leads many to be under the impression that civil rights are only for blacks. This makes it seem as though white people do not genuinely care of about improving American society and culture or trying to eliminate black suffering or the inequality that perpetrates that suffering.
In closing, Mangum states: “I will attribute white silence to not comprehending how they are affected, for they are at risk too; hence, the challenge of civil rights. The difficulty with eliminating discrimination and ensuring civil rights is not because civil rights are for Blacks; it is that white people just don’t understand.”