Democracy Under Pressure Chapter 5 The Struggle for Equal Rights
The Struggle for Equal Rights • America has a society with many ethnic, racial, and religious groups. • Yet the rights in our historic documents are not equally enjoyed by all. • Though progress has been made in reducing inequalities, there continues to be some violent racial tension. • Television showed white supremacists' inflammatory rhetoric, and the riots by blacks and destruction in South Central Los Angeles. • These images may not be typical, but cannot be ignored.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • Despite the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, many African Americans don't have full social and economic equality. • One in four African Americans is poor, compared to one in twelve whites. • Half of black families earn $50,000 per year or more, but there is a gap between the incomes of the growing black middle class and other blacks. • Black infant mortality is twice that of whites. • Homicide is the leading cause of death among young black males.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • In 2003, black unemployment was 11.2 percent, more than double that of whites. • In 2003, the median income of black families is $29,026, less than two-thirds of the $46,900 of white families. • Nearly one in three African American men in their twenties is in prison, on parole, or on probation.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • Economic data doesn't show the daily indignities blacks often face. • African Americans are likely to be born in a poor neighborhood and live in crowded, substandard housing. • Even when the economy is strong, jobs for African Americans tend to be menial and low paying. • Food and merchandise may be of poorer quality and priced higher than the same items found in white neighborhoods. • Black males have a 32 percent chance of serving time in prison, as compared to 6 percent of white males. • In some communities, black Americans are subjected to racial profiling.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • Others, including American Indians, Hispanics, and Asian Americans, have difficulties similar to African Americans. • The unemployment rate for American Indians is eight times the national average. • By 2003, Hispanics became the largest minority group in the nation. • The Census Bureau reported that in 2003 there were 38.8 million Hispanics in the United States. • More than half of Hispanics (sixty percent) were born in the United States. • The term "Hispanic" refers to people from Mexico and Central and South America.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • At 11.6 million, Asian Americans are the third largest minority, after Hispanics and African Americans. • During the 1970s, women came to be viewed as another minority group. • Discrimination based on sex is built into many public and private institutions. • In 2002, the median income for men was $39,429, while for women it was $30,203. • Gays face formidable obstacles ranging from subtle bias to physical violence.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • The 53 million Americans with disabilities are another group whose rights were often neglected. • Other groups discriminated against include Jews, Catholics, the elderly, and people with AIDS.
The Struggle for Equal Rights • Such racial polarization has been reflected in the nation's political issues and alignments. • Blue-collar whites reacted with hostility when pressed for greater equality and opportunity. • Ironically, whites will become a minority in the middle of the 21st century. • Multiculturalism becomes a serious disadvantage when ethnic fragmentation occurs and the nation loses its national identity and unity. • By 2060, according to Census Bureau, Hispanic, black, Asian American, and American Indian population will outnumber the white population.
Democracy Under Pressure Some Groups in Profile
American Indians • The term "American Indians" is gradually replacing the familiar name "Indians." • Definition of the group depends on self-identification. • There are almost 2.8 million American Indians, including Alaskan Eskimos and Aleuts. Some 538,000 American Indians live on or near reservations. There are 309 reservations in 32 states. • Unemployment on reservations is 50 percent. One-fourth who do work earn below the poverty level. • College graduation rates of American Indians is less than half the national percentage. • The suicide rate is higher, and among those 15 to 24, it is more than twice the national average.
American Indians • Until 1871, the United States treated the tribes as separate, sovereign nations. • Between 1887 and 1934, some 90 million acres were taken from tribes. • The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 ended the practice of breaking up reservations. • In recent years, American Indians have had some success getting land back through Congress and the courts. • The American government will spend more than eleven billion a year on aid to American Indians.
American Indians • The American Indian Movement (AIM) seized the tiny village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. When the siege ended two months later, two Native American supporters were killed and one federal agent paralyzed. • In recent years, some American Indians have prospered by opening gambling casinos, but their wealth has not changed the dismal conditions of the majority.
Hispanic Americans • Like American Indians, Hispanics contend with poverty and discrimination. • Of the thirty-eight millions Hispanics in America, three-fifths are Mexican Americans. • Twenty-one percent of Hispanics live in poverty, compared to a 12.1 percent national average. • The median income was $33,103 per year. A little more than half of adult Mexican Americans have graduated from high school.
Hispanic Americans • Between 1943 and 1964, hundred of thousands of migrant laborers entered the United States under the bracero program. Millions of others entered the United States illegally. • They perform backbreaking labor. • They live under horrible living conditions, which shortens their lives. • Farm workers are not covered by the National Labor Relations Board.
Hispanic Americans • Cesar Chavez formed the United Farm Workers (UFW) and led a nationwide boycott of table grapes in support of La Causa, the grape workers' movement. • In 1975, California passed legislation providing farm workers the same rights as other union members in other industries. • In 1996, the UFW and lettuce growers signed a contract with Red Coach lettuce.
Hispanic Americans • In 2004, only nine of California's Congressional delegation are Hispanic. • In 2004, only twenty-five Hispanics serve in the House of Representatives. • Nationwide, there are 4,624 Hispanics in elected office.
Hispanic Americans • Undocumented immigrants • There are approximately 8 million undocumented immigrants, and an estimated 70 percent are Hispanic. • In California and Texas, growers hire undocumented workers as cheap labor. • Unions complain that undocumented workers undermine minimum wage, health, and safety laws and other benefits.
Hispanic Americans • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can bar employment of illegals, but their children cannot be kept from attending public schools. • In 1986, Congress passed legislation providing punishment for employers who knowingly hired illegals. • In 2004, President Bush proposed a plan to allow undocumented workers to work legally for three years, and then renew that status.
Hispanic Americans • Puerto Ricans • The island has commonwealth status and residents use U.S. currency, mail, and courts, and can qualify for welfare benefits, but pay no taxes. • They may vote in the primaries, but not in the national elections. • Since 1980, they have sent delegates to the Republican and Democratic conventions. • Those who migrate tend to settle in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Hispanic Americans • In 2003, 3.4 million resided in the United States. • They usually obtain unskilled, low-paying jobs and the median income was little more than half that of other Americans. • In 1993 and 1998, Puerto Ricans chose to have their island remain a commonwealth instead of becoming a state. • The Puerto Rican Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) favors independence and were blamed for 130 bombings in the 1970s and 1980s.
Asian Americans • Asian Americans numbered 11.2 million in the 2000 Census. • By 2000, they constituted 4 percent of the population, behind African Americans (13 percent) and Hispanics (12 percent). • The largest group were of Chinese heritage (23 percent) followed by Filipinos and Japanese. • California has the largest Asian population (36 percent), with a rapid increase in New York and Texas.
Asian Americans • Asians from Vietnam, India, and South Korea have increased at the fastest rate. • Asians include a professional class of scientists, engineers, and physicians. • In Cupertino, California, Asian Americans make up 44.8 percent of the population.
Women • Women in higher office in 2004. • Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is often discussed as a future presidential candidate. • Condoleezza Rice served as national security advisor to President George W. Bush. • Two women sat as Associate Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. • Seventy-three women, including 14 senators, served in Congress • Nine women served as governors. • Madeleine Albright and Janet Reno served in the Clinton Administration.
Women • Women and the military. • More than 35,000 women served in the Persian Gulf War. • In 2002, 212,266 women were on active duty, making up more than 15 percent of the total personnel in the armed services. • Women in politics. • In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was nominated by Walter Mondale as his vice presidential choice. • Women occupy high office in all three branches of government. • Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg sit on the Supreme Court.
Women • Women in the workforce. • Only eight women in 2003 were chief executive officers of the top 500 American corporations. • The median income for women is only 77 percent of that of men. • In 2003, 68.3 million women in the workplace made up 47 percent of the labor force • Seventy-nine percent of all administrative support and clerical jobs are held by women. • In 2002, sixty percent of all adult women were employed. • Since 1983, several women have been crew members on space shuttle missions.
Women • The Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for women. • In 1972, Congress proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). • It was aimed at state laws that discriminate against women in marriage, property ownership, and employment. • The battle over the ERA represented a philosophical conflict between the traditional and modern views of women.
Women • Laws were designed to secure equal rights for women at the federal and state levels. • a. Laws include Title IX (nondiscrimination in schools receiving federal aid) while others called for equal credit opportunities and extending disability benefits to pregnant women. • b. In 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that women could be excluded from the military draft, yet more than half of the women who graduated from West Point requested and were assigned combat duty.
Women • Two major groups representing women's rights: the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Organization for Women (NOW). • The Caucus was formed in 1971 to increase the number of female delegates selected to national conventions and women in office. • The number of women holding public office is increasing. • So far, 197 women have served in Congress. • Four women served as Cabinet secretaries in the Clinton Administration. • In 2000, three women served as state governors.
Women • NOW, founded in 1966, has about 500,000 members working to improve employment opportunities for women, lesbians' rights, abortion rights, and the reform of laws dealing with women. • Sexual harassment is not just a women's issue, and has broader concern to all of society. • In 1991, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
Women • In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that a women suing her employer for sexual harassment does not have to show that she suffered severe psychological injury in order to collect damages. • In one poll, 22 percent of women were victims of domestic abuse by their husbands or partners.
Women • Abortion • No issue divided American society more. • Prochoice supporters believe abortion is a constitutional right for women. • Prolife supporters call abortion a violation of the rights of unborn children, even murder. • The debate revolves around when human life begins: at conception (prolife), or at some other point (prochoice). • Roe v. Wade (1973) ruled that no state may interfere with a women's right to an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. The decision struck down laws on the subject in 46 states.
Women • In the 1980s, the Supreme Court struck down laws designed to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion. • In the Webster case (1989), the Court let stand a number of restrictions on abortions. In 1990 the Court said states may require teens to notify their parents before having an abortion. In 1991 the Court upheld federal rules barring clinics that received federal funds from discussing abortion with clients. • In June 1992, in a Pennsylvania case involving spousal notification and other issues, the Court reaffirmed 5-4 the constitutional right to an abortion.
Women • In 2000, the Court struck down a Nebraska law banning partial birth abortions. • In 2003, President George W. Bush signed legislation banning the "partial-birth" or late-term abortion procedure. It is being challenged in court. • In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment banning Medicaid payments for abortions. • In 1994, President Clinton signed a law barring antiabortion demonstrators from blocking access to clinics or threatening patients. It did not prevent demonstrators from murdering abortion providers.
Gay Rights • In November 2003, Massachusetts' highest court ruled that gays have a right to marry. • In February 2004, President Bush proposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. • Thirty-seven states and the federal government have laws prohibiting gay marriages. • In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, recognizing only unions of a man and a women. • In May 2004, Massachusetts allowed gay marriage to take place.
Gay Rights • The Census Bureau counted 594,000 same-sex households. • A University of Chicago study released in 1994 states that 2.8 percent of American men and 1.4 percent of American women identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual. • According to poll date, 59 percent of the public believe that homosexuality is morally wrong. • In a 2003 Gallup Poll, 90 percent of all Americans tended to favor equal job opportunities for gays.
Gay Rights • By 2003, 242 communities had laws to protect gay people including rights in housing, employment, and other areas. • In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution does not protect homosexual relations between consenting adults. That was reversed in 2003.
Gay Rights • Congress has acted to protect the rights of gay persons. In 1988, Congress passed its first comprehensive AIDS legislation. • Includes $1 billion for research, drugs, home health care, and testing. • In 1992, President Clinton challenged the practice of dismissing gays from the armed services. • Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, then chairman of the Armed Services Committee, fought the president. • Human Rights Campaign (HRC) was founded in 1980 to elect officials who support gay rights.
Disabled Americans • There are about 53 million Americans with disabilities. • Problems exist for wheelchair-bound people gaining access to shopping malls, restaurants, employment, and transportation.
Disabled Americans • In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, banning discrimination against disabled persons in employment, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. • Applies to companies who employ more than 15 people. • New buses, taxis, hotels, phone booths, ATM machines, and other facilities must be made accessible to the disabled. • In spite of the Eleventh Amendment, George Lane was allowed to sue the state of Tennessee for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. He won.
Democracy Under Pressure Black and White: An American Dilemma
Black and White: An American Dilemma • The Rodney King beating case: a study in current U.S. race relations. • A videotape of white Los Angeles police officers beating a black speeding suspect named Rodney King shocked the nation. • King's injuries were severe, and the video showed that he was virtually subdued, and was surrounded by 15 officers who did not intervene. • The four officers, who were later tried for assault and excessive use of force, argued that King had aggressively resisted arrest.
Black and White: An American Dilemma • All four were acquitted, setting off a firestorm in predominately black South Central Los Angeles. • Some white drivers were dragged from their vehicles and beaten. • Three nights of destruction with fires and looting. Some 50 persons died, and more than 2,300 were injured, most of whom were Hispanic or African American. • Close to 14,000 were arrested as a result of the violence.
Black and White: An American Dilemma • Governor Pete Wilson sent in the National Guard and President Bush authorized federal agents to put down the violence. • Both the president and Rodney King went on television to urge that the violence stop. • The Justice Department, in the wake of the acquittals, charged the officers with federal civil rights violations. Two were convicted and two acquitted. • The fact that an incident like this could take place shocked many Americans. Blacks, who are familiar with race prejudice in society, were not as shocked.