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Civil Rights: Part II

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Christopher Arns

on 30 June 2015

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Transcript of Civil Rights: Part II

Civil Rights: Part II
Native American Rights
During the 19th century, Native Americans were forced onto reservations and often relocated against their will

Disease and war wiped out 80 to 90 percent of the native population as settlers spread across the continent. Currently, about 1 percent of the U.S. population identifies as being Native American

Native children were often separated from their families and sent to special schools where they were forced to give up their culture
Reservation schools have often been underfunded, leading to the creation of the National Indian Education Association
Latino and Chicano Rights
The Mexican American civil rights movement began in the 1940s, but actually has roots in the 1848 U.S.-Mexican War. Since that time, Mexican-Americans have experienced racism and discrimination

In 1914, a Colorado militia attacked striking coal miners in the Ludlow Massacre, killing more than 50 people—mostly Mexican-Americans
In 1943, U.S. Navy sailors and Marines clash with Latino youth in Los Angeles in the "Zoot Suit Riots." At the time, young Latinos had adopted a “zoot suit” culture with baggy pegged pants, pork pie hat and long watch or key ring chains.
Women's Rights
Before 1920, women did not have the right to vote in the United States. The Nineteenth Amendment established a women’s right to vote

The story of women’s rights actually starts in the mid-19th century. The 1848 Seneca Falls Convention was the first women’s rights summit in the United States

At first, the convention did not support
women’s suffrage
(right of women to vote), but attendees changed their minds after Frederick Douglass (prominent former slave and abolitionist) argued for it
LGBTQ Rights
LGBTQ Americans have often been victims of violence, prejudice and inequalit
y

The modern gay and lesbian movement started in 1969 in New York City

The movement started after a riot at the Stonewall Inn, one of the most popular gay taverns in the country at the time. Gays and lesbians fought back against a police raid on the bar (raids were common against the gay community during that time)
Persecution against gays and lesbians was common after World War II

People were often rejected for jobs or fired if suspected of being gay


The FBI monitored gays and lesbians and also kept track of their friends
The convention approved a Declaration of Sentiments that called for equal women’s rights. Feminism became a movement to establish equal political, social and economic rights for women
It took 70 years for women to finally secure the right to vote. Activists protested outside the White House, were arrested and underwent hunger strikes to protest the government’s failure to grant them the vote
Despite the right to vote, it’s not clear whether women have achieved feminist goals
Women earn between 70 to 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and that number drops for minority women
Women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population (2011), but only represent 19 percent of Congress (81 House representatives and 20 Senators in 113th Congress—a new record)
23.8 percent of women suffer domestic violence, as opposed to 11.5 percent of men
Women request raises and promotions in the workplace just as often as men, but actually get less than women who don’t ask. Men who ask do get more, which means women are actually punished for seeking advancement
Women only hold 4.2 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions
Latinos and the servicemen scuffled in the street. Later, a mob of thousands of U.S. Navy sailors roamed through the streets, dragging Latino youth from movie theaters, stores, and bars while beating them in the streets. In some cases, they attacked 12 and 13-year-olds. The servicemen stripped the young boys of their zoot suits and usually burned them.
An eyewitness account:
“Marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a mob of several thousand soldiers, sailors, and civilians, proceeded to beat up every zoot suiter they could find. Pushing its way into the important motion picture theaters, the mob ordered the management to turn on the house lights and then ran up and down the aisles dragging Mexicans out of their seats. Streetcars were halted while Mexicans, and some Filipinos and Negroes, were jerked from their seats, pushed into the streets and beaten with a sadistic frenzy.”
Hundreds of Latinos were arrested; only one service member was fined. A California government commission later found that racism was the cause of the violence.
Mexican-Americans had their own landmark
segregation
court case before Brown v. Board of Education
A 1947 federal appellate court case,
Mendez v. Westminster
, found that segregating Mexican-Americans into separate schools was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment
In 1954,
Hernandez v. Texas
was a Supreme Court case that established equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment for Mexican
-
Americans and other ethnic minority groups. The case stated that minority Americans were entitled to be tried by a jury of their peers (meaning other minorities)
Mexican-American civil rights were addressed by the Chicano Movement of the 1960s
“Chicano” was originally an insult for someone of Mexican descent. It eventually became a term associated with cultural pride. Chicanos refuse to be called “Mexican-American,” “Hispanic” or even “Latino.” It’s a term associated with activism and defiance against the dominant political culture. Chicanos also associate the term "chicano" with indigenous identity, so the Chicano movement often uses native symbols and artwork in their demonstrations.
The Chicano movement has addressed voting rights, farm workers’ rights and political rights
One of the most famous Chicanos in California was Cesar Chavez, a labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers union (and former zoot suiter)
Chavez protested inhumane conditions forced on migrant farm workers in the Central Valley. He led a famous protest march from Delano to Sacramento in 1965
Chavez, like Martin Luther King Jr., advocated nonviolence. He often fasted (like Mahatma Gandhi in India) to draw attention to the farm workers’ cause
The American Psychiatric Association actually defined gays and lesbians as sociopaths until 1973
Many states used to have anti-sodomy laws directed at gays, although the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that these laws were unconstitutional
LGBT teens have one of the highest rates of attempted suicides because of bullying
Since the 1990s, gay and lesbian Americans have fought to have equal opportunity under the law
From 1993 to 2011, servicemen and servicewomen were prohibited from revealing their homosexuality. The policy stated that gay and lesbian military members would be discharged if they revealed their sexual orientation. This policy was known as “don’t ask, don’t tell”
The policy was formally reversed in 2011
However, gay and lesbian Americans still do not have many of the same rights as straight Americans
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act bans benefits for spouses of federal employees, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and allows states to ignore same-sex marriage licenses granted in other states
In 2004, many states began passing constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Political scientists believe the Bush administration encouraged these bans to help drive conservatives to the polls in that year's presidential election
In 2008, California banned same-sex marriage with Proposition 8, a voter initiative that added the ban to the state constitution
The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in 2013.
The 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act guaranteed many civil liberties and civil rights to Native Americans, including equal protection under the law and due process
The American Indian Movement was founded in the same year. The AIM movement held several protests to raise awareness for native civil rights, including an occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969-1971, an occupation of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs national headquarters in 1971, and a 71-day armed standoff with federal agents at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973—the site of an infamous massacre of unarmed Native Americans by U.S. troops in 1890
Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rate in the United States: 28.4 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives were in poverty in 2010 (rest of nation: 15.3 percent)
They also suffer high rates of alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual assault
By some counts, unemployment is close to 90 percent on some native reservations
Crimes against natives, including sexual assaults, often go unprosecuted. Tribal police cannot prosecute non-natives and federal authorities often only file charges in 33 to 50 percent of cases
Full transcript