Activists struggle for enfranchisement has allowed millions of African Americans voice to be heard in government. 66. 2 percent of African Americans voted in the presidential election in the year 2012. (Statistics, 2012) Integration laws have afforded African Americans the right to a quality education. 18.7 Percent of African Americans age 24 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In terms of legality there is nothing African Americans cannot do in American society today based on their race.
The 1970s is marked as an era of widespread pursuit of equality. The majority of Americans opposed the civil legislations enacted at this time. Unfortunately starting with Reagan the rise of deregulation has had massive effects on the economy, environment, and has stunted upward mobility for African and impoverished Americans alike. In light of African Americans political freedom other minorities and oppressed individual began vigorously lobbing for their rights in the 1970s. Homosexuals, disadvantaged, and women were among some of the citizens who formed organizations and petitioned under the civil rights act. Many of these activists followed the patterns of African American organizations. Evidence of Americans changing views on equal rights could be seen on popular television shows such as “All in the Family”. Conservatives fought against these reforms causing friction that mounted, eventually giving President Nixon a landslide victory.
A Few Major Set Backs…
President Richard Nixon was against civil rights, he displayed his unwillingness to assist African Americans in his blue-collar strategy (where he assisted workers who were not black or Jewish in the work field). Nixon’s works on the Philadelphia plan which would assist African and Hispanic Americans in constructions in Philadelphia; was halted. Jimmy Carter first elected president after Nixon supported civil rights. He established Martin Luther King Day, he had a dozen African Americans on his campaign staff, he also supported the equal rights amendment. Although Carter attempted he did not affect civil rights for African Americans in the 70s very much.
After Jimmy Carters presidency Americans felt they needed a strong capable and trustworthy president. As a result Americans supported Regan’s policies convinced they were the pinnacle of “The American Way”. Regan instilled the formation of the 1% and contributed to the epidemic of mass incarceration with the “three strikes rule”. The effects of his presidency will be felt for years to come.
Regan identified with Americans beliefs and appealed to their economic needs. Using his superb acting skills he convinced millions of Americans to deregulate business and cut taxes claiming it would assist the economy. This form of politics was deemed Reagonomics. He cut back on welfare programs by instilling the notion that those on welfare were ignorant lazy black women also known as “welfare queens”. Though he doubled America’s debt, as well as the defense budget, conservatives view his politics as effective because the economy flourished. The Gross Domestic Product in the US expanded due to () Though his policies appeared to be working deregulation attributed to the Great Recession in 2006.
During Regan’s presesideny in the 1980s just twenty years after civic reform was accepted and African Americans obtained political liberty and economic equality president Ronald Reagan caused the movement to regress. An excerpt from reagonprocon.org said it best. “Reagan opposed many important civil rights measures that further alienated him and the Republican Party from African-Americans. On Mar. 16, 1988, Reagan vetoed the Civil Rights Restoration Act. He was opposed to extending provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “ (Quote)
Present day Civil Wrongs
The long- term effects of Regan’s policies are seen in African American Communities today. African American men are facing mass incarceration. They make up one million of the 2.7 million prison inmates. (NAACP, n.d) Racial profiling has been a repeated detrimental act in the law enforcement system. “Although African Americans represent 13 percent of all drug users in the U.S., they make up 38 percent of arrestees for drug offensives” (US Courts, n.d)
“One in six black men had been incarcerated in the year 2001” (NAACP, n.d) these men are less likely to become productive members of society for numerous reasons. They are not allowed to vote. Their record will make it difficult for them to find a job; they are barred from joining the military. These men are confined to urban communities with high crime rates because their finances and criminal record will keep them from receiving a loan. Unable to produce money to support their families two out of every three will return to prison. (nytimes, 2014)
African Americans maintain the highest number of complaints about racial discrimination on the job with an average of 28,000 per year. (US Courts, n.d) African American women and men have been victims of prejudice in the workplace for decades. A recent example of institutional discrimination would be the military policy AR670-1. Army officials had placed a policy on all female soldiers, banning many hairstyles they felt were inappropriate. African American women believed this policy to be prejudice against them because they were forced to wear a weave, wig, cut their hair, or wear “neat” braids that could not be past a certain length or width. All of these options damage African American women’s hair and were typically expensive. A review of the policy relaxed some restrictions and took out any offensive language. (washingtonpost, n.d)
Across America there is mounting evidence to support the notion that the rich control this nation. Examples that support this notion would include; for every 100 impoverished Americans in prison there is one middle/elite class prisoner. Schools in impoverished communities are unable to give students a quality education. A large percentage of funding in higher education is in the form of loans. The risk of massive loan debt discourages impoverished students from attending more reputable colleges. The high cost of campaigning in America has caused presidency to be reserved for the wealthy. The gap between the proletariat (workers) and the bourgeoisie (owners of business) continues to increase, ` the long term effects of this injustice are unknown.
http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Jimmy_Carter_Civil_Rights.htm jimmy carter
http://reagan.procon.org/ Reagan statement
• Board, The Editorial. “End Mass Incarceration Now.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 May 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.
• Bureau, U.s. Census. The Diversifying Electorate–Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections) (n.d.): n. pag. May 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-568.pdf>.
• Us Census Bureau. (2014) Young- Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964-2012. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p20-573.pdf
• Sourcebook, African American Heritage, and Section 5B. A Discussion of Contemporary Issues Facing African Americans (n.d.): 1-7. http://www.iasb.uscourts.gov/. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.