Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fighting Against Unjustness

Discrimination towards African-Americans continued after the Civil War. Most of white built paradigm that African-Americans were proud to be the second-class citizens due to their unintelligence and weak power compared to white. During decades, they worked as a labor in white homes in order to fulfill their needs. It might be true that Civil War Amendment struggled for blacks by enabling Congress and States in creating equality. However, blacks still need greater effort to be accepted as citizens with the same exact civil rights implementation as whites.
By the end of nineteenth century, disenfranchisement and segregation towards Civil War Amendment happened because of Jim Crow Laws. This law legalized segregation between white and blacks in using public facilities as well as accommodations (Saylor, 159). Basically, there were three main ideas regarding to blacks’ limitation, especially in the voting process. They were poll tax which asked voters to pay, literacy test as a way to ensure voters ability in reading, and white-only primaries which prevented blacks and whites in influencing Democrats candidate in the election. At first, these seem fair for both whites and blacks. However, the practice was different. One of the examples lies in the literacy test where blacks got difficult type of questions while white easier. This rule even supported by grandfather clause which enabled whites to vote even if they failed as long as their grandfathers were registered as a voter before the Civil War.
Due to the unjustness of Jim Crow Laws, Supreme Court emphasized that federal government did not even have a right to ruin individual’s right. Therefore, the Court supported Plessy v. Ferguson case in establishing “Separate but Equal” notion to underline that race did not determine the unequal protection towards people (Saylor, 160). It can be said that both whites and blacks receive the same treatment although they were separated. Not only that, they were also some mobility against segregation; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909 served as a interest group who likes sue people under the case of equality, World War I (WWI) caused blacks got more freedom since white immigrate to Europe in order to find job, and World War II (WWII) enforced black men learn on how to fight to defend their families.
Ironically, in the 1940s, the practice of the notion “Separate but Equal” has to be ended. It happened due to the existence of Brown v. Broad of Education which was finally supported by the Supreme Court to end segregation. This case emphasized that separation will never create equality. Because of this, blacks began doing a mass movement in their colleges and churches (Saylor, 162). One of the most famous movement done by Rosa Parks who rejected a rule to give a sit for whites. It caused she was being arrested. However, this significantly brought impact in declaring equality by boycotting Montgomery bus led by Martin Luther King Jr. although in the end, the Court rejected this action (Saylor, 163). Furthermore, another movement also happened by 1960s. It was Greensboro four who bravely had a lunch in white’s restaurant. The same as Rosa Parks, they were jailed but also successfully influence the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to do more confrontational actions (Saylor, 164).
These actions show how blacks want to be not only officially recognized as US citizens, but also gain the same rights implementation as whites. Luckily, their effort heard by Congress which then pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect them towards discrimination against “race, color, religion, or national origin” (Saylor, 166). It also applied the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as well as asked primary and secondary school to teach students both their native language and English as a Second Language (ESL). In addition, a year after passing Civil Rights Act, Congress also approved the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to help the use of each individual political right. This act regulated the voting document to be written in the voter’s original language, too out the literacy test, and ensured the federal government monitored the voting process.
The above two acts, unfortunately, trigger the benefits for other minorities, women, lesbians, gay men, and disabled. The examples can be seen from the idea of ESL which benefited Latinos to learn English, the recognition of Asian Americans as US citizen in 1988 where 62% of them being arrested during WWII, and the protection of Native Americans by the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) of 1968 (Saylor, 174). Furthermore, the 19th Amendment has also served as the first women’s right to vote. It enabled women to get protection against sexual harassment. These benefits were accumulated in the affirmative action which increased the greater involvement of minorities and women in the workplace as well as attend higher education (Saylor, 168). Not only that, lesbians and gay men were finally able to vote and supported by EEOC to get the same opportunity in the workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were also enable people with disabilities to get access towards public facilities (Saylor, 183).
Diversity might become the most crucial and sensitive problem in the past with some cases keep happening today. However, with a good understanding towards diversity and awareness to be global citizen, people starts to realize that diversity is a gift.
The Saylor Foundation. (n.d.). American government and politics in the information age. Retrieved from http://www.saylor.org/books
Sokol, J. (2008). White southerners’ reactions to the civil rights movement. Retrieved from http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/publication/2009/01/20090106143801jmnamdeirf0.9369623.html 

Minority’s Power in Judicial Offices

Judges have crucial role in the judicial power to solve any disputes both categorized as civil and criminal cases. In the mid-nineteenth century, the process of choosing state’s judges had metamorphosed from appointive system into election. This transformation explicitly explained the hope of states toward judges to truly represent their community (Ifill, 1998). However, this hope becomes only a will in Texas. According to the data of total judges in 2014, it noted that 77% of Texas’s judges were whites although the population of African American combined with Hispanics reaches 50% in this States (Texas Politics 2015, 7.10). This condition leads to representation gap between whites and minority group.

            In 2011, federal judges found some cases indicated as discriminatory intend towards minority group in Texas. One of the examples is redistricting area or usually called as gerrymandering. While drawing the 23rd congressional district, Texas lawmakers deceived Hispanic’s district by taking over the district of active Hispanic’s voters and change it into Hispanic who tend to be apathetic towards voting. This widened the chance of whites to win the election. Furthermore, lawmakers had also intentionally reduced the number of minority’s districts in congressional seats. According to census of 2010, Texas’s population has increasing rapidly which dominated by 65% of Latino and resulted on gaining more representatives in Congress. However, although 14 districts claimed as Latino’s, Texas lawmakers only registered 10 of them. As the result, Latino had limited power to vote their representatives. The issue became even worse when minority groups had complicated requirement to get their voter-ID. They need to go to state Department of Public Safety Office and pay for high cost to get the required document. Most of African American as well as Hispanic who was more likely poorer compared to white had difficulties to afford it (Beckett & Lee, 2013).

            The above cases reflect a great strategy done by lawmakers to weaken the Voting Rights Act among minorities; they made transparent all the needs of this Act to benefit whites. Although these cases can be considered as civil case, however, it remains debatable to make sure that redistricting will trigger a party sue another party since both Democrats and Republicans usually done it together for the sake of their own party. Therefore, none of them will sue one another. Before 2000, state courts have right to regulate redistricting process although today it becomes the responsibility of federal judges (Boatright, 2001). Yet state judges still play important role in investigating the issue. In the past, the condition was not balance where whites or Republicans become more powerful rather than minority group especially African American who belongs to Democrats in almost all governmental branches. If Democrats party intended to sue Republicans, they would mostly fail due to the inexistence of their supporting power in state’s government. When they tried to rely on fairness value towards states court nonetheless, they would not get succeed either due to limited number of their representatives in judicial branch. In so doing, people are concerned on the issue of having equal representative in state courts exceptionally state trial courts.

            State trial courts have lower level compared to appellate courts since every dispute will be brought, proceed, and decided in trial courts before appealing process in appellate courts. For that reason, trial judges become intimately close with the disputes both for understanding the root of the cases as well as analyzing certain circumstances that will affect their decision (Ifill, 1998). Since people rely on them to represent their community’s values, many highly personal disputes asked them to find a solution. Hence, any subjectivity could not be ignored. In the United States, racial discrimination does still exist although not as extreme as in 1880s or 1990s. This becomes such a tradition in this country as well as downgraded into each states including Texas.

The racial discrimination is such provincialism; never be objective in valuing any objects and issues. If this applies in trial courts, trial judges will only struggle for cases of people with the same race; zero chance for another race to win the case. As the consequence, when minority groups’ representatives absent on this judicial offices, minorities’ voice will mostly be neglected. Therefore, more minorities should hold judicial offices. If this happens, Texas will able to eliminate redistricting issues as well as any other issues and make fairness truly implement among its citizens regardless their race. 

The Texas Politics Project. (2015). Texas politics (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/textbook
Beckett, L., & Lee, S. (2013). Five ways courts say texas discriminated against blacks and latinos voters. Retrieved from https://www.propublica.org/article/five-ways-courts-say-texas-discriminated-against-black-and-latino-voters
Ifill, S. A. (1998). Judging the judges: racial diversity, impartiality, and representation on state trial courts. Boston College Law Review, 39(1), 95-149. Retrieved from http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2086&context=bclr
Boatright, R. G. (2001). Judicial independence and partisan politics. A Paper for the Brennan Center Conference on Judicial Independence, The University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rboatri1/brennan.html