How is the concept of racial segregation a violation of a free and just society? Identify examples of racial segregation in America currently? Explain.
Racial segregation is a violation of a free and just society by denying one group access to the same kinds of services and support as everyone else. This goes directly against the 14th Amendment, where everyone has the right to equal protection. These issues are problematic, as they will often keep specific segments of society impoverished by failing to offer them any kind of assistance or opportunities. For instance, in the areas of education, racial segregation ensured that whites were able to have the knowledge and skills to be successful in life. While minorities, were often forced to endure manual labor positions and did not have the ability to break out of this never ending cycle. At the same time, they were denied access to better housing and promotions in favor of whites. This gave one segment of society all of the benefits at the expense of the others. (Grofman, 2000)
To address these issues, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. It was designed to end segregation by forcing changes in hiring practices, promotions, education and housing. To enforce these provisions, they established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their job is to investigate and legally make everyone follow the law. However, over the years, various court cases have determined that the ability to impose certain quotas for minorities is considered be in violation of the 14th Amendment. This is because it is a form of reverse discrimination. It occurs by giving preferences to minorities over the majority, without looking at their qualifications. (Grofman, 2000)
In response, schools and employers have tried to follow these new guidelines. The problem is that another form of racial segregation is taking shape. This is occurring in communities where various minorities live. For the most part, they do not have as good of schools and fewer opportunities. While those areas, which are dominated by the majority, have better educational services, career choices and are upwardly mobile. (Grofman, 2000)
A good example of where racial segregation exists in America can be seen with the unemployment rates. Whites have the lowest rates with this sitting at 6.8%. While blacks are seeing 13.9% and Hispanics have 9.5%. (Ross, 2013) This is troubling, as it is showing how minorities make up a smaller percentage of the population. Yet, their rates of unemployment are dramatically higher in contrast with the majority. These figures are illustrating how racial segregation still exists inside America. The only difference it is beneath the surface.
To make matters worse, minorities are twice as likely to go to college as whites. However, their graduation rates are much lower. (“At Top Colleges an Admissions Gap for Minorities,” 2013) This hurts their ability to work in higher paying jobs and become upwardly mobile. In this case, one could argue that the curriculum at these institutions is slanted towards the majority. This is because the graduation rates are lower for minorities and there are fewer classes which identify with their experiences.
These examples are showing how segregation exists beneath the surface. However, it is not something which is outwardly utilized to give benefits to the majority. Instead, these shifts are based upon subtle changes which maintain the status quo. Inside the areas of unemployment and college graduation rates, is where they are the most pronounced. This is troubling, as it is illustrating how they are following law. Yet, they fail to account for what happens to these individuals in the future and the way this will shape their ability to change their lives for the better. In many ways, one could argue that segregation has become an economic variable that favors the majority over minorities. The result is that in spite all of their struggles in the past; the impacts are still limited for them.