America’s Civil Rights

Peter - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on May 11, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: equality

Civil Rights; what are they? Who has them? Who should have them? Who secures them? Society today presents numerous complications to these questions. In addition, many individuals in today’s American society do not acknowledge with one another, which generates an unequal civilization. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it is just how people with different ethnicities, cultures, races, backgrounds, and mindsets coexist together in one nation. No one is to blame for the lopsided distribution of Civil Rights but humans themselves. I am not attempting to derogate American but revealing the truth that Civil Rights will always remain a primary issue in the United States of America.

I believe Civil Rights are the privileges and rights that guarantee basic freedoms to individuals. Rights such as the right to own property, partake in legal actions, equal protection under the law, equal opportunities in education and work, to live, travel, use public facilities, and influence the political system all belong to the people. However, the United States maintains a population of over three hundred thousand people. Furthermore, how it is possible for the entre population to agree on Civil Rights? Within the three hundred thousand individual mindsets, there are countless cultures, religions, and ethic backgrounds. I believe there no possible way for everyone to agree with one other on Civil Rights.

About twice a week, my Mom hires a Hispanic man named Adrian, to work in the garden around my house. Adrian’s life altered my own answer to who has Civil Rights? Does Adrian obtain identical rights as me? Even though Adrian has the right to work in American, he does not maintain other rights including the right to influence the government. In fact, Adrian is forced to travel back to Mexico in order receive a work visa once a year. Given that Adrian is not a citizen of the United States he does not possess the same Civil Rights that a citizen would such as me. I believe that Adrian along with other noncitizens and citizen occupants of America do not posses the same rights as others.

I believe only citizens legally bear all rights; however, I believe not all citizens physically obtain the rights “guaranteed” to them. American history recorded multiple accounts of abused rights. America held African Americans captive in slavery for centuries before the installation 13th Amendment. The American government ordered the deaths of thousands of Native American before stripping them of their land. Again, the government felt like these groups should not uphold rights because of their individual ideology. In today’s world, the same problem occurs, ethic groups not receiving rights while others do.

I believe Mary Frances Berry’s, a respected American writer, quotation, “Civil Rights opened the windows. When you open the windows, it does not mean that everybody will get through.” It is not only the government’s job to secure rights. All the government does is “open the window”. After the window is open, society must help one another get through to achieve equality.