Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some of the Well-known Race Discrimination Cases in the United States

California employment discrimination is nothing common, just as it is in the whole country. Most of the time, such workplace bias is often based on race. However, thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other state laws such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employees working in the state are now protected from any adverse actions of their employers, especially if race is one of the motivating factors.

Speaking of discrimination on the basis of race, it is always good to reflect on how far the United States had gone through in terms of battling such form of bias not only in the workplace, but in society in general. A lot of racial discrimination cases in the previous decades have resulted in many landmark legal decisions, which directly changed the landscape of how the term “equality” should be defined as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

Here are some of the well-known race discrimination cases in the United States that were proven instrumental in laying the groundwork for societal equality among the American people:

•    Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954, this landmark case made racial segregation in the United States unconstitutional. Before that, the notion of a “separate but equal” society ruled much of the country for more than 60 years, thanks to the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896. It was during that time wherein racial minorities, particularly African-Americans, were excluded from engaging in activities and being in areas dominated by whites. If not for the Supreme Court’s decision on the Brown case, racial segregation may still be present in the country.

•    Guinn v. United States and Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections. Despite the 1870 ratification of the 15th Amendment, which gave black and other minority men the right to vote, a lot of states discourage them to vote. Good thing there were landmark cases that made it possible for them to exercise such right as amended by the Constitution. The Guinn case, for example, for one, nullified the grandfather clauses of 1915, which favored mostly white citizens. Moreover, the Harper case of 1966 abolished poll taxes that disenfranchised deprived citizens, particularly blacks.

•    Loving v. Virginia. In 1967, the Supreme Court deemed that marriages between mixed-race couples are unconstitutional. Along with the Brown case in 1954, the Loving case put an end to state-sponsored race discrimination in the country.

While these laws paved the way for providing equal treatment to people of all races, racism is still a prominent problem, especially in today’s society. But then again, the federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in all aspects of society, including employment, continue to protect people of all races and ethnicity from any adverse advances or actions.

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