The New Civil Right Movement – What are the Priorities?

The decade of the 1960s is often deemed by some observers as the high watermark in civil rights movement. The decades after saw a change in emphasis and tactics, provoking some scholars and columnists to question whether the priorities have shifted from civil rights promotion to other issues in the society.

Lots of liberals are of the viewpoint that blacks should not assume public positions on issues such as tax policy, energy, and unemployment. Instead, their focus and concentration should be on the moral obligation to secure civil rights for minorities.

At one time, the New York Times put a similar argument in its editorial which said that black leaders are increasingly assuming economic issues while ignoring the real agenda that informed the founding of the movement.

Adjusting Strategies with the Times

Changing conditions require that tactics and strategies should be adjusted also. In the 1960s, the main objective of the black community was to achieve equality which the law had denied them for so long. Their goals were much simpler; to sit anywhere on the bus, to eat at the lunch counter, and to drink clean water, check into a hotel, and vote just like the rest. The representatives were known and the issues were clear cut.

The modern chapter of civil rights movement has bigger challenges than clamoring for the basic civil rights which were won through legislation, executive powers, and judicial decisions over 5 decades ago. For instance, black people can be able to check into a hotel today without any discrimination, but the challenge is, the wherewithal to check out.

The famous 1963 March in Washington DC was for jobs and freedom. To a larger extent, the basic legal rights were won, but jobs are still a problem to the black community. This means the question of whether concerns for housing, health, urban policies, and other issues are still part of civil rights is misplaced because they were from the beginning.

The Concern of Improving Life Chances

Black people continue to struggle even today because from the word go, they were placed on a lower track where they had to fight for survival. The rights which were granted in the 1960s are literally hollow unless they are matched with opportunity and skills to enable African Americans, Latinos, and Hispanics to compete on the same platform as the whites.

The modern civil rights movement is simply saying that the American society should understand that black people are after equality in real life and not just legislation in law books which covers the undercurrent of racism.

The single line that connects the civil rights movement has never and will never change even in the years to come until the barriers are lowered and the blacks are in a position to pursue equal opportunities in all areas of life.

The strategies the black civil rights movement must be committed to develop now should be around modern issues such as metropolitan government and the internal regulation of both the federal and state agencies. The battleground has shifted from the street corners to computer room where real data is examined and shared.