I am completely and altogether feeling empowered by the knowledge that I have gathered throughout this last month. He... She... They... All of them... will be called to answer for their behavior by the laws that govern this land. Throughout this month of discussion and research and more discussion and more research, I have come to a deep realization of the significance of the civil rights movement. The individuals that endured the Jim Crow era did so out of necessity rather than choice and I can only be grateful for their strength.
Early in life, I was very much inspired by Black leaders. I remember the first time I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and saw the movie. I was blown away by how similar I felt in my inability to break free from the lopsided system of racial equality in America. Though I admired Martin Luther King Jr. and his leadership in the call for equality through non-violence, people like Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey resonated more with me.
Since as long as I can remember, I have had a problem with the colonization of Hawai'i. Of course I didn't call it that as a little girl but I see it for what it is today. In my young adult years, I crafted my own ideas of a more suitable system of living for me. To the surprise of many of my peers, I preferred segregation over integration. Given the same access to resources, it is safe to assume that many of us would prefer to live, love, learn, and die with our own kind or with people who share the same values. So why am I sharing all of this? Well... I sat on the fence for a long time on the Civil Rights movement. Call me a crazy person but I could not reconcile how I feel about integration and whether or not it was good for us. But I get it now. I realize that we needed equal access that our Caucasian counterparts enjoyed. However after the first or second generation of the Civil Rights movement, has anything really changed in terms of services? Things that make you go hmmmm....
Today -- the importance of the Civil Rights movement for me is that it called the United States government on its acceptance of the massive inequalities between the Caucasians in America and everyone else, especially African-Americans. The government had to restructure its culture of racism to one of tolerance. I don't necessarily agree with the idea of "tolerance" because no one wants to be tolerated. Rather, most people prefer to be accepted in its entirety and not just tolerated. In any case, the result of the Civil Rights movement was that it became the government's job to take corrective action when a person's civil rights has been violated. It is still the government's job to correct prejudices based on race, sex, age, gender, etc. These organizations and representatives of these organizations must be called on their racist, ageist patterns of doing business!