is upon us. Republicans at every level of government are zealously
rolling back the civil and constitutional rights of ethnic minorities
and other citizens. In the election of 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes, the
GOP presidential standard bearer, agreed to an arrangement with his
Democratic rival, Samuel J. Tilden, to win the disputed presidential
struck an informal deal to resolve the contest, the Compromise
which awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes. In exchange for this
concession by the Democrats, the Republicans agreed to withdraw
federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction,
removing the legal protections for the ex-African American slaves for
whom GOP President Abraham Lincoln spearheaded the passage of the
13th amendment in 1865 to abolish slavery after the Civil War ended.
He had already issued his Emancipation
1863, which freed slaves in states that were still in rebellion.
end of Reconstruction ushered in what the noted late historian,
Rayford Logan, termed the nadir of Black life. Post-1876, a slew of
anti-Black ordinances and federal laws passed. One of the most
v. Ferguson in
1895, made separation of the races legal in all aspects of American
social life until the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)
overturned it in its 1954 Brown
v. Board of Education
the racial demographics trend toward ethnic minorities (Asian and
Pacific Islander, Latinx, Indigenous, and African Americans)
collectively becoming the new American majority, we have witnessed
substantive revisions in rights long considered settled law - voting
rights, a woman’s right to an abortion, and the diminution of
an adequate public education, especially as low-income ethnic
minority students are the majority populations in K-12 public
rights were substantially reduced in 2013 in the Shelby
case in Alabama where Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act (VRA),
pre-clearance for changes in voting, was eliminated. As ethnic
minority populations rapidly increased, particularly in the South,
many Whites felt the growth of ethnic minority voters would cause a
major shift in political power toward Democrats as they received the
lion’s share of the ethnic minority vote.
election of America’s first African American President in 2008
heightened White worries of Blacks taking over the country, and his
winning handily further escalated these White fears. It is not ironic
that the Shelby
suit was filed against Eric Holder, the nation’s first Black
Attorney General and also in the state, Alabama, which was the
linchpin for passage of the 1965 VRA.
woman’s access to a safe and legal abortion has long been
accepted as a right that would always be with us since a solid
majority of Americans have supported it since the 1973 SCOTUS ruling
But there has always been sub
opposition to pregnancy termination by evangelicals and other
religious groups who subscribe to the historical and traditional
roles of women as child bearers, homemakers, and nurturers - with men
always making decisions about their lives.
the past five decades, several states, with Pennsylvania being the
most prominent prior to the current assaults on abortion, have
advanced legislation to restrict the reach of Roe,
to repeal it entirely and making steady inroads toward that end.
running for President in 2016, Donald Trump promised to only appoint
SCOTUS Justices, who would nullify Roe.
When he got his chances - three of them - he fulfilled his promise by
appointing three conservative Justices all opposed to abortion, which
flipped SCOTUS to a 6-3 conservative majority. With the Court set to
issue final rulings on the Texas and Mississippi abortion cases in
June 2022, Roe
appears to be history.
Education has been on a tortuous path since SCOTUS decided Brown
in 1954. Back then, many naively believed that desegregation of the
nation’s public schools would lead to equity in funding for
facilities, curriculum, instruction, teachers, and support staff.
However, “the powers that be” always found ways to get
around fairness in these areas.
the ethnic minority proportion of K-12 public school students swiftly
increased, all the aforementioned school supports deteriorated -
proportional to their numbers in the schools they attended. The
promise of Brown
in the past, when segregated schooling was most severe in the eleven
Southern states of the old Confederacy, today it is concentrated in
CA, IL, MD, MN, NJ, NY, and many large and small urban communities.
In addition, there is now a robust discussion over what desegregation
means now when there are four minority groups to consider: Asian and
Pacific Islanders, Latinx, African American, and Indigenous students.
does it mean when these groups and their sub-groups progress at
different levels in different regions of the country?
disturbing is the continued and increasing under-funding of public
schools serving minorities and the poor. Along with this reality, we
are witnessing growing economic, political, and gender apartheid
between America’s White and ethnic minority groups in all
spheres of our national life. The GOP is orchestrating these efforts
while Democrats appear to have few clues regarding what is happening
and how to stop it.
are successfully derailing what many considered to be settled laws
with limited Democratic pushback.