Twentieth Century Seen the Triumph Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2201 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

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An employer might contend, however, that his or her own individual rights are violated by the act, to run his or her business the way he or she wishes to.

Although the allowance for small businesses in numbers less than fifteen persons gives a certain speciousness to this claim, it remains a valid contention that what constitutes an individual or a collective is not always as clear cut and fixed as the law might allow. My individual right as a businessperson, for instance, to hire waitresses rather than waitors, because I think the largely male clientel at my string of diners prefers to see a pretty girl in the uniform, as opposed to a more qualified lanky teenage boy, violates the individual rights of the potentially more qualified male employees. In another case, the employee's membership in a discriminated against upon group, perhaps historically discriminated against group, outweighs the individual rights of the owner or owners of a business, the 'employers.' It also outweights the collective desire of a state to limit the rights of a minority group.

Thus, the problem addressed by the act is that there is no true existence of an 'individual' in America -- every individual is a member of some collective organization, whether it be a racial, religious, sexual, or ethinic group, and every individual exists more than as an 'individual' -- an individual is also an employer, a voter, and an employee, as well as a member of a potentially discriminated against group. My right as a voter to enact 'states rights' segregational legislation in the South is tempered by an African-American's right to educate his or her child in a nondiscrimatory fashion, in a fair and free manner.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Twentieth Century Seen the Triumph Assignment

Thus, American individualism did triumph with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the sense that the Confederate definition of states rights vs. individual rights was finally decided against in a coherent fashion -- it was determined that the right of a state to oppress a minority population was not teneble in modern American society. It was not in keeping with the American sense of legal self-definition. However, since this definition, Americans have had to come to grips with the fact that individual protectionism is not so easy to define, when individals' definitions of themselves have become increasingly pluralized and shifted. African-Americans demand the right to have their children educated in all-Black schools, while women demand that their daughters have the option of single-sex math classes -- to say nothing of the ideal of 'community policing' and community-based employment as a way of urban reconstruction and enrichment.

In other words, historically discriminated groups, whose individual populations were supposed to be protected by the individually focused anti-discrimination legislation of the act, have now rediscovered the value of communal identification. In some ways, this is only fitting, given that the act itself was made possible through sources of community identification, rather than a mere individual assertion of rights. Rosa Parks may provide a face for the bus boycott, but she was only one of many, and without 'the many' the objective of the movement would not be achieved. But in years to come, the American legal system must find a teneble way once again to balance the right of association amongst historically discriminated against groups, particularly those identified as minorities, and still be able to protect the rights of members of those groups as individauls. The law continues to shift and change in response to societal demands, as does the definition of what constitues an individual under the law.

Works Cited

Johnson, Michael P. Reading the American Past. New York: St. Martins, 2002.

King, Martin Luther. "I've been to the Mountaintop." Additional information retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 6, 2003 at http://www.afscme.org/about/kingspch.htm.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additional information retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 6, 2003… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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