The Civil Rights Act of 1964 stands among the most revolutionary laws in U.S. history. Critics of a new and growing “racial justice” movement say we don’t enforce it, live by it or respect it.
The law’s tumultuous passage epitomizes the old comparison of legislatures and sausage factories. Leading Democrats filibustered the bill while others fought for it. Key Republicans helped pass it. President Lyndon B. Johnson — a southern Democrat notorious for his frequent use of the N-word in the White House — signed it into law. The result of a messy process helped make the United States the envy of the world.
The law has helped our economy flourish and made this country a favored destination of every oppressed ethnic, racial and religious minority demographic around the globe. It codified the vision stated by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who dreamed of a world in which white and Black children held hands and all were judged on the content of their characters without regard to ethnic identities, religious identity or skin color.
The basics of the law are simple. It outlaws “discrimination” by governments, public schools and places of public accommodation on a basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Updates forbid institutionalized discrimination on a basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
The law’s intent may explain why so many Americans around the country were shocked by the widely distributed photo outside a Denver Public School promoting a “Families of Color Playground Night” on Dec. 8. The same school district recently implemented an “equity policy” to focus students’ attention on “implicit bias” and “equitable” outcomes based on race instead of character, skills and accomplishments.
The Civil Rights Act may explain why a handful of parents with children at a Colorado Springs-area school took umbrage when a sociology teacher told a student he could not speak about the Ku Klux Klan because he was white. The teacher quickly apologized and contextualized the comment.
The Civil Rights Act may explain why parents in Colorado’s Douglas County School District stormed a school board meeting to oppose a “No Place for Hate” curriculum that defines racism as “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.”
The Civil Rights Act may explain why Republican Glenn Youngkin this year became the governor of Virginia, a heavily Democratic state, mostly by standing up for parents concerned about school instructions that tell Black children they are helpless victims of privileged white children.
Whether taught under course names that include “equity,” “critical race” or other fuzzy verbiage, parents all over the countr
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