The Supreme Court’s ruling today in favor of the Connecticut Firefighters, who claimed they were unfairly denied promotions based on their skin color, does more than just set a legal precedent. It reverses the logic many people have, that the “payback approach” to racial discrimination is no longer acceptable.
Years ago, it was socially acceptable for white people to discriminate against minorities. To a minority back then, this wasn’t simply an unfortunate event. It was an outrage, which had no manner of reversing itself without changing the public perception of equal rights.
Fast forward to today. A lot has changed as far as equal rights are concerned. There are now laws concerning the treatment of minorities in the workplace, many of which were the focus of the lawsuit brought up by the CT Firefighters. Some minorities, however take these laws to an extreme. They feel that because their ancestors were treated unequally that they should have the right to treat whites unfairly today to make up for prior injustices.
Does the need for revenge against a previous generation’s wrongs justify discrimination against a group of individuals who have done no wrong? Just because the white people of today have the same skin color as the white people from years ago doesn’t justify discriminating against them in any way. No matter how “privileged” they may appear to be, it doesn’t justify discrimination to level the playing field.
Right now, you might be thinking “alright so this guy is probably going to preach about the Sotomayor nomination”. While her nomination to the Supreme Court is an important issue and her views should be considered, I feel that the more important topic to discuss is the racial issues plaguing the public opinion.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against employment discrimination towards any individual on the bases of race and color, in addition to national origin, sex, and religion. The law says nothing about one’s own personal feelings or attitudes towards another race, sex, religion, etc.
This is where public opinion plays a role. If you want to dislike someone because of the color of their skin, where their family came from, or which God they pray to that is your own prerogative. However, society in turn will look at you as if you’re an ignorant fool because of it. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re white and you dislike a Hispanic person because of their heritage, or if you’re black and you dislike a white person because they appear to be more “privileged” than you. Society should frown upon both actions equally.
Sadly, it doesn’t do so all the time, and this is where the true injustices lie. In an effort to correct the wrongs of previous generations, often times people who have done no wrong are left to suffer the consequences of mistakes made often times before they were even born.