Aug 08, 2020

Times, they are a’changin’ – 40 years late

IT’S 2000 FREAKING 7 — almost 90 years since women got the right to vote and more than 40 years since the civil rights movement.

Yet a high school in Turner County, Ga. just held its first integrated prom. To clarify that antiquated term: integrated means black students and white students interacting and sharing a singular event. In previous years, two private dances were held — one for white students and one for black students.

What’s still more baffling is that one of the students who was interviewed by CNN said the students who weren’t attending the first mixed races prom were either working or not allowed to go by their parents. Apparently, according to the student, some of the parents of white students did not want their children mixing with (derogatory word deleted) students.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream in 1963 — apparently it took a high school in Georgia
44 years to wake up.

While students of all races sharing the same watered-down punch are definitely a step in the right direction, it’s approaching the half-century mark of “No duh.�

After prom comes graduation and having achieved an integrated prom through a student vote and the support of a new principal, these students can look forward to college life and eventually employment. And that’s when the female students will face discrimination of another kind.

A new study found that women in their first year out of college make about 80 percent of what their male counterparts were making.

However, 10 years into their career, women would only be make about 69 percent of what men do.

The study took into account hours worked, what the jobs were and the presence of children. The study looked at the fact that women traditionally study for careers in lower paying jobs, such as teaching and health, while men can be found in abundance in things like engineering and math.

Still, in the field of education, female teachers can expect to make only 95 percent of what male teachers do.

There are laws against all of this.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregation was unconstitutional. Discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin was prohibited when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court upheld integration in schools again in 1971.

Women’s right to vote was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. John F. Kennedy established a commission on the status of women in 1961 to look for areas in need of improvement. Title VII of the same 1964 Civil Rights Act also prohibited discrimination based on sex and the idea of equal employment opportunities was brought to light. And finally, it should be noted that in 1964 the Equal Pay Act made it illegal to pay women less for the same job because of their sex.

So, it’s 2007 and all of this legislation was passed in the last 30 to 40 years. You’d think people might have heard of it by now.

How was it that by, say 1980, no one in Turner County, Ga. said, “Hmm, it’s 1980, civil rights were enacted more than 15 years ago, maybe our kids should share a prom.�
If anything, it would be more cost effective. Why rent two banquet halls, when one big one will do?

Why haven’t more women who are making less money than their equally qualified male counterparts stepped forward and said, “Wow, I am tired of making $40,000 a year when Jim down the hall is making almost $50,000 for the exact same work. If I had $10,000 more each year, I could take a nice cruise.�

Overall, what is surprising to me is that apparently these discrepancies weren’t upsetting anyone enough in the last 30 or so years to make them do something about it. Why don’t people take a stand more often?

People, particularly Americans, are complacent. We don’t mind making less. We protest what we don’t like on the appropriate anniversary. We celebrate Martin Luther King’s accomplishments each year on the day of his birth, yet as we approach the 40th anniversary of his death a high school just had it’s first integrated prom.
Wake up.

Notice what is going on around you. Stop being complacent.

It’s about time.

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