Bigotry through Subversion: How the Law Hides Prejudiced Intentions

by / 0 Comments / 33 View / July 8, 2015

Everyone who has taken a history class has heard the words, “History repeats itself.” These words came to mind while I was planning for my academic advisory interview, to be admitted into Teacher Education. In trying to connect history to present-day society, I thought of the French Revolution and the Arab Springs. The next repetition I thought of was black, to gay. More specifically I thought about the post issues of civil rights movements that are not taught in the textbooks.

Personally, in my high school textbook it was as if racism ended after Brown v. Board of Education. It was as though racism ended after segregation did. This is a myth, particularly since governmental policies after integration became indirect racist policies, some of which remain today. If racist politicians cannot be openly racist, they will do so silently. They will pass “Stop and Frisk” laws. If politicians want to openly discriminate against individuals of the LGBT community they will create “Religious Freedom” bills.

Millennials do not have a single civil rights movement to combat. Millennials are currently fighting what is rising to the public eye: homophobia and systemic and institutional racism. The latter is seen in modern day society as a debate because laws and policies that are racially targeting are supposedly not directly racist. By this I mean racial persecution is not written in the legislation. The question thus arises, how can such policies create a system of oppression based on race?

For example: National Housing Act of 1934 created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA founded the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), HOLC in return created maps designed to meet the requirements of the Federal Housing Administration‘s underwriting manual. These maps deemed areas by worthiness to invest in, through this came the process of redlining. Redlining became the new form of discrimination. To segregate whites from people of color banks redlined areas. Through redlining banks determined what home ownership areas would be for white people, and what home ownership areas will be for people of color. Banks had the ability to give out loans, and because of such, banks were able to deny loans to people of color if they wanted to buy a house outside of the red line of which they drew. This formed areas that became known as the “ghettos.”

Redlining is the beginning of secretive racial discrimination in terms of government policies. Policies today for example are stop and frisk laws. Stop and Frisk laws allow police to stop individuals and frisk them, without warrant. Without the need for warrant police have the ability to stop whomever they choose without someone higher holding them accountable for their actions. Because of the law, law enforcement has an open door for discrimination, which they already have a record for. Black individuals are twice as likely to be pulled over than white individuals. Since racism is still existing, Stop and Frisk laws are racially targeting.

But how does this relate to LGBT laws? Stop and Frisk is not targeting the LGBT community? I would say that it is not. Stop and Frisk is however an example of non direct racial discrimination, which is what the LGBT community is beginning to face as conservative legislators accept that they have lost this civil rights movement and cannot be openly homophobic. So instead, these legislators decided to be sneaky about their homophobia.

Previously this year, House Bill 1125 passed Oklahoma’s house. This bill would end secular marriage licenses in the state of Oklahoma. In addition this bill would ban all state judges and secular officials from performing marriages in the state. When asked why such law, sponsoring Representative Todd Russ claimed that passage of such bill would keep clerks out of having to recognize same sex couples.

Also previously this year the United States saw one bill after another declaring “Religious Freedom.” These religious freedom bills would give any private business the right to discriminate against anyone in the name of religion, as if hate has its own religion. Passing of such laws will make discrimination of LGBT people from any private business legal, including housing and medical care.

Racism does not simply die when the government stops directly persecuting people based on race. Homophobia will not die in terms of governmental policy when marriage equality in fully succeeded. History repeating itself is an important message for everyone to hear. As society sees by watching the news of protest in Baltimore, racism is not dead in this country, and systemic institutional racism still exist in this country as long as black Americans are incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white Americans, as long as black individuals are pulled over twice as much as white individuals. Racism is not over as long as there is a racial divide among social, political, capital resources. Homophobia will not be dead as long as sexuality is the leading cause for homeless youth. Homophobia will not be dead as long as LGBT people can be legally terminated from employment for being LGBT.

References

Associated Press. “Marsh: Religious Freedom Bills Targeting Gays Likely Dead.” www.washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times, 21 May 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

Garcia, Arturo. “Oklahoma One Step Closer to Turning Marriage over to Clergy to Spite Gays, Atheists.” Www.rawstory.com. Raw Story, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); Gregory D. Squires, ed., Insurance Redlining: Disinvestment, Reinvestment, and the Evolving Role of Financial Institutions (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press 1997)