Viewing page 365 of 516

July 29- Aug. 1, 1984 - Cleveland, Ohio

Segregation laws so fixed that they had become customs are now history. The open exclusion of blacks from places of public accommodation is no longer deemed acceptable, but racial discrimination in public places remains and often in quite blatant forms. Despite the abolition of dejure segregation, the determination of some whites to exercise dominance over blacks even if on the meanest grounds remains strong. White determination of that character dilutes the right of equal access as to even the most successful blacks who must always remain vigilant that the outright rejection or the tale by the kitchen i really because the facility is full.

More significant are the unemployment and other statistics revealing the crisis-level economic depression in much of the black community. Entitlement to stay at an expensive hotel or eat in a good restaurant remains a useless rights for many blacks. And for all of us who once viewed segregated facilities as the heart of racism, there is every reason to know that the stigma of racial segregation, as painful as it was, constituted only one weapon in the seemingly endless arsenal of those who today view America as did those who founded it as a country intended for white people.

The pattern of great progress with less real change than was either expected or needed, detailed here at some length in the once all-important field of public accommodations, is quite similar to those experienced in other fields, educating, voting, and employment, whose greater importance is now clear. But as the following reviews of the desegregation of voting, education, and employment opportunities will reveal, clarity of understanding does not always insure effectiveness of effort.

The heat and rancor eminating from the decade-long debate over both the ethical as well as the legal appropriateness of affirmative action policies is due to the continued unwillingness of many whites to recognize not only that blacks have been unjustly dealt with throughout the history of the country, but that those injustices both disadvantaged blacks and provided advantages to whites that would not have existed without racism. And to the extent there is an intellectual understanding of the damage done blacks by racial discrimination, there remains massive resistance to shouldering any measure of responsibility for making the victim whole.

This resistance is so fierce that even affirmative actions programs that would benefit whites as well as blacks are opposed. Consider Brian Weber, who went all the way to the Supreme Court to challenge an apprentice training program established by the Kaiser Aluminum Company a part of an employment discrimination suit he settlement. The training program, which Mr. Weber's union had not been able to get started, accepted trainees on the basis of seniority, with the provisor that at least 50% of the trainees would be black until the percentage of black skilled workers was roughly equal to the percentage of blacks in the local labor force.


Even in the latter part of the Twentieth Century, rationality in racial responses remains in the surprise rather than the expected. There is now as there as there was when the Supreme Court approved the imposition of segregation laws on a people still weighted down by the badges and incidents of slavery, a desire bordering on obsession to declare the racial problem ended, not at all costs, but at no cost.

Only so great a need must have moved the Supreme Court to find it appropriate to invalidate federal civil rights laws in 1883 because "When a man has emerged from slavery, and by the aid of beneficent legislation has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation where he takes the rank of a mere citizen, and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws."

The fact is, and a not overly careful examination of legal history will reveal it, blacks have never been the special favorite of the laws. Rather, we have been the involuntary sacrifices in compromises between differing groups of white men, and the beneficiaries of pro-civil rights actions taken primarily to protect or further white interests. The Emancipation Proclamation and the Brown decision are only two of the more dramatic instances when blacks through courageous self-help gave substance and movement to the empty and often hypocritical symbolism that characterizes so much of civil rights policy.

But the worsening condition of so many black Americans as recorded annually in these Urban League reports presents a challenge to blacks able to advance and perhaps prosper under the aegis of these laws that we ignore at our peril. We recognize, despite improved status, that the removal of racial classifications does not insure equal opportunity, and the doctrine of equality, undefined and tailored to idealistic hopes rather than realistic assessments, can pose an unneeded barrier to still needed racial remediation.

Racism remains a principal ally of the country's economic and political structure, and remain a barrier to opportunity for blacks until remedies needed for blacks encompass as well the masses of whites who subordinant status in the society is less dramatic that that of blacks but no less real. Coalitions have been tried, but whites, particularly working class whites, are mesmerized by the race question which as in the post-Reconstruction period remains "an everlasting, overshadowing problem that served to hamper the progress of poor whites and prevent them from being realistic in social, economic, and political matters."



This paper represents an attempts to provide a profile of black female-headed households with not husband present. We have chosen to concentrate on this specific group because of its rapid growth over the past decade and its close association with disadvantagement and poverty. In 1970, 66% of black families were married couples and about 31% were headed by females who no husband present. By 1980, the percentage of black married couple families had decreased to 54% and female headed families with no husband present had increased to 42% This decrease in married couple families and increase in

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