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Race relations is the number one problem facing America. Some will admit it, but fewer are willing to commit to doing the work to end racism and discrimination that impacts almost all people of color. The victims of racism experience it on the job, on the street, in the doctor’s office, at the DMV, at the bank, in the grocery store, in the classroom and the courtroom, in college admissions, and anywhere else every American should expect equal and fair treatment. 

In the early 1600s, when Africans were brought to the U.S. by force, laws were established to ensure they would never be treated equally. The legacy of slavery remains, even though laws were created to protect Black people from inhumane treatment to provide equal protection under the law. 

Are we there yet?

Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week regarding one of the protections Blacks and others lost their lives seeking. The movie Till is a reminder of what it took to force policymakers to pass laws that reinforced those protections and to create a system that promotes equal opportunities and fairness. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law laid the ground for affirmative action policies, which forced open doors to the “others” that were previously once open for Whites only. 

Consistently, individuals and institutions decide to test the waters to see if the progress Blacks, in particular, have attained enough to do away with affirmative action policies. At Monday’s hearing, Harvard University and the University of North Carolina tested affirmative action mandates. 

In some ways, it reduces the acclamations of success Black people have experienced. While they can point to numerous achievements they have made over the decades, inequality and inequity continue to exist. There is no statistic one can point to that shows Blacks have significantly caught up with whites, suggesting affirmative action should be a thing of the past. 

No, we are not there yet, and we won’t be as long as others have the power to decide when Black folks have been given enough. In this case, the decision rests with the nine justices that sit on the Supreme Court. And how did they get there? Think about that when you decide whether to vote on November 8.

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