This day in age, it is hard to believe that being accepted to college, hired at a job, or being generally accepted in the community used to be solely based on sex, race, nationality or religion. These factors simply do not provide reasoning for the worth of a person. From primary school, we are taught to love one another despite physical differences because we are all human. Most Americans have ancestors from other countries and religions. These ancestors would take pride in coming to the United States and adding their culture to the “blending-pot”. With that said, a person and their value to a college, workplace, or community should be based solely on their abilities. In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 discrimination in the workplace and at colleges and universities was prohibited. This Title was the beginning of workplace equality. It marked a shift in the worth of an employee to an employer from physical appearance or religion to mental and physical capability. It also marked a shift between students who made the college look “good” and students who actually brought value to the community.
1- Discrimination before Title VII
Before Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted life as a minority, a female, a recent immigrant, and religious person was difficult. Making a living was far from easy because an employer could undercompensate, refuse to compensate, layoff, or even fire anyone for illegitimate reasons. Life was lived paycheck to paycheck and fear of termination would keep these employees quiet and complain less towards unrealistic job expectations. The discriminated people would essentially be threatened by their employers into doing anything they asked.
2- Discrimination stoped at the workplace after Title VII enacted
Now that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been enacted for over 50 years the results are interesting. America, generally, has begun to let go of discrimination and focus on accepting one another. This can even be seen through recent things like the legalization of gay marriage, which is an example of America realizing the importance of standing with discriminated people. One might fantasize of a world where such anti-discrimination laws would not even be necessary, but the law is commonly broken. This is unfortunate, but it is always worthwhile to speak up and address the discrimination in the workplace. Title VII was enacted for a reason and everyone should have the decency to respect the law, and if not the employee has the right to bring the offender up on charges. These are serious cases because being safe, comfortable and respected is very important in today’s culture, and rightly so.
3- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also applied to private and public colleges
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also applied to private and public colleges and universities. Before Title VII, colleges and Universities would only accept white male applicants. As a minority, woman, or religious follower of non-Christian denomination no matter how much more capable you were, you could not outrank a white male applicant. The image of the college or university would not continue being accepted by surrounding communities. This practice taught the young men accepted to college or university that they were above all minorities no matter how unqualified. These people often studied and glided their way into powerful positions in companies or businesses that employed people who were often discriminated against. This practice of boosting future employers’ egos could have very well lead to greater discrimination of employees later in time. All of the actions which shape the younger generations have a snowball effect onto the even more distant generations. Before Title VII was enacted these effects went unseen. Now as we look back onto the past fifty years we see how those actions really effected different groups of discriminated people and how Title VII began to reverse those actions.
From my experiences, I believe Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has provided the most change in discrimination rates among colleges and universities. As a college student who experiences a blend of such different people on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe colleges used to be filled with “cookie cutter” profiles. In my time, so far at college, I have found meeting new people with different perspectives on things like religion, sexual orientation, and culture has helped educate me and broaden my horizons to the different types of people in the world. I am the first person in my family who grew up mainly in the United States. I was blessed with the ability to have been to Europe multiple times and engage in my culture for extended periods of time, and that has made a big part of who I am today. I find for many students in the United States they have not had these opportunities to experience anything besides their home life. Thankfully, colleges and universities across the county encourage their students to study abroad and experience and respect other cultures. I think having diversity in colleges and universities has helped greatly shape the perspectives of future employers and allowed them to respect and admire different people within their community. With that said, I find that Title VII has been most visibly effective in colleges and universities. Just like in the workplace, Title VII prevents the discrimination of applicants for admissions, but Title VII has changed the education of students in America for the better. It teaches students that the most important thing about themselves is their abilities and contributions to the community rather than their race, color, or religion.
4- Title VII making workplace and education area discrimination free
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was the beginning step in making United States workplaces, colleges and universities a better place for discriminated people. As we progress as a nation I expect to see the levels of discrimination in these places decline overall. I strongly believe now that colleges and universities are embracing equality and celebrating culture our generation will begin to churn out well rounded and respectful leaders of the future. These leaders will bring their knowledge and acceptance of all people to their future workplaces making the United States working force strong together.
Author: Constantina Murphy from Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts