I realize that the title of this thread assumes that the legislation did go wrong, but I guess that can be part of the discussion.
Also, I know this is a touchy subject, but please, please, PLEASE refrain from calling each other "racist." I believe we can have an open and honest discussion only if we keep our emotions in check.
If you were around in the early 1960's when LBJ's civil rights legislation became law, then I would especially like to hear your views because you've been an eye-witness to how things were before and after these historical changes took place.
If you are from a later generation (as I am), then I'd also like to hear from you because you have always lived under the laws and can assess how well, or how poorly, they have affected your own life.
First, a disclaimer: Like a lot of you, I'm really careful about the information I give out about myself over the Internet. However, in this case I feel I need to tell you that I am currently headquartered in the Deep South, where I have a lot of relatives. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a great book, but some of my older relatives actually lived that kind of life, and the stories they tell are every bit as interesting as Harper Lee's novel. They are certainly not racists, although I have encountered a few non-relatives who are. I just wanted you to know at the outset that my opinions might reflect my experiences here.
Anyway, here's my own take . . .
I think most thoughtful people will agree that something needed to be done to change the plight of blacks in the mid-1900's. There were "whites only" restaurants, water fountains, restrooms, schools, hotels, etc. The duel education system was especially bad, and children grew up never having contact with children of another race. Blacks were literally treated as second-class citizens, having to give up their seats for whites, etc.
But, as well-meaning as the new civil rights laws were, they created some problems that were unforeseen:
* School busing--in which children of one race were made to ride buses to other schools that had the other race--proved to be a terrible idea. In some cases, children had to get up before dawn and ride an old bus along dangerous rural and unpaved roads. This added a huge chunk of time to their school day, made homework assignments more difficult and, just as bad, cut down on the amount of daylight they had for playing outside.
* Some businesses that worked under the public trust (TV stations, airlines, bus companies, etc.) were immediately forced to promote unqualified people based solely on seniority. Manual laborers were promoted to management positions over managers who happened to have less seniority.
* In schools, blacks were given various types of "adjustment points" in an effort to immediately raise their grades to the levels of whites. Black students were given advantages over whites when it came to winning scholarships. This was a terrible disservice to the blacks, who later found themselves in positions which they didn't have the skills to handle. It was dooming them to failure. Later, it was decided that it would be better to "dumb down" the studies so that such "adjustment points" weren't needed. But that was even worse because it was a disservice to white students as well as black.
* Federal money was made available to poor blacks who couldn't afford to move into white neighborhoods (I think these were in the form of low-cost loans). Again, this was well-meaning, but along with the blacks came their black-on-black crime rate, and property values in those neighborhoods plummeted. Whites who fled because they were losing the investment in their houses were accused of being racists ("white flight").
* The Voting Rights Act unfairly targeted only southern states that had a history of segregation. From then on, the federal government had to approve every little change that a southern district might make in regard to voting places, voting procedures, poll workers, election dates, district lines, voting hours, etc. None of the other states had to go through such hassles, which could be expensive and very restrictive on the entire election process. It is still going on now, and it's extremely unfair.
Those, I believe, were the main problems with the civil rights legislation of the mid-'60's. However, to leave this post on a positive note, hereâ€™s' some of the good things that the laws brought about:
* No more "whites only" signs. Blacks could use the same facilities as whites, eat at the same restaurants, shop at the same stores, go to the same movie theaters, and enjoy all the other privileges that whites had.
* Black children had the benefit of learning from the same schools, the same teachers, the same lab and gym equipment, the same books, the same cafeteria, etc., as white students.
* Children--and adults, for that matter--were placed side by side in schools and work places, where they could learn to get along and benefit from sharing cross-culture experiences.
Anyway, as I said before, I'm anxious to hear your views on this subject, regardless of what generation you are in or what your views might be.
Note: To cut down on screen clutter on my tiny monitor, my computer is set to block all pictures that appear in the signatures of other posters. Because of that, I cannot see them nor comment on them. Thanks.—Japanklet