Richard Davis: The struggle for promoting civil rights continues

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    I have been with my partner for 15 years! I grew up Mormon, and to be honest, it is hard for me, sometimes, to understand how little people respect others! They come up with all sorts of excuses and they blame it on their belief in God! If it isn't right to treat you in a certain way, then don't be a hypocrite and treat others that way! Do unto others as you would have them do to you! It isn't very hard, you know!

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    July 7, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    Prof. Davis points out that there is no national law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That's partially because the gay rights movement isn't pushing for it; they're focused on gay marriage. Consider the case of Prop 8: California law already guaranteed all the substantive rights of marriage to gay couples that the state could give them; the Prop 8 battle was simply over the word "marriage" and the implied governmental endorsement of a lifestyle that goes with it.

    Another point: Should we consider it a good thing that 59% of college grads are women, and only 41% are men? Certainly it's a good thing when women can do what they want without facing discrimination, but are we supposed to yearn for a world in which women are educated and men hold blue-collar jobs? What's the goal here?

  • lib1 Provo, UT
    July 6, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    I get kind of tired of being chided that the nation has a "long way to go" when it comes to civil rights. These are usually accompanied by some anonymous antidote about racist cops, racist vandals, the number of women business executives, and the percentage of incarcerated Black men compared with incarcerated White men.

    But looking closer, here is what I see. Every so-called racist act of vandalism in the last 15 years that I am aware of has turned out to be a hoax, and the "victim" was the perpetrator. Every time I hear people bemoaning the lack of women's rights, it usually comes down to the fact that 1) not enough women themselves embrace the ideals of feminism at the expense of the family and the home (see, for example, Login's comment above), or that the Government is not funding enough abortions or handing out free birth control (or, at least, the more expensive forms of birth control). And the distinction between the percentage of Black and White incarceration disappears when you control for those raised in single-parent families.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    July 5, 2014 6:32 p.m.

    Thank you Deseret News and Mr. Richard Davis for a breath of fresh air.

    Articles like this give me hope in the future of our LDS community. The Church has an embarrassing past when it come to race. However, the honest actions and calls for equality shows the social evolution of the church and the State of Utah.

    The Civil Right issue of our time is LGBT equality. I rejoice when I see enlighten LDS people taking a stand that is not popular, Yet, their sense of justice moves them to raise their voice in defense of the oppressed.

    Our country is a great country not for what is is. But, for what it will become. No other country self analyze and strive to better itself as the United States.

  • Monty1 South Jordan, UT
    July 3, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    thank you for your article. yes, progress has been made and we need to make more. sometimes it is frustrating how slowly positive social change occurs. glad you are writing for the deseret news and that you are teaching at BYU. I enjoyed having you as a professor back in the 1990s (can't believe it has been that long). our community needs your voice.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    Given the comments on this board it is not hard to see that the numbers of the recent poll showing racism is alive and kicking is likely accurate. It would be frightening to see the comments that have been denied given the tone of those that have gotten through.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 2, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    DN Subscriber, you list a number of problems which affect blacks today. I understand that, being a compassionate person, you would like to do something about this but don't see how (short of voting for people who would dismantle the safety net that exists today).

    One program which has had a huge success rate is the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program. They have done (and will continue to do) great things with disadvantaged kids, but the need is far greater than the number of existing volunteers.

    The answer is literally staring you in the mirror. Commit to mentoring a child, once a week, for a year. Encourage this child to see a future beyond the welfare dependency of his parents.

    Then encourage your friends to do so, and together you can change lives--which is how you change the world.

  • Manzanita Las Vegas, NV
    July 2, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    Excellent editorial. And to the commenters on here who deny that there is still much work to be done to combat racism - thank you for proving the author's central argument so poignantly.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    "treat our first black president with respect"

    Is that how you see him, black?

    efforts on his part to reach across the aisle? “Republicans can come along for the ride, but they’ll have to ride in the back.” THAT is an effort to reach across the aisle? That’s how he started his reign of terror, and where he LOST the respect of anyone in the GOP who was willing to give him a chance. He has since compounded the problem by throwing temper tantrums anytime he does not get his way.

    Efforts to reach across the aisle – sheesh, where did you come up with THAT idea that has NO basis in truth whatsoever?

    Open minded,
    “I'd like to see employers, schools, and businesses go to jail for discrimination now.”

    You would force your beliefs on others? That I can believe.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 2, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    Chris B
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I fight against racist policies like affirmative action because I believe racism is wrong

    Dr king and I agree on this issue and anyone who supports his message would fight racism like affirmative action

    11:46 a.m. July 2, 2014


    I'm against meeting the minimums of affirmative action too.
    We're far above and beyond that now.

    I'd like to see employers, schools, and businesses go to jail for discrimination now.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    I fight against racist policies like affirmative action because I believe racism is wrong

    Dr king and I agree on this issue and anyone who supports his message would fight racism like affirmative action

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    Fromn the article --

    "I heard it more recently when black and Hispanic students in my classes related how some police treated them when they were driving."


    It's called "Driving While Black",
    and some police departments use racial profiling all the time.

    and even today -- 50 years later, and just south of us in Arizona -- they just tried to reverse 50 years of Civil Rights and LEGALIZE it!

    It amazes me that the fuel that fueled the horrors of Nazi Germany,
    didn't die in America in the 1960's,
    and still smulders in 21st century America today...

  • slcdenizen Murray, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    One way to honor racial diversity is to treat our first black president with respect and be forthright with regard to opposing his agenda. Republicans, since day one, have opposed every move he has made despite efforts on his part of reaching across the aisle. They have not done so in order to prevent a massive government transition into socialism, that has already been done through the years and by both parties. The actual reason is the low hurdle message it sends to the Republican base that the country is becoming less "white" and needs to be taken back. Obsessing over the national debt, without any accompanying effort in understanding macroeconomics, is a smoke screen over the real fear of Republicans: that the old white boys' club is falling out of style. If politics is a serious endeavor, then Republicans need to show more than the usual rhetoric of 'this foreign born socialist doesn't get America'.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    liberty or ...?
    Ogden, UT

    DN Subscriber
    Cottonwood Heights, UT


    Nothing like getting the whole Left/Right,
    Democrat/Republican thing all backwards.

    You two do realize that over the last 150 years, the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican roles have reversed like 3 times now?

    Even Utah Mormons have swung from being nearly all Democrats to Republicans -- don't you?

    Tell you what - drop the part-line, and focus on ideology.
    That may help.

  • Tiago Seattle, WA
    July 2, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    Thank you for this article!

    Even in my lifetime, I've seen a lot of progress toward greater fairness and equal opportunity. With the internet and greater mobility, we have so many opportunities to interact with people who are different from us and I'm happy to see that these interactions usually result in greater understanding and appreciation. We become aware of our stereotypes and prejudices. I am very aware of my own stereotypes and try to consciously get past them.

    Laws and public education campaigns can help to overcome the walls that divide us, but the most change comes from our daily interactions. After growing up in a wealthy, mostly white suburb, my mission in South America was one of the first times I really interacted with people very different from me. It was mind opening to realize how many things we have in common and also how diversity can be celebrated, learned from, and appreciated.

    I'm thankful to live in a world rich with religious, cultural, racial, linguistic, gender, and sexual diversity.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    "...The Civil Rights Act was indeed a noble and just advancement, and we should salute the Republicans who passed it over strenuous Democrat opposition. Just to be sure there is credit where credit is actually due, not as it is claimed by Democrats today....".

    And where are those Democrats who so violently opposed The Civil Rights Act today?

    They form the base of the Republican Party.

    The Southern Strategy implemented by President Nixon, perfected by President Reagan was instrumental in moving the white population of Southern Democrats into the Republican Party.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    DN Subscriber: "...we should salute the Republicans who passed it over strenuous Democrat opposition..."

    True, the GOP had a role in the passage of the CRA in 1964. The Democratic Party's treatment of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 convention was shameful and LBJ's backroom manipulations to keep the MFDP out are a blot on his record (as are Humphrey's and Mondale's acquiescence). Democrats dominated the old guard racist South in the century after the Civil War. However, there was a polar shift after 1964 because of the CRA. Goldwater played on white southern fears of black empowerment in his 1964 "Southern Strategy." Nixon followed suit in 1968 and 1972. Segregationist southerners like Wallace and Thurmond left the Democrats to run as independents and Republicans and the Republicans welcomed them. Falwell recruited southern social conservatives to the GOP. The intellectual heirs of the old Dixiecrats are today's Republicans. The Confederacy is now solid red on the political map. Moderate southern Republicans from the 1960s-70s like the late Sen. Howard Baker would be run out of today's GOP as RINOs. Today, opposition to expanding civil rights guarantees today is found primarily in the conservative Right.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    People give far too much credit to the act of Congress. Civil rights and changing attitudes were more of a bottom up than a top down process. Congress acted to reflect the will of its constituents, while everyone seems to think it happened the other way around with Congress imposing its will on a majority of backward people.

  • Logit ,
    July 2, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    When I read articles like this one that dare go no further than an inch deep on this topic, I sigh. Why are we not willing to ask (and attempt to answer) the more difficult questions? I mean, this article repeats all the popular equality speaking points--the 77% gender pay gap, the one-third black poverty rate--but ignores the question of why, after 50 years of affirmative action and legislated equalism, do women STILL choose lower paying but more rewarding, less risky professions? Why do women STILL choose to work fewer hours than men? Why do Asian minority immigrant children score so well in school while non-Asian minority children STILL remain one standard deviation below (after not just 50 but 100 years of testing)?

    Pointing out the gaps is easy. Hooray for another white male academic showing his racial and gender sensitivities! But until we ask (and truly consider all answers to) the enduring fundamental questions behind the gaps, we'll be forever writing articles like this one--and become no better.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    Thank you DN for printing this column. It's a far, and welcome, cry from your daily anti-lgbt rants.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    Yes civil rights still has a long way to go. but a new group (religion) that is supposed to be protected is facing more and more discrimination from the left.

    too bad the LGBT anti-religion movement is propogated so well by the MSM and the likes of Mr. Davis.

    Too bad their agenda is being forced on us by over-reaching judges who call good eveil and evil good.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    Kudos to the DesNews for publishing this piece, especially for the penultimate paragraph, which is undoubtedly difficult for much of its readership to accept. I might put a special emphasis on the T in LGBT, which continues to be stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated against far more than the L, G, and B (who have made great strides in acceptance in the decades since Stonewall).

    liberty or ...?: "...the whole movement has been hi-jacked from one of equal individual treament to one of special priveledge."

    Some of us are wondering just what special privileges you are talking about. Guaranteeing equality under the law to those who have been denied it is not conferring special privilege, it is merely bringing the oppressed back up equal to the rest of us. The only "special" privilege has been that held by those who withheld equality from others. Granted, from their perspective, ceding privilege and sharing it equally with those to whom they have denied it can look like the others are getting something special, but it's really not. Equal is equal. From housing to employment to marriage, it's all about equal treatment of individuals.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    The Civil Rights Act was indeed a noble and just advancement, and we should salute the Republicans who passed it over strenuous Democrat opposition. Just to be sure there is credit where credit is actually due, not as it is claimed by Democrats today.

    Further, let's look at how minority Americans fare today compared to 1964, due to the subsequent laws passed mainly by Democrats.
    Is the illegitimate birth rate better or worse?
    Are minority families intact, or without fathers as bread winners and role models?
    Are their crime and incarceration rates better or worse now than then?
    Is their unemployment rate any better than it was relative to whites?
    Have graduation rates improved from high schools or colleges?
    Have their actual earnings (no entitlement) income improved relative to whites?

    Sadly, although many rights were given, liberal Democrat programs have destroyed the black family in multiple ways, and turned far too many into dependents on a welfare plantation with the goal of delivering votes for Democrats, not providing a step to true equal opportunity.

    Yes, we have a long way to go, and dismantling the dependency culture is essential for true long term progress among black Americans.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Sadder still that the previous commentators use it as a political crutch and weapon and that the whole movement has been hi-jacked from one of equal individual treament to one of special priveledge. Most Americans have moved on from 1962 unfortunatley the liberals are still stuck in it and see racism and discrimination in everything except the mirror as they foist there prejudices and social values (or lack thereof) on everyone else where tolerance is always one sided and demanded but is little shown. Gratitutde where Gratitude is due I am grateful for leaders like Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver, and Frederick Douglas, But they would not even exist if it wasn't for 30% victims of white citizens the Clan murdered in addition to blacks, The NRA(which was founded largely to protect the rights of African Americans to defend themselves when corrupt politicians tried to pass laws denying them their 2nd amendmant rights),The Civil War vet, Abraham Lincoln, Millions of Abolitionists, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson (without the constitution and the Declaration of independance slavery would have continued for years),or Benjamin Franklin ( 1st anti slavery movement on this continent).

    July 2, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    We continue to move forward albeit in a slow pace. Several states have added ENDA laws that protect LGBT families. Several municipalities in Utah have as well. Just yesterday a federal judge in Kentucky struck down that state's gay marriage ban. Currently same sex marriage is legal in 19 states. Seventeen federal judges have all ruled against the bans with none ruling in favor of bans. Civil Rights have always been a hard, slow fight. But we see progress looking back over the span of time.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 2, 2014 6:54 a.m.

    Sad we even had to pass laws like this in the first place to have people treat others with respect.

    Sadder still that 50 years later, the hatred and bigotry continues...

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 2, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    Thank you DN for printing this column.

    Our country indeed has a long way to go before it delivers it Constitutional promises to each member of its citizenry.

    We may disagree on the means to insure freedom and justice for all, but surely we agree that this is a worthy goal.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 1:11 a.m.

    "But we also need to realize that, even with the election of an African-American president, the struggle for civil rights is not over. We have a long way to go."

    All too true. I grew up in 50's Utah and partook of the racism of that period. Every time I am in the presence of a person of color I have to remind myself that they are of the same species as me. I hate to admit that but it is true.

    I think there is still a lot of doubt and confusion about the origins of race. We now know that African-Americans are not "cursed" with a black skin, and that the whole "mark upon Cain" thing is myth. That message has not gotten down to many of the troops.