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The masterful work In Brown's Wake by Martha Minow is based on the case between Brown and the Board of Education that inspired social movements. She uses this background to explore social problems around this case and in the larger society in regard to discrimination. The need to have a society free from discrimination in terms of gender, color of skin and such become the issue that the owner of the story seeks to deliver. The ruling in this case remains a matter of concerned and a major of indicator of success. The book is designed to unravel the issue of discrimination in the wider spectrum of quality issues worth a society's attention. The major issues presented by the writer remain more effective than they are when addressed through any other popular media channel. Minow argues that there is need to for all children to have access to education regardless their social standing. She proposes in the book that there is a great need to look into the integration processes that have seemed to borrow affirmative actions. In a very compelling and chatty style, minnow backgrounds the issues of discrimination on one of the major cases in the USA Supreme Court.
Before the 1965 Jim Crows Laws were applied in all states. These Laws required the equal treatment of all people but separate facilities for blacks and whites. Stadia, trains schools and other social amenities were segregated to provide for separate areas for whites and blacks. This system ultimately led to poor services and education for blacks. It was the landmark decision by the Supreme Court regarding the case of brown vs board of education that caused a huge social awareness on equality in education, this case was decided in 1954 at the time when Jims Craws laws were in operation.
The court's ruling later became the base for Minow's much celebrated piece of writing. The court ruled that segregation was a violation of the equality law of protection. This was because the segregated schools and facilities were not of the same quality. This decision led to social awareness and sensitization of even other parts of the world. Other forms of segregation and inequalities were also brought to the surface including language, immigration status, gender, social cultural status, one's religion, their economic statuses and sexual orientations.
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Just like the case, Minow's arguments in the book have numerous shortcomings. This much celebrated landmark case also came with its own shortcomings. The private schools voucher, which Minow so vigorously champions for in this book, led to development of a new self-segregation in lines of ethnic groups, gender, language, age and disability. The case also arouse international resonance as different parts of the world responded in different ways to the outcome of browns case. It led to the development of the modern university where all the qualified students regardless of their races could learn in harmony. The book is a trigger for retrogressive movements. For instance, Others argued that it would lead to instability as blacks would demand for more rights including political rights. The critics to Martha Marraw also argued that the ruling would have a spiral effect to other parts of the world where blacks were a minority. Several other groups also feared uprisings from other minority groups in the world as they tried to gain recognition like the blacks.
In the wake of the nineteenth century, United States faced major and significant socio-economic changes and transformation through the antebellum women's movement. As Americans moved westwards, they made canals, steamboats, and railroads to venture into many areas of the then virgin continent, join different regions and most importantly improve their productivity by encouraging specialization among farmers and manufactures to cater for the demands of the growing market.These key changes motivated industrialization-the reliance of machinery, paid labor and the factory approach to production. These changes occurred alongside other major changes. A Second Great Awakening asserted the role of individualistic responsibility, personal emancipation and key societal transformations. As more states took up white, patriarchal suffrage, the United States politics become more and more democratized.
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As women and blacks in general remained confined at home, emerging professions became more and more gender and race informed with white males and a few white women dominating all areas of production. This was however to be challenged. The emergence of the powerful Industrial Revolution initiated by the black antebellum women's movement courtesy of Brown's case come to challenge this patriarchal and racial dominance and affected women and black people across the classes and races very distinctively. With the support of a few working-class and farming black men and women, the revolution sought emancipate the blacks to start seeking employment in factories, warehouses, stores and other areas where their white counterparts did.
In my own opinion the abolishment of segregation in American schools brought the awakening of social freedom both in the education system and social welfare of the blacks. The case of brown vs board of education and the decision of Supreme Court to abolish segregation in schools and other social areas was a step towards developing the view of negroes as fellow human beings. The segregation rule could not ensure equality due to the fact that the schools and facilities set for blacks were often neglected in in poor conditions. This case also showed that blacks could do all the activities done by whites given the same environment.
Though some people viewed the case as making the education system vague, I support the system because in the end the whole population would catch up and this would lead to improved standard for all. The benefit of equality could not be felt immediately and the process was also met with opposition from the whites who still viewed blacks as less human being. Blacks were empowered to do more for their country other than living like second class citizens in their own country.
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It is indeed shaming to come to terms to the fact that while USA is rated among the G8, her national distribution of resources is wanting and reveals a great inequality only paralleled by other Latin American countries. This economic inequality, as Minow alludes to, is distinct where the disparity is between European and African or Native American white, American white and black male and black female and so on. According to the most recent census, over 40% of Brazilian population is black making it a near number two to West African state in terms of larger black populations. While almost a quarter of this population is black women, Minow laments that minimum attention has been given to the minorities in terms of education, health care and representation .
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While race and other factors have come to challenge the distribution and resources and the general equality, the continued over reliance on affirmative actions has made the minorities appear like people with lesser abilities. General principles on the organization and goals of black feminist movements come in handy in the understanding of the complex but practical nature of feminist movements in the world. However, different social movements advocating for equality are in terms of location and leadership structure, say Minow, they seem to have had their ideas and the manner of rebelling supremacist's dominant tendencies across the world more or less the same. These flows of social movements for justice have of late culminated in a multi-directional indirect transplant that has come to transcend or national and transnational boundaries.
To understand the nature social discrimination explored by Minow in this sequel of a social justice case, therefore, one has to make out the causes, goals and the ultimate effect of one of the major social movements in the world. In understanding a major social movement advocating for equality, one is able to form plausible conclusion on the nature of the Minow attacks this faults in our society. There is need for young people to interpret social issues through the process of translation: a process that also informs the course of action that a social movement will take in correcting what they believe is a demeaning political or social order. The issues of discrimination and social injustices are rather set on specific settings but have been found to converge on more general problems of male dominance, gender bias and race.
Issues of racism in the education sector are not as open as the general discrimination of blacks in these institutions suggest but are rather obfuscated with the transient issues of concealed racism within the government institutions that Minow so excellently presents in this book. Those of the middle class women running women community initiatives and the white middle class activists has become the target of victimization in any effort geared towards doing away with white supremacists and the negative effects contained therein.
The fundamental situations is that while the work by Minow seem to be joined by a common purpose of disentangling the minorities from the chains of the rigid racist and unfair order, many seem to have succumbed to pressures or racism. The racial dilemmas inherent in black many institutions of learning in USA are not unique to her but are share with those various instances of clashes among the integration proponents and opponents. While many texts like the one by Minow agree that each of everybody should have the freedom to assert the presence of his/her gender, skin color and so on, the proponents of social justice for all are contradicting themselves when they turn wild to attack acts of their ever vibrant and dominant favored class of the whites to safeguard their gender and racial love and sisterhood. The racist division inherent within many institutions as explored by Minow in white and black defined countries has become the undoing for any quest towards a liberated society.
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Martha Minow is is qualified enough to write and indeed win an international academic acclamation on this area. She received her A.B from the reputed University of Michigan and bot her Ed.M from the world's most famous and reputed Harvard University. Her successful completion of the much coveted J.D from the Yale Law School elevates her to a trustworthy academic platform. Being a Professor of Law in the Harvard Law School places her an advantageous position to fully explore the various weaknesses in our legal-economic tenets of the modern world. Her text, In Brown' Wake, therefore, becomes a generous invitation from Minow for us to join her and allow her to show us the society: the very society she has studied and knows it better than we do.
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