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Covering: New Civil Rights

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Kenji Yoshino’s “A New Civil Rights” is a captivating passage, which unveils his theory on how to completely abolish all unnecessary forms of assimilation and discrimination. Throughout his essay, Yoshino encourages society to move away from dehumanizing stereotypes, and to employ the New Civil Rights. Unlike the Civil Rights that exist currently, his new theory would not protect individual groups but rather humanity as a whole. For instance, in the 60s when the Civil Rights movement occurred it protected a single racial group, rather than everyone. This is what Yoshino means when he says we must utilize the liberty paradigm, not the equality paradigm. Covering is defined as suppressing one’s true and disfavored identity to blend in with the majority population (Yoshino 479). Yoshino’s main argument is that it is not up to the law entirely, but rather all of society, to enact the New Civil Rights. Marshall Poe’s “The Hive” does just that and takes this theory a step further. He discusses how technology, specifically the internet, plays a tremendous role in our everyday lives. He goes in depth explaining Wikipedia and how society, rather than experts, chooses the articles on the site in one collaborative effort. Alfred Weaver and Benjamin Morrison also go more in depth on this subject describing the connection between social networking and how it offers a new opportunity for collaboration. This collaborative effort encourages society as a whole to communicate, determine what’s right or wrong through debate, and discuss important, and controversial topics. This can be easily correlated to the creation of the new civil rights movement. To make it even remotely feasible to accomplish the new civil rights, it is vital to discern that several other aspects of our society that must change. To efficiently expedite the New Civil Rights, the aspects of society that must change are small communities, schools, politics, and the internet. The environment in which we are raised is where we obtain our foundation for most of our opinions and beliefs. This is the first and most influential aspect of society that consistently has an impact on people throughout their lives. Specifically, small and localized communities need to be addressed and altered. These include the people you associate on a daily basis such as friends, family, school and workmates. All of these people have huge impacts on a person’s beliefs and opinions. Generally, a person would share similar beliefs and morals as the people they associate with. This can be attributed to the innate need for a person to fit in. This can be a hindrance in the sense that negative, stereotypical ideas can be inherited from those you associate with. For instance, if a person was raised in a very racially prejudice family, they will likely grow up to be the same way. But this assumption must be proven wrong to wholly implement New Civil Rights by adopting positive and tolerant demeanors. One way this can be done is by using reason forcing conversation. What this entails is challenging people’s opinions and beliefs when engaging in everyday conversation. Referencing these conversations, Yoshino wisely stated that “they should occur informally and intimately, where tolerance is made and unmade” (487). By using this tactic in a more intimate and comfortable setting, such as in one’s own home, it will gently force people to use logic to back up their beliefs. This will encourage the person to look at their opinion in a different light, by alleviating any feeling of pressure. This may possibly even facilitate a shift in their opinion from a negative stereotypical belief, to become more tolerant and understanding. If more people use logic when determining their opinions, then society as a whole would be more tolerant. It only takes one person to make a difference and begin spreading a more progressive and empathetic demeanor. As we get older and attend school we are faced... Show More

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