chapter  Chapter 7
53 Pages

Civil Rights

ByRosemary Kennedy Chapin, Melinda Lewis

Civil Rights provides a detailed look at the groups who have experienced discrimination and oppression, throughout U.S. history and still today. While social justice is a theme throughout this edition—in response to 2015 EPAS’ emphasis, students’ growing commitment to social justice, and our own values—social justice takes center stage in this chapter. This edition includes more information on immigration policy, including recent debates about refugee admissions, border security, and inclusion efforts. We also added information about crucial civil rights concerns related to police violence, treatment in the criminal justice system, and the rights of individuals with mental illness. While much of Chapter 7 focuses on race as the principal dividing line in American society, we examine other, intersecting, identities that influence people’s experiences with social policy, including advances and setbacks in the LGBTQ+ movement, such as the struggle for rights for transgender people. While President Trump’s attacks on vulnerable groups and retreats from civil rights gains require careful attention from social workers, we also emphasize the importance of state policy as part of the “front line” on civil rights. We include states’ efforts to restrict women’s rights, including anti-abortion and anti-contraceptive bills, as well as some states’ commitment to ensure that transgender people have non-discriminatory access to facilities and opportunities. This chapter highlights voting rights as a crucial area of civil rights and an essential foundation of policy practice. Chapter 7 includes substantial and expanded end-of-chapter exercises, so that instructors can direct students to focus on populations or issues of particular interest. To facilitate development of critical thinking skills, this chapter helps students analyze seemingly neutral policies for negative impact on traditionally oppressed groups. Importantly, the experiences and achievements of individuals who have experienced oppression are highlighted throughout, with particular attention to their priorities for policy change in these domains. Beginning in Chapter 7 and continuing through the remainder of the text, we analyze major policies in separate boxes using the simple framework introduced in earlier chapters. This is done so that students can easily grasp the basic policy elements of goals, service delivery, and financing, and then can more readily understand later amendments. Students and instructors have repeatedly told us that this presentation is a valuable study aid, so we have retained it, applying the same framework to the analysis of policies enacted since the last edition, as well.