Election ’08: Civil Rights

For the past eight years civil rights have been in jeopardy at the Justice Department. The Department has become politicized and there is a litmus test to fill positions in the Civil Rights Division. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company makes it more difficult to take action on pay discrimination. Lily Ledbetter was told that she could not sue for discrimination because it started too early, even though she did not have knowledge of the problem until later.

What do social workers think about the current state of Civil Rights and it’s relevance in the 2008 Presidential Election?

NASW works on these issues and many others. You can see our advocacy efforts at https://ssl.capwiz.com/socialworkers/callalert/index.tt?alertid=10449631


  1. I find the comments of other social workers interesting. I am 100% surprised that we have social workers not supporting Obama. He was a community organizer, a civil rights leader, and promotes the values we have listed in our own code of ethics. I’m not sure how that is a bad thing. Providing children, and disabled adults with health care is a good thing in my opinion. I work with children and adults right now who would finally get the care they need if Obama’s health plan was put into place. Myself and my husband would probably loose our insurance if McCain’s health plan was put into place because of pre-existing conditions. We need to advocate for ourselves and our clients so they get the help no one else is offering.

  2. It is interesting to me how other’s have reactied to what I hold dear in my life. I have spent most of my adult life working for Peace and Social Justice. What I do see in Barack Obama is a man who will contine the work of JFK,MLKJr, and RFK. No politician is perfect. But, I think these writers wouldn’t be so negative if he was a white man. I don’t believe he is headed toward Socialism but EQUALITYin our Democratic system, that right now suffers from a severe case of Capitalism. I would hope that he gets the chance to put into action as much as is possible in his Platform.
    This country is in big danger, if we don’t move away from the politics of Bush/Cheney. Congratulations NASW for taking such a stand.

  3. Yes, we all deserve civil rights. That is what America has achieved and has been bettering for decades.

    That being said, I believe in the equality of the person, not companies. The person has to come first, & that is civil rights my friend. Groups and politics have gotten in the way of this. My philosophy is that our families and corporations don’t make us free, we do.

    This election, every election, is broadly about civil rights. How one percieves one candidate against another. We as social workers have to understand this, private practice or not, & work towards the betterment of all. REMEMBER – We didn’t go into this profession to make money, we went in it to do research, policy and help people during their weak times. I SOMETIMES get the sense otherwise in these posts.

  4. Our civil rights, although there have been some strides in obtaining them, have been severely eroded under this administration. Things like the Patriot Act(s), wiretapping, “waterboarding” and other such things have led to us being close to a police state. Personal and private boundaries are becoming trampled. Education still isn’t equal and neither is pay. I could go on and on.

    I think it’s high time that our civil rights be re-evaluated and re-established for the betterment of this country. Not everyone can bootstrap themselves into civil rights and prosperity. It is my hope that a new administration, no matter who takes over, will examine these things and do what’s best, the right thing.

  5. Well, given my experiences as an individual with a BA in Human Services and my experiences with the Master’s program at UNLV. I would say that if we preach what we practice, civil rights are not relevant. I was required to write about the “dominant” culture, i.e., the white middle class. Note that I am an individual of mixed race and gender. When I pointed out that the “dominant” culture in our country was comprised of people like John Mccain and Barack Obama, those who make the rules, and that the working and middle classes were roughly equal in size, I was instructed to “assume” a white middle class. Not only did this assumed comparison make the assignment pointless, it also put me in a position where I was expected to take a racist attitude.

    Naturally, I did what NASW would recommend. I stood up with NASW principles, which I have been told are only “suggestions.” So, if we cannot expect social workers to demonstrate an understanding of civil rights our own teachers trample on those who voice reasoned opinions, then why should we expect a government, with far less training in civil rights than we have, to be any better. Civil rights have been in jeopardy since the idea was conceived. If we cannot lead and recognize diversity in all its forms, including making assumptions about any class, what can we expect from our government, which is duly elected by the people to carry out its will? Apparently, a majority of Americans do not care for civil rights. Even NASW has been weak in fighting for the civil rights of genderqueer Americans.

  6. It is refreshing to read comments from other social workers that understand that we are moving towards a socialist country. People don’t seem to understand that redistributing wealth is a socialist concept. The separation of church and state is in the socialist constitution, not ours. In addition, the support that both Obama and McCain have for illegal immigrants vs. US citizens is beyond disheartening. I see everyday, how we discriminate services against our own citizens over people who are here illegally. The fact that NASW supports all these concepts is completely opposite of the belief of empowering people. I may vote for a 3rd party this Nov.

  7. Yes, social workers and all earnest citizens must be concerned with civil rights. One of our most cherished civil rights is the right to have our votes counted without threat of voter registration fraud or voter fraud. I believe it is essential that neither Democratics nor Republicans allow the irregular and unethical voting practices of the last two presidential elections to become institutionalized in our society in this election. That is why I believe it incumbent upon Senator Obama to be the change he wants to see in the world and step across party lines to join with Republicans to insure that voter registration fraud, perpetuated by anyone, including ACORN, be rectified. If this is not accomplished, my vote and yours will no longer be a sacred right but will be corrupted by the most hideous of political processes; i.e, winning at the cost of integrity, social justice, and the most basic of civil rights, the right to vote without corruption.

  8. I am somewhat disappointed in the NASW deciding to support Sen. Obama. Our country has been built on hard work with wonderful opportunities for those who obtain an education and work hard. It would appear that redistribution of wealth which is a socalist concept is the direction our country is going towards. There are still some of us who recognize that when people are given things they have not earned they will never appreciate those items. When one works to obtain things in life, they have a greater sense of appreciation. For those who have never lived in a socialist state, I truly believe manny are in for an unpleasant suprise.

  9. A Fair Pay Act would be fine but expanding hate crimes is discriminitory in nature. A crime should be punished because it is against the law, because it is wrong. Hate is probably altready involved in most crimes already. A crime should not have conditions based on feelings but rather what the person did, regardless of how they felt when they did it.
    Also, ending deceptive voting practices? Is he kidding?? ACORN pulling deceptive voting practices on his behalf right now…so he will wait until he wins to do something?? Sure…
    And racial profiling? Will that include affirmitive action practices? Hmmm.
    I do not endorse Obama.
    I’d rather Alan Keyes.

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