Human Rights vs. Civil Rights

Iris Jackson, CCICS Correspondent Writer

Ironically, human rights” and “civil rights” are often times mistaken for having the same meaning and are used interchangeably. Usually, the term “civil rights” is associated with the Black Power Movement of the early 1950s through the 1970s.

The term “human rights” has a connotation with the negative catastrophic effects on humanity on a global scale. The definitions of the two terms are slightly different. Nevertheless, when it relates to human equality and justice for all people regardless of their race, color, creed or religion the definitions of the two terms are equal. Civil rights are “basic rights; rights that all citizens of a society are supposed to have” and human rights are “freedom, justice and equality; the rights that are considered by most societies to belong automatically to everyone”.

The Justice Studies students at the Northeastern Illinois University CCICS satellite campus conducted a forum on human rights and its correlations with civil rights. The panelists were all students who were very articulate in their presentations and information. The panel was divided into several topics: discrimination, police brutality, civil rights and domestic and foreign policies. Each student highlighted various human and civil rights issues which challenge the American society, particularly regarding the African-American and the Latino population.

The students presented the class with statistical and research data from the city, state and federal levels. These proved the inaccuracy of the solutions to stop the social, political and economic injustices toward minorities.

What was very interesting and most shocking was how the statistics were compared to other countries and America ranked the highest in human and civil rights violations. The United States’ brutal history of the mistreatment of Africans since the Transatlantic Slave Trade and after the Civil War is undeniable. The world watched as the “American dream” was financed by genocide through the intentional violation of the Natives’ and the Africans’ human and civil rights.

The unfortunate reality of this forum is that we are still in today’s so called “Civilized” world fighting for human and civil rights. The Justice Studies 314 course, taught by Professor Patricia Hill, helped pique the audience’s awareness on the lack of progress we have achieved in the past 500 years. This world is one human family, yet people still justify their savage behavior by oppression and lack of knowledge. This world was made for all people from all walks of life. It is not acceptable for any person or race to be superior or inferior to another. There is such advanced in technology in the new millennium, yet a lack in humanity. In the last statements the core analysis for the human and civil rights violations were, and continue to be, the deviled plague known as “racism”.