1st Edition

Civil Rights in Public Service

By Phillip J. Cooper Copyright 2017
    640 Pages
    by Routledge

    640 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Promises of justice and equality made in the U.S. Constitution, numerous Amendments, and decisions of the Supreme Court are hallmarks of American civil rights. Yet the realities of inequality remain facts of modern life for too many Native Americans, African Americans, and Latino Americans, even though state-mandated racial segregation has been outlawed for years. Women still face a variety of forms of discrimination—some subtle and others more overt. There remain many laws that treat people differently because of sexual orientation. People with disabilities are supposed to be protected by a variety of statutes, but many of these policies remain unfulfilled promises. These are just some of the many challenges of civil rights that persist in a nation that proudly points to the words above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court that read "Equal Justice Under Law."

    This text is for current and future public service professionals —whether they are in government agencies, in nonprofit organizations that provide social services for government, or contractors who operate as state actors—who increasingly serve diverse communities with a range of complex challenges, while working and managing within organizations that, fortunately, are themselves more diverse than ever before. For those who work and serve in such settings, civil rights is not an abstract academic study, but a critically important and very practical fact of daily life. This book may also be used on civil rights law, policy, and public administration courses, and each chapter ends with a section on ‘Issues for Policy and Practice’ to guide an examination of key public policy hurdles in the fight for civil rights as well as the implications for public service practice.  Through an engaging exploration of edited court cases, legislation, and speeches, the reader is encouraged to think critically about civil rights law and policy pertaining to African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos/Latinas, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities, to learn what civil rights require, but also to come to a more empathetic understanding of how different groups of people experience civil rights and the unique challenges they face. 

    1. Miles’ Law and the Challenge of Civil Rights in the United States

    2. From the Heritage of African American Slavery to Modern Civil Rights Protection

    3. From Plessy to Brown: Momentous Years in the Struggle

    4. Beyond Brown v. Board: Politics, Policy, and Problems

    5. The Native American Perspective: Toward Civil Rights from Conquest, But a Long Way from That Goal

    6. Continuing Challenges for Native Americans: Problems Continue Despite Civil Rights Gains for Others

    7. Natural Resources and Native Spirituality: A Different Kind of Civil Rights Claim

    8. Civil Rights from a Latino Perspective

    9. Critical Contemporary Issues in Latino Civil Rights

    10. Gender Discrimination: The Rise of So-called Middle Standard

    11. Civil Rights and Sexual Orientation and Identity

    12. Civil Rights and Disabilities in America: Paternalism, Discrimination, or Equality?

    13. Now the Work Begins: The Agenda for Policy and Practice Going Forward


    Phillip J. Cooper is a Professor of Public Administration at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, USA.

    "This is a remarkable book that provides a comprehensive examination of the most critical issues surrounding civil rights laws and policies. It offers an excellent toolkit for public service professionals working in diverse environments who have had little exposure to civil rights matters and challenges. Scholars will benefit from the historical and contemporary analysis of civil rights law. Going beyond existing literature, the book addresses civil rights for groups such as Native Americans and LGBTs that have traditionally been omitted from the narrative. This book should be required reading in a broad number of areas including public administration, public management, civil rights law and policy and constitutional law."Norma M. Riccucci, Rutgers University, USA

    "How do Americans comprehend differentness? This book provides the answer, matching constitutional interpretation with legal reasoning to explain how we got to where we are. This is an expertly crafted work that will be invaluable to those who study civil rights, diversity, social equity, and inequality. It is accessible, informative, and revealing."Mary E. Guy, University of Colorado Denver, USA

    "This is a brilliant book that forces the reader to think about civil rights through a variety of lenses, including those of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, women, the LGBT community, and those with disabilities. Phil Cooper creatively fills in the gaps left by traditional civil rights treatises and pushes us to think about crafting more equitable policies and practices. It is a tour de force."Rosemary O’Leary, University of Kansas, USA