All Articles Tagged "civil rights commission"
I’m having déjà vu reading about the case of a white Cincinnati resident who is attempting to put the city right back in Jim Crow era with her discriminatory pool policy. On Sept. 29, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission found landlord Jamie Hein to be in violation of the Ohio Civil Rights Act when she posted an iron sign that read “Public Swimming Pool, White Only” at her duplex. Now Hein wants the commission to reconsider its decision.
The landlord posted the sign when a black teenage girl was visiting her parents who lived in the complex. Hein indicated the move was necessary because the girl used chemicals in her hair that would make the pool “cloudy,” according to the commission.
Parents of the teenager filed a discrimination charge with the commission and moved out of the duplex, and the commission determined that the sign “restricts the social interaction between Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions aimed at oppressing people of color.” Still, the organization is obligated to hear Hein’s request for reconsideration.
One summer when I came home from college, I invited three of my friends to go swimming in the pool complex where my mother lived. Almost immediately a white woman came over to me and asked what I was doing there and demanded to see my pool pass, which my mom neglected to tell me I needed. I was then asked a series of questions about where I lived, who my parents were, and whether they rented or owned a condominium there. After the interrogation subsided and I voiced my opinion about their obvious race policing, one woman told me, “we just had to make sure you belong; and now it’s your job to do the same when you see people you don’t think belong here.” Anger was not the word for how I felt at the time. A former black coworker of mine also told me that one of her white friends asked that her husband not swim in their pool because of the products he puts in his hair.
I’m not sure what leg Hein has to stand on in trying to prove her actions weren’t discriminatory. If the commissioners uphold their original finding, the case would be referred to the Ohio attorney general’s office, which would represent the commission’s findings before an administrative law judge. Penalties in the case could include a cease-and-desist order and even punitive damages to be determined by the administrative law judge. Parties could still reach a settlement before resorting to legal action, though, commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin said.
Have you ever had an incident like this happen at a public or residential pool?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- How to Avoid the 45 Year-Old ‘WTF-I’m-Still-Single’ Moment
- How to Know When to Have Sex With Him
- 7 Ways Men Wish They Could Satisfy You
- Changing Faces: Common Cosmetic Surgeries Performed in 2011
- The Hatey Bunch: Biggest Celebrity Haters?
- Unforgivable Hood Baby Names: Celebrity Edition
- Young, Black and Fly: Malia Obama’s Trendsetting Style
By Charlotte Young
Founded fifty-four years ago, The US Civil Rights Commission pledged to investigate the complaints of citizens denied their rights due to discrimination, and the commission vows that in this new era, their mission to define civil rights still persists. But does the commission still have the clout and ability to create change for America’s victims of discrimination? Not with what critics are calling an “unworkable structure.”
Despite having three newly elected Democratic members chosen by President Obama—Marty Marty Castro, a former chairman of the Illinois Human Rights Commission; Roberta Atchenberg, an influential gay rights activist and Dina Titus, an advocate for people with disabilities—critics are still calling the commission ineffective.
This is partly due to the fact that the commission is still largely comprised of leaders that were chosen by former President George Bush or Republican congressional leaders; so of course, the commission conformed to the conservative ideas and positions of the Bush administration. Under such leadership, the commission turned a blind eye towards victims of discrimination, resulting in the neglect of black residents in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, according to America’s Wire. Currently, Republicans comprise a majority on the commission with a ratio of 4-3.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights praises Obama for the new appointees, but is also calling for a “legislative makeover.” This makeover would require a Senate conference of appointees and create an odd-numbered commission to prevent deadlock between the rival political parties. The leadership Conference also suggests a further inclusion of gay rights, as well as domestic obligations that fall under international human rights treaties.
Without a change to its internal structure and objectives, the commission founded to advocate for the fair treatment of all American citizens seems to be good for nothing.