Do you believe that today you have more or fewer rights than people did in 1940?
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I think that more rights are experienced today than people had in 1940. At the time, women were not experiencing the level of social and economic rights that they enjoy today. There were many more social impediments that prevented women from being able to experience a greater amount of autonomy and self- definition. For people of color, especially African- Americans, more rights can be seen today than in 1940. The Civil Rights Legislation had not been passed, one example of how rights were less for African- Americans in 1940 than today. Additionally, African- Americans were confronting less economic and social opportunity for advancement in 1940 than in the modern setting. Segregation and physical intimidation in the South accompanied massive marginalization in the North, creating a condition in which there was much in way of hopelessness for people of color. It is much different and better today for African- Americans than it was in 1940. For gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals, life in 1940 meant being in the closet or being socially invisible. It is much more empowering to be a gay, lesbian, and/ or transgendered individual today than it was to be in 1940.
Certainly, all of these specific narratives reflect better today than in 1940. This is not to say that the struggle for acknowledgement and full identity is over. Issues such as racial prejudice, gender bias, and denial of voice for gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals are still evident today. The struggle for recognition still endures. Yet, there has been more progress made today than in 1940.
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