The rights of all Americans to equal treatment under the law, as provided for by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Equal Protection Clause
Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
A basic right of all Americans, such as all First Amendment rights. Any law or action that prevents some group of persons from exercising a fundamental right will be subject to the "strict-scrutiny" standard, under which the law or action must be necessary to promote a compelling state interest and must be narrowly tailored to meet that interest.
A classification based on race, for example, that provides the basis for a discriminatory law. Any law based on a suspect classification is subject to strict scrutiny by the courts—meaning that the law must be justified by a compelling state interest.
Rational Basis Test
A test (also known as the "ordinary-scrutiny" standard) used by the Supreme Court to decide whether a discriminatory law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Few laws evaluated under this test are found invalid.
A Supreme Court doctrine holding that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not forbid racial segregation as long as the facilities for blacks were equal to those provided for whites. The doctrine as overturned in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954.
De Jure Segregation
Racial segregation that is legally sanctioned—that is, segregation that occurs because of laws or decisions by government agencies.
De Facto Segregation
Racial segregation that occurs not as a result of deliberate intentions but because of past social and economic conditions and residential patterns.
The transportation of public school students by bus to schools physically outside their neighborhoods to eliminate school segregation based on residential patterns.
Civil Rights Movement
The movement in the 1950s and 1960s, by minorities and concerned whites, to end racial segregation.
The deliberate and public act of refusing to obey laws thought to be unjust.
A tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience. Demonstrators enter a business, college building, or other public place and remain seated until they are forcibly removed or until their demands are met. The tactic was used successfully in the civil rights movement and other protest movements in the United States.
The right to vote; the franchise.
The often subtle obstacles to advancement faced by professional women in the workplace.
Unwanted physical contact, verbal conduct, or abuse of a sexual nature that interferes with a recipient's job performance, creates a hostile environment, or carries with it an implicit or explicit threat of adverse employment consequences.
A form of discrimination in which law enforcement assumes that people of a certain race are more likely to commit crimes. Racial profiling has been linked to more frequent traffic stops of African Americans by police and increased security checks in airports of Arab Americans.
Equal Employment Opportunity
A goal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to end employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin and to promote equal job opportunities for all individuals.
A policy calling for the establishment to programs that give preference, in jobs and college admissions, to members of groups that have been discriminated against in the past.
The assertion that affirmative action programs that require preferential treatment for minorities discriminate against those who have no minority status.
A policy under which a specific number of jobs, promotions, or other types of selections, such as university admissions, must be given to members of selected groups