Ann Coulter is trying to claw her way back into the limelight by making various statements and showing up on shows which seem to have hit rock bottom in coming up with anyone to talk to. George Stephanopoulos talked to Coulter about her “controversial comment” in her new book that “various groups [including] gay rights groups, those defending immigrants, and feminists have commandeered the black civil rights experience.”
Coulter went on to say that she thought that “civil rights are for blacks” and this is because the US has a “legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws.” She went on to say “We don’t owe the homeless. We don’t owe feminists. We don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another, and that “‘much of the left…dropped the blacks after five minutes’ to argue for ‘civil rights’ for other groups of people.”
Stephanopoulos interrupted Coulter and asked “Immigrant rights are not civil rights?”
Coulter argued that”What have we done to the immigrants? We owe black people something. We have a legacy of slavery. Immigrants haven ‘t even been in this country.”
Coulter makes the same mistake that so many others out there do. They conflate Political Rights with Civil Rights. From the end of World War I through to 1970, the battle for all ‘People of Color’ (I am using this term because it was not just Blacks, but Asians, Hispanics, etc) was for Political and Civil Rights.
The definition of Political Rights and Civil Rights, via Wikipedia, reads:
Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, status as a member of the uniformed services, sexual orientation, or gender identity; and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement.
Political rights include natural justice (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial; due process; the right to seek redress or a legal remedy; and rights of participation in civil society and politics such as freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense, and the right to vote.
Prior to 1964, it was difficult for anyone from a racial minority to get a decent education (a civil right), and they were often easily banned from voter registration (a political right). Additionally, they could be discriminated against in public accommodations (a civil right), and from certain jobs (a civil right). In 1965, all forms of voting discrimination were outlawed (a political right).
While LGBT Americans do not have to fight for political rights, what they fight for are civil rights- the right not to be fired from a job due to being LGBT, the right to marry whom they want, the right to live where they want. When one justifies the denying of civil rights to one group, it becomes easier to deny them to others. Civil rights are not just ‘for Blacks’. That is a racist way of seeing it because it means that Blacks must be treated unequally and makes the case that they are being treated unfairly. These are rights that belong to all people, but by dismissing them for others, Coulter tries to dismiss them for all.