Robert Francis Kennedy or “Bobby” was a well known and well liked politician during the Civil Rights Movement. He was one of a few white people who worked closely with African Americans to improve conditions and work towards equality. As Attorney General, RFK worked diligently in order to ensure that Civil Rights laws were upheld.
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The life and political career of RFK is captured in a film bearing his name, RFK. In this film, Samuel L. Jackson, an African American man comments to another African American man that progress for African Americans will be made when “white people think is was their idea” (Dornhelm, 2002). This is a compelling statement that reflects the struggles and challenges that African American people faced during the Civil Rights Movement.
The true motive behind the Civil Rights Movement was for African Americans to be considered as equal human beings to the white people. This struggle for equality continues today. While portrayals such as the one in RFK show politicians who are working towards a solution (Dornhelm, 2002), the reality is that there is still a white-black racial divide in the United States.
The Civil Rights Movement helped accomplish many goals that led to the creation of laws saying that African Americans are equal to white people. However, the attitudes of the white people have not completely changed in order to embrace African Americans as equals. In order to make true progress as Samuel L. Jackson quoted, white people need to have a strong intrinsic desire to learn about the history of African Americans if true progress is going to be made (Martinez, 60). The ultimate goal is to ensure that white supremacy is eliminated (Martinez, 60).
White supremacy is what Samuel L. Jackson was talking about. As long as white people think they are superior to African Americans than real progress cannot be made. The African American experience has been one of persecution and inferior treatment. This experience will not change until white people decide to embrace racial equality.
Dornhelm, Robert. “RFK.” (2002).
Martinez, Elizabeth. “Seeing More than Black and White.” In Experiencing Race, Class and Gender in the United States. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill, 2004.See More on African, Progress