We asked: Are civil rights still important to talk about?


Editor’s Note: As the Civil Rights Summit gets into full swing Tuesday, we were interested in students’ thoughts on the importance of civil rights today. We hit the West Mall on Monday to find out. Below are some of their responses.


Alicia Kiattinat, psychology junior 

Daily Texan: Do you think it’s still important to talk about civil rights? 

Alicia Kiattinat: I would say so. I mean, you know that quote, “If you don’t study history, you’re bound to repeat it?” I think that really applies, in that everybody should still be talking about the relevant issues because, if you don’t talk about it, it’s still an issue.

DT: What’s the civil rights issue that you think affects students the most right now? 

AK: I would say, maybe, equal treatment of everyone. Maybe, like, what is the phrase, every race should be given an equal chance? To get into college and everything. Sorry, I really can’t remember the phrase; I got like two hours of sleep. 


Abraham Bankole, chemistry junior

Daily Texan: Do you think civil rights are still an important thing to be talked about?

AB: Yes, because everyone is still trying to get to that equal. … Everyone wants to feel accepted, and nobody wants to feel neglected or discriminated against. So it’s important to make sure that everybody feels equal, whether it’s women, or, you know, outside minorities or things like that.

DT: What’s a civil rights issue that you think really affects issues today?

AB: One of the biggest civil rights things that still needs addressing is, I feel like, the whole sexual orientation. … It’s not a truly equal stand yet. I feel like us, as African-Americans, have come a long way, but we still do get discriminated subtly. 


Jacey Rudy, Latin junior

Daily Texan: Do you think that civil rights is still a conversation worth having even in 2014?

JR: Well its still an issue, even though the people in sight have changed mostly.

DT: What do you think the biggest civil rights issue is for students at UT today?

JR: For students, just probably affirmative action both the positives and negatives of it because, as a program, it’s not succeeding both getting people who aren’t able to get into college.


Ian Carbone, geography senior

Daily Texan: Do you think civil rights are still an important thing to be talked about?

IC: Yes. These are people we’re talking about. If they’re being held back by society in any way, you know they’re people, and it’s an important issue that we need to take care of.

DT: What’s the biggest civil rights issue that affects students right now?

IC: I don’t know. 

DT: You can name a few if that helps. 

IC: I have no idea; I don’t know. [Laughs.]


Grace McDonald, accounting junior

Daily Texan: In light of the Civil Rights Summit this week, why is civil rights a conversation worth having, even though it’s 2014?

Grace McDonald: Racial issues are definitely still happening on campus. There are things that go on in everyday life that we are not even aware of. I mean, we still have Confederate statues here. Like, what are we really supporting, where are we really going, how are we really treating people is something that really needs to be talked about and come in more conversations because people are really lacking knowledge and lacking awareness of racial prejudice and how it has affected us because of our societal norms. 

DT: What do you think is the most important civil rights issue for students on this campus?

GM: I’d say, from the people that I’ve talked to, little comments and things people say here and there that sort of show a deeper thought process, that people think differently of them … and especially in West Campus, just like the assaults and things that happen to black students, it’s just not. It’s really not okay. 


Grant Wiles, government sophomore

Daily Texan: In light of the Civil Rights Summit that’s happening this week, do think civil right is still a conversation worth having in 2014?

GW: By no means is the fight for civil rights over. I think we saw, in the summer of 2013, with section four of the voting rights act being struck down. Immediately afterward, we had voting ID laws passed through Texas and many other states across the United States. Just because there is no segregation allowed etc. does not mean that people have equal rights in this country, and we still need to fight. I think one of the biggest future struggles for our generation is going to be marriage equality. I think that’s the next civil rights issue. I’m hopeful that, in Texas and nationally, we’ll have standards that don’t protect prejudice against people based on their beliefs.


Madeleine Toups, government junior

Daily Texan: In light of the Civil Rights Summit that is going on tomorrow, why do you think civil rights is still a conversation worth having in 2014?

MT: The best example of a civil right, this year, in this age, is equal pay for women, and then also marriage equality for everybody. I think those are both really good jumping off points for civil rights.

DT: So what do you think the most important issue to student on this campus in particular is?

MT: I think people are more concerned with marriage equality right now. It’s been making a lot of waves in the news for the past two years and a huge push this past year. Like six or seven states had major legislation in the past couple of month, so I assume student are more interested and involved in that, especially in our generation. I’m personally very interested in equal pay for women because I think its $0.77 right now to the dollar, which I think is ridiculous.