Color Blind Constitution
This excerpt from the dissent of Justice Harlan is taken from one of the popular U.S. Constitutional Law cases called Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The majority held the policy of racial segregation known as ‘separate but equal’. According to this policy the African Americans were considered equal in the eyes of law, however, keeping the history and sensitivities of white people, segregation was maintained between the two races in public places including public transport such as railroads.
Justice Harlan argued in his dissent that the Constitution of the U.S. was color blind as it did not differentiate between the people on the basis of their color especially after the abolition of slavery in 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment brought the same civil rights for African Americans as were available for the whites. He said,
“Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.”
The segregation remained in force in the U.S. until 1950s. However, the supportive voices and struggle over the decades set forth the process of social change. It is a well established fact that those nations make progress who strive for the equality in society. I wish our society too stand on the principles of equality and justice.