This paper should have two parts (you don’t have to number them, just make sure you share your thoughts about both things.
- To this point we’ve been considering, in one way or other the idea of human rights. For instance, we analyzed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thinking about which things were truly rights for all humans, regardless of where they live, what things were not really human rights, but things which would be nice to have in a perfect world, and things which rather than being “right” were perhaps wrong and injurious to persons by virtue of the fact that they inflict damage to a culture in one way. We’ve also considered the relationship of the UDHR to earlier declarations–specifically the “Four Freedoms” speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Amendments 13, 14, and 15 to the United States Constitution.
- PART ONE: Reflect on question of rights, remembering that rights are not “given” to us, but are parts of who we are from birth, simply because of our humanity. Which rights seem most important to you, from your point of view and from the experiences you’ve had in your life so far?
- PART TWO: Across the past several weeks, we’ve analyzed a number of documents concerning those “rights” in America. We’ve looked, for example at the Majority Opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Dissenting Opinion in by Justice Harlan. What I want you to do in this part of your paper is reflect on the United States’ record as far as human rights have been concerned. From your viewpoint (as you reflected on it in part one) How has this country done across the years. How is it doing now? What, if anything, still needs to be done? (Remember, for example I asked you how many of you had had an African American teacher in grade or high school, and some of you had none: In fact, some of you have still not had an African American teacher. What might be the cause of the continuing segregation we experience in our lives? What do you think? Consider the last to court decisions–one having happened only this summer. Have we gone far enough in the political sense? Have we gone too far? What do you think?