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  • Writer's pictureBrian Powers

Episode 32 - Crumb of Equality

So this is an attempt to bring the other side of this anecdote to light, because it is only ever quoted and retold in the way the first half does it - jackass tries to derail the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by inserting poison pill, only to get his comeuppance when it passes. The problem with that narrative, although it's a stupid fun story, is that it diminishes the entire provision by reducing it to the level of a joke that backfires. I know, I know - I'm sucking the fun out of it, but it's truer that the reality is that someone who had been fighting for this very thing her entire career saw her moment to break through, and she made it work. It wasn't a joke from an idiot that passed this provision - it was decades spent working on bringing it to fruition and normalizing the very notion of equality, then a savvy ground game to capitalize on a strategic error - the real point is that there was enough support to prohibit sex discrimination with a good nudge, and Rep. Griffiths understood it while Rep. Smith seemingly did not. That's 3D chess, but the story gets lost.


On the problematic/downright evil side, Griffiths was a member of a pro-gender equality group that was pretty racist in its outlook, and it was the talking points of that group that she thought would resonate with the Old South Congressroaches to support the amendment in favor of gender equality. The Sixties really were a confusing time for all.


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