Public policies and legal protections concerning equal status and treatment in American society to advance the goals of equal opportunity, fair and open political participation, and equal treatment under the law without regard to race, gender, disability status, and other demographic characteristics.
Fundamental value underlying the governing system of the United States that emphasizes all citizens’ opportunities to vote, run for office, own property, and enjoy civil liberties protections under the Constitution.
Equality of condition
A conception of equality that exists in some countries that value equal economic status as well as equal access to housing, health care, education, and government services.
equality of opportunity
A conception of equality that seeks to provide all citizens with opportunities for participation in the economic system and public life but accepts unequal results in income, political power, and property ownership.
Jim Crow Laws
Laws enacted by southern state legislatures after the Civil War that mandated rigid racial segregation. For example, such laws not only required separate bank teller windows and elevators but also separate Bibles for swearing in African-American witnesses in court.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
A U.S. Supreme Court decision that endorsed the legality of racial segregation laws by permitting “separate but equal” services and facilities for African Americans, even though the services and facilities were actually inferior, such as markedly inferior schools for African-American children.