Voting Rights Act Effectively Dead–neo-Jim Crow Prevails

by Matthew Payne on June 25, 2013Comments Off

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Yeah, cuz We Can Trust Southern States to Protect Minority Voting Rights . . . (Florida Voting Precinct, 2012 c/o New York Times). And note, you can’t find any similar pictures for white voters. Hmmm.

Given the blatant and rather racist efforts to disenfranchise minority voters recently, the Supreme Court deciding to strike down the pre-clearance portions of the Civil Rights Act clears the way for the construction of a ne0-Jim Crow order.  Think I’m exaggerating?  I’m not.  (But, of course, this time the disenfranchisement will include Hispanic minorities and also, I’m guessing, they’ll get around to single females as well).  That the Supreme Court overturned a law that had passed constitutional muster over and over again, AND, had been overwhelmingly renewed by Congress, only indicates that the highest court in the land is actually the place your rights go to die.  Oh, and the majority include genteel racists (0r, if you prefer, racism enablers) and race fantasists who are trying to socially engineer their own political preferences (which I see as white political hegemony, since only whites will vote for conservative politicians in majorities).  Heeeeeeeeelllllllllllloooooo Jim Crow?  Where ya been?

Is that an extreme statement?  Hellz to the noes.  As the Paula Deen episode indicates, there is a truckload of fairly awful racist sentiment among rich, middle-aged White elites in the South that is probably considered socially unacceptable in other portions of the country.  (TROLL ALERT:  If you view antebellum plantations as anything other than vicious little Gulags designed to produce a parasitical living for an oligarchic elite, you are a racist.  Gone with the Wind was a racist fantasy, not a historical investigation).  Social science has indicated that racist attitudes are far more prevalent among Republican-voting Whites of the old confederacy and not just “rednecks.”  The brouhaha over a cereal ad ought to indicate to anyone who is paying attention that racist attitudes are alive and well (and not just in the South).  As a resident of Georgia, I don’t want to hear this nonsense about how the South isn’t racist.  Chicago and Boston were pretty damn racist in my experience growing up, but here in Georgia I have had neighbors who’s idea of good form was putting a “negro” fishing boy statue (like a lawn jockey) on a dock with noose around its neck (!), rebel flags flying proudly over businesses (said flag not being adopted by the state until Brown v. Board of Education.  Hmmmm.  Heritage!) and neighbors concerned about school district borders including apartment buildings containing “them, you know, the “school-lunch kids.”  Yeah, rural lower class folks (often on welfare or government assistance themselves!) drop the n-word in casual conversation but I have had discussions with professionals and businessmen where circumlocutions like “welfare counties” are used.  Kevin Kruse wrote the book about white flight concerning Atlanta (which was not the “city too busy to hate” but the “city too busy moving to Cobb County to care”), and our state legislature has gerrymandered the hell out of our Congressional districts on racial lines (which even African-American supporters of racial preferences in districting now recognize–thanks, liberals).

And don’t give me the “speaking from ignorance argument”–my President, the President of Emory University for Christ sakes, thought such political machinations over race, in his case the infamous 3/5ths clause of the Constitution, was a fine example of successful compromise.  He forgot the whole “oops” about writing slavery into the constitution and building up an unrepresentative “slave power” that made a brutal Civil War inevitable, despite numerous racial “compromises.”  And where did Mr. Wagner (said College President) get his ideas? Why, at a panel of eminent politicians/alumni at Emory Law School (“The panel included a former US senator, former and current congressmen, and the attorney general for Georgia.”–I’m guessing mostly white.  And, yup.) which opined on how political impasse could be overcome.  I don’t know what is more shocking, that these guys (and one gal) felt at ease to throw out as a model the foundational dirty deal that helped cement slavery in America (over, say, the “Great Compromise” of a bicameral legislature, one house popularly elected, the other with equal representation by state), or that the audience didn’t take them to task.  For my own reasons, especially my sense that my home state is deeply and malignly racist and that political operatives in the GOP will use such sentiments to political advantage, all I’ve got to say to the Supreme Court is, “Thanks, thanks a lot you evil bastards.”

As usual, the immortal Atrios over at Eschaton says it better than me, so I’ll end with his words of wisdom.

SCOTUS says places with histories of violating the voting rights of minorities are now free to continue doing so.