Thursday, June 22, 2006

Racism: Conquered!

Posted by Codemorse


House Republican leaders on Wednesday postponed a vote on renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act after GOP lawmakers complained it unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight....

....The four-decade-old law enfranchised millions of black voters by ending poll taxes and literacy tests during the height of the civil rights struggle. A vote on renewing it for another 25 years had been scheduled for Wednesday, with both Republican and Democratic leaders behind it.

The dramatic shift came after a private caucus meeting earlier Wednesday in which several Republicans also balked at extending provisions in the law that require ballots to be printed in more than one language in neighborhoods where there are large numbers of immigrants, said several participants.

"The speaker's had a standing rule that nothing would be voted on unless there's a majority of the majority," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, who led the objections. "It was pretty clear at the meeting that the majority of the majority wasn't there."

....Several Republicans, led by Westmoreland, had worked to allow an amendment that would ease a requirement that nine states win permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge to change their voting rules....The legislation was approved by the JudiciaryCommittee on a 33-1 vote. But despite leadership support, controversy has shadowed the legislation 40 years after it first prohibited policies that blocked blacks from voting.

Westmoreland says the formula for deciding which states are subject to such "pre-clearance" should be updated every four years and be based on voter turnout in the most recent three elections. "The pre-clearance portions of the Voting Rights Act should apply to all states, or no states," Westmoreland said. "Singling out certain states for special scrutiny no longer makes sense."

The amendment has powerful opponents. From Republican and Democratic leaders on down the House hierarchy, they argue that states with documented histories of discrimination may still practice it and have earned the extra scrutiny.

"This carefully crafted legislation should remain clean and unamended," Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, who worked on the original bill, which he called "the keystone of our national civil rights statutes."

By his own estimation, Westmoreland says the amendment stands little chance of being adopted.

Some of you may know Rep. Westmoreland as the guy trying to get the Ten Commandments displayed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. If you're a fan of the Colbert Report, you may also recognize him as the man who was unable to name more than three of those Commandments during an interview.

"Singling out certain states for special scrutiny no longer makes sense." Because, y'know, we've conquered racism. And because, y'know, the South doesn't treat blacks like they used to.

Unless you live in the Carolinas, like a certain friend of mine. And unless you live in a neighborhood where a black man won't enter the house of an unattended white woman, for fear of physical harm. Or you live in Alabama, with some distant relatives of mine, where having a black kid swim in the pool with you makes the water "dirty."

Yes, thank God the racist South has passed.


At 9:16 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

No history of racism in the north thank god.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Our racism tends to be the well-rounded, hate-everybody type.

And we tend not to hang folks nearly as much.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Not as much, no.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

So at what point do we in the south no longer have to be watched by our morally superior neighbors to the north?

At 4:04 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

When you stop treating black people like apes?

Isn't pointing out racism in the North sort of like saying not all racial purists were from Germany?

Said humorously, but still seriously.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

And I'm kind of surprised you'd lump yourself in with those folks. Do you disagree that the South is not more racist than the North as a whole? And in particular, those nine states?

At 4:18 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

is more racist, I mean.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I think that the south's history of racism is certainly less subtle than the racism that is found in the north. You guys have done your share of lynching, owned your share of slaves, and there was segregation everywhere in the 50's. I'll grant you that we had laws, horrible ones, that make some watch dogging necessary and the KKK (and strangely enough Krispy Kreme) was birthed here. But no part of our country is absolved from its racist history.

As for lumping myself in with "those folks" I'm from the south. I may have been born north of the Mason-Dixon, but 90% of my life has been lived here and I'll gladly die here. We have some lovely things and traditions here. We also have some damn ugly ones.

My question is only, when can we be able to let go of the past and move forward?

And regarding our historical treatment of blacks, as I recall NYC was an unhappy place to live if you were Irish or Italian for quite some time. So racism isn't just about black vs. white.


Post a Comment

<< Home