Opinion

The Great Debate

Voting Rights: Scalia v. minority protection

By David Dante Troutt
March 5, 2013

It’s rare to reach a point in our national sense of humor that a sitting Supreme Court justice emerges as the butt of popular jokes for comments he made during an oral argument. That’s what happened last week, however, after Justice Antonin Scalia asked lawyers defending Congress’s extension of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act whether maintaining the pre-clearance formula for nine “covered” states, which are subject to federal oversight, was really just a “racial entitlement” program and not a constitutional necessity.

The media filled with guffaws about the justice’s audacity. Cartoonists ridiculed his racial insensitivity. MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow, dismissing Scalia’s words as mere willful provocation, called him a “troll.”

We’d be wise to watch the name-calling. Insulting as Scalia’s words sound, there’s more to the justice’s comments than political incorrectness. For those who care about more than full and fair voting rights for minorities, responding to the perceived slight with more name-calling misses the point. Scalia was talking about far more than the Voting Rights Act. He was talking about whether the Constitution affords minorities any real protection for a range of discrimination anymore.

Take Shelby County v. Holder, argued February 27 before the Supreme Court: Is the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act still constitutional — though Congress found extensive examples of racial discrimination in voting as recently as 2006? One might answer yes, because Congress has the authority to do that under our system. The 2006 extension came after Congress compiled a voluminous record of problems and was passed overwhelmingly by the House and — for the first time — unanimously in the Senate.

Beyond this question of congressional power, however, is a question of belief. If you answer yes, it is because you probably hold three beliefs. First, you believe that race and color are still significant risk factors in the exercise of some constitutional rights — like voting. Second, you believe there’s reliable evidence to support the first belief. And third, you think that laws as written can fix it.

Scalia does not share those beliefs. So last week he offered a different explanation for Congress’s unanimous vote. “I think it is attributable,” Scalia said, “very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

There are two ways to approach Scalia’s point. First, one might ask whether senators and representatives had by 2006 reached a collective point where it was understood that they should just give minorities the protection of Section 5 without question and out of habit.

That seems unlikely. There’s no evidence to support that kind of “motive analysis, as one lawyer put it, and it wasn’t really the question the court was asked to decide. It’s as hard to imagine Congress in 2006 doling out racial entitlements to vote as it is to imagine this court using that speculation to overturn a federal law.

The other way to see Scalia’s comments is that he is asking more broadly whether the continued existence of the whole Section 5 scheme — maybe even the entire Voting Rights Act — reflects an aberrant and outdated strain of racial entitlements that the court is empowered to root out. Even if the 2006 Congress offered a substantial record for its reasons. This is really why Scalia asked the question — and why so much time was then spent on it by the other justices that day.

When Scalia said “it’s been written about,” he was largely referring to conservative legal analysts , mostly dating back to when Congress reauthorized Section 5 in 1982. Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) was among the senators asserting the existence of what they called “racial entitlement theory.” This was the idea that the Voting Rights Act, 15 years after its passage, was being used to secure minority districts even in the absence of voter discrimination.

In the 1980s, these criticisms became lawsuits under Section 2 (the part of the law that prohibits voting discrimination nationwide), involving the question of how to prove an effort to dilute minority votes. What linked these criticisms of Section 2 and Section 5 was the question of whether an anti-discrimination principle governs the applicable test for getting federal relief.

Scalia doesn’t generally call it an anti-discrimination principle. Like many conservatives, he calls it a non-discrimination principle. To him, that means race should never matter unless there is proof of intentional racial discrimination — like explicit racial policies, lynch mobs or hate speech. Otherwise, a racial distinction for any purpose — even to address clear racial disadvantage — is unconstitutional.

This is an aggressive form of colorblindness, and since the 1980s the idea has expanded beyond voting rights cases to any case involving race. For example, in Adarand v. Pena, a 1995 case about a federal program to support minority contracting, Scalia wrote: “To pursue the concept of racial entitlement — even for the most admirable and benign of purposes — is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery … In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.”

One person’s rights shouldn’t be another person’s mischief — or another judge’s “entitlements.” If you believe the considerable evidence that people of color still face significant disadvantages in securing the outcomes (like a quality education, personal privacy, unencumbered freedom to vote, building businesses and owning homes through fair market rules) that our federal system was designed to facilitate (under the constitutional rights to speech, to vote, to contract, to be free from unwarranted police seizures and to avoid cruel and unusual punishments), then Scalia’s comments are a special concern in search of rebuttal.

So far they’ve gotten little. Nobody wants to talk about race anymore. Scalia and less extreme conservatives have succeeded in making the issue of ironclad colorblindness and extraordinary proof of intentional race discrimination the way to see race in constitutional conversation. That’s his paradigm — and he’s sticking the rest of us to it.

Justice Stephen Breyer — no archconservative, he — asked a fair question last week that demonstrated the lack of clear rebuttal to Scalia’s views on race. Breyer asked: How do we know when the time to protect racial minorities’ constitutional rights has run out?

This the left must answer. And there is an answer — though it requires a paradigm shift. Despite extraordinary progress on race, the left must document not only the long, sad record of racial disadvantage that still exists in voting and school financing and lending discrimination. It must demonstrate the persistence of the underlying condition that allows minority districts to work, schools to fail and neighborhoods to be preyed on by subprime lenders: re-segregation.

The left must offer a paradigm that explains why too many issues we thought should go away have not. That paradigm is institutional racism, not intentional racism, the kind set in motion not by evil schemes but by inequitable rules capable of producing the same effects — unless they’re discussed openly and singled out for reform.

Consider, as an example, the issue of affordable housing. A government program provides housing vouchers so low-income, predominantly minority, families can rent housing in resource-rich, predominantly white neighborhoods. But say the program sets boundary rules that reach only as far as nearby black neighborhoods. Nobody should be surprised to see segregation by race and class continue despite such a program, yet there’s no evidence of the government’s intent to discriminate against minority renters. A voter ID law that disproportionately affects minority voters may do the same thing in the voting arena.

Will this kind of rebuttal work in future cases before the court? Certainly not now — not given the straitjacket of the intentional discrimination paradigm in which evidence of racial animus is required. In fact, conservative justices succeeded in eliminating this rebuttal during the 1980s, making systemwide race discrimination extremely hard to prove except in a few areas — voting rights and fair housing. Scalia’s questions suggest a desire to eliminate any remaining grounds to claim institutional racism.

Rather than join in a game of the (constitutional) dozens, liberals need to engage the public in a fact-based examination of institutionalized racial disadvantage. Just because discrimination wears no hood doesn’t mean it cannot deny opportunity on the basis of race and color. The empirical evidence of unintentional racial disadvantage continues to mount in educational disparities, home foreclosures, prison incarceration rates and public health problems. Some of these disparities have constitutional dimensions that will never be reached if we’re blind to their racial dimensions.

As people of color approach majority status in many parts of the country, safeguarding their full participation is increasingly imperative to all of us.

This also raises the question of what should be done with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Given Congress’s 15,000-page record, listing 2,400 discriminatory voting changes from 1982 to 2006 and the 650 successful voting rights lawsuits in “covered” jurisdictions, we still need its deterrent effects in the nine states and assorted cities it covers. However, given the recent proliferation of voter suppression devices such as voter ID statutes and disproportionately long lines in minority districts in the 2012 election outside of covered districts, it is probably time to amend the Voting Rights Act to ensure equitable voting rules for all.

On the broad question of racial disadvantage, our great progress shows that overcoming discrimination takes time. Scalia-type “nondiscrimination,” or aggressive colorblindness, blinds us to the clear existence of continuing racial dis-entitlements while calling them their opposite, entitlements.

We could use more constructive language from the Supreme Court. If there is a common ground, let it be this: Every American should be impatient about racial inequity.

Our Constitution entitles us all to something better.

 

ILLUSTRATION (Top): MATT MAHURIN

PHOTO (Insert A): Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before a House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

ILLUSTRATION (Insert B): MATT MAHURIN

PHOTO (Insert C): Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer (L) and Antonin Scalia testify before a House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 20, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Comments
33 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Quite a bit is being made — starting with Justice Sotomayor at the oral argument — of Justice Scalia’s statement that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is likely to be reauthorized by Congress in perpetuity because that’s the way it is with all “racial entitlement” programs. The transcript of the oral argument is available here: http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/02/todays -transcripts-153/ – Justice Scalia’s statement is on page 47, and Justice Sotomayor’s reaction to it on page 63.

Pace Justice Sotomayor — and kudos to the author of this article for at least implicitly agreeing — I don’t think that Justice Scalia meant that the “right to vote” is a racial entitlement (duh). Rather, I think he was adverting to the fact that Section 5 guarantees not just nondiscrimination but, in key respects, special treatment on the basis of race. The most obvious is the creation and maintenance of racially identifiable districts — indeed, the principal use of Section 5 these days is to ensure this sort of racial gerrymandering and segregation, as Joshua Thompson and I discussed in a Bench Memos post earlier this week:
http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memo s/341443/two-points-ishelby-county-v-hol deri-roger-clegg

More generally, as we also discussed, the combination of a preclearance requirement and an “effects” test guarantees that voting practices that have a racially disproportionate effect will be blocked, even if they further legitimate ends and are nondiscriminatory by their terms, in their intent, and in their application. All of this is fairly described as “racial entitlement.”

Posted by RogerClegg | Report as abusive
 

Here is the critical question: “If you believe their is the considerable evidence that people of color still face significant disadvantages in securing the outcomes….”

This is an issue about “access” pure and simple. The individual does have the option to exercise that right (to vote or not to vote)–but that is all. The discussion should be on that issue only.

One raises a significant concerns should the concept of “outcomes” be incorporated in any discussion associated with voting. (Thus, one could counter that any conservative in CA or NY is under-represented and is unable to secure a desired “outcome”.) Again, this only reasonable access.

The idea that voting is structured to secure any desired “outcome” will guarantee that the process is compromised and corrupted–as evidenced by the fact that Obama secured literally 100% of the votes cast within selected precincts. That is, in every way, shape or form statistically impossible.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive
 

Scalia thinks he’s Anglo-Saxon.

Posted by krimsonpage | Report as abusive
 

What Scalia was objecting to was the system of de facto apartheid that results from re-districting under Section 5, a system that benefits minority politicians by ensuring that they never have to compete for votes from people of other races.

Posted by kramartini | Report as abusive
 

It’s the old debate that progressives hate to hear. The right to the “pursuit of happiness” is quite different to the entitlement of each and every citizen TO “happiness.

What is being argued is that minorities don’t make the time and take the effort to vote in proportion to their numbers. That makes it OK (with NO voter I.D. requirement) for some of those that DO show up to do so multiple times in multiple places under multiple names.

Progressives are quite sensitive that minorities’ investment of individual time and energy in the American elective process is relatively low and their understanding of said process even lower. They seek any rule, regulation or other advantage as will provide minority political representation more in line with their padded census numbers even with poor election turnouts.

To them, “Voter I.D.” laws reduce the ease and incidence of some who otherwise vote “early and often”. Without uniform, competent and strong enforcement of the principle of “one man, one vote”, it is all to easy for anybody to claim to be anybody and successfully cast multiple votes in one or even multiple precincts.

Long past time to end such loopholes if society’s honest voters are to have honest results.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

This “voting rights” issue is far more than a simple issue of ensuring “people of color” are guaranteed their legal right to vote.

What lies beneath is the issue of whether “people of white” should be denied their present equal rights guaranteed them under the US Constitution to redress wrongs that most did not commit. The attempt to address issues of racial inequality is creating racial inequality through “reverse discrimination”.

A prime example of this is the PC (i.e. “politically correct”) movement, which denies “people of white” their constitutional right to free speech. This PC movement is jealously guarded, since any lapse in it could potentially undermine the “racial entitlements” of “people of color”. Denial of the rights of one group of people to permit special privileges to another segment in society is wrong.

Thus, Justice Scalia is absolutely correct that the whole attempt to ensure racial equality, while an admirable idea, was/is totally wrong. Indeed, it has actually served to perpetuate racial inequality and dependence on “welfare” from the state by “people of color”.

This perversion of the US Constitution has indeed become a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” that must be reversed so that the US government, at least, becomes racially blind.

This is a social matter that must be sorted out by society, not by government fiat.

I have followed this “voting rights” issue with great interest since it is a litmus test of the whole racial inequality issue.

The absolute ferocity with which “people of color” are defending this relatively simple issue indicates to me that what they are really fighting for is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement”.

“People of color” had a coherent political movement decades ago, but with their “racial entitlement” program firmly in place there is no longer any need for them to strive to better themselves.

They have become “wards of the state” through special entitlements solely because of their race. And the results show the detrimental effects of their states in terms of a lack of progression towards real equality based on strength instead of handouts from the government.

The problem is not “whitey” as most “people of color” tend to still believe, but a system that is anything but fair to anyone who is not wealthy. First, and most glaringly obvious of all, not all “people of color” are poor and not all “people of white” are wealthy. This fact is universally overlooked in all articles written on the subject.

It is time for the government to stop allowing the use of guilt-driven legislation by “people of color” for reverse discrimination against “people of white”. It has simply perpetuated the system it was designed to destroy.

We, as a nation, if we want to survive, MUST become “color blind”. Our social and economic problems are no longer race-based. Those are issues from another century that must be set aside by the government. It is time we moved on to deal with the issues of this century.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

Goddamn greasy wop shouldn’t have been allowed to go to law school, much less sit on the nation’s highest court. He and his kind should be rounded up, taken to Ellis Island where they snuck in here in the first place and shipped back to where they came from–or maybe made to walk home.

(If anyone doesn’t get the irony here, I’m really sorry for you.)

Posted by Art_In_Seattle | Report as abusive
 

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE. This is the answer to Justice Breyer’ s most relevant question as to how do we know the time has come to stop protecting rights. And the author of this piece David Troutt makes a good case for The oh so precious Section Five to be amended to include more areas covered. No matter how thin you slice it a provision enacted by law is not an entitlement. And yes color blindness can be used against people of color the same as suddenly overfeeding a starving individual. I see a comment about people of color receiving racial entitlements and having no need to better themselves. Then the commenter at the height of hypocrisy makes a clarion call to be color blind.This and most of the other comments which carry a tone of in your.face racial insensitivity should be read by Scalia and inform his enquiry about the perpetuation of mischief. A Rose by any other name is still a rose.

Posted by turtledove | Report as abusive
 

How does a politician devise a strategy to differentiate themselves if we are one people? For many, their power lies in our division. It can be more readily implied that this person is for me and my kind because he or she is one of us. It’s a much simpler way to differentiate for most US citizens than to actual have to learn and understand the various nuances of actual issues. Dumbed down and controlled is what we are. Our division is largely propogated by those who hope to control us, on both sides of the aisle and among all segmentations therein.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive
 

I would also like to point out, in addition to my comment above, that the author is at the very least being very disingenuous — the other two choices are naive or outright liar — by engaging in extremelly loose semantics to describe his “point”.

His “point” being that “As people of color approach majority status in many parts of the country, safeguarding their full participation is increasingly imperative to all of us”, which really has no merit if approached logically and free from bias that the article fails to accomplish.

Mr. Troutt is cleverly coupling together “people of color” and “majority status”, which totally distorts the meaning of what he is attempting to say. Supposedly, that racial discrimination laws should be continued to offset the racial inequalities visited up the blacks in this country.

This is a valid point for discussion, which I believe I answered above in the negative for the reasons I stated.

However, by using the phrase “people of color” he is attempting to join by “common cause” other races as well, specifically by the mention of “majority status” he means the Hispanic people in this nation.

He is deliberately not elaborating on what he really means by use of the nebulous phrase “people of color”. While he really means to include Hispanics in his article he does not dare do so because whatever merit his argument might have had would be lost immediately.

Instead, he chooses to evade the truth of what he means. He lies about his intentions in writing the article.

Hispanics are “political chameleons” who change their
camoflage colors to blend in with the political scenery.

If it is to their advantage to be “people of white”, they become “people of white”. But if it is to their political advantage, they magically become “people of color”.

A useful survival trait, indeed, especially since the “people of white” have obviously not caught on to the deception and, in truth, probably never will.

As a result, Hispanics — to whom we “people of white” owe no debt of previous racial mistreatment (i.e. slavery) — are treated exactly the same as blacks in terms of being accorded special treatment.

It is a clever scheme, both by the author and the Hispanic population, to link racial inequality to legimate questions of black slavery in our past, but it has worked beautifully to their advantage and, more importantly, to the ultimate disadvantage of “people of white” in this country.

ALL of this is a massive scam to take advantage of the liberal attitudes of the “people of white”, combined with an American weakness for a sense of justice (even where no injustice exists) to permit this to happen.

As a country, we have limited resources and can ill afford to allow the massive migration of Hispanics into this nation, much less accord them special treatment as if we had held them as slaves in the past, therey giving them enormous special privileges that are literally causing this nation to become a third world country.

We are “dumbing down” our society for a people to whom we owe literally nothing. For example, we are allowing our school systems to be destroyed, forcing them to the level of the lowest common denominator, through a grotesque and grossly misplaced sense of injustice where none exists.

“Multiculturalism”, especially the egregious lies of the Hispanic “chameleons” is destroying this nation.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

NBP in jack boots with billy clubs in Philly is OK according to our DoJ Holder, enough said. It’s a two way street and they dropped the ball by giving them a pass.

Posted by Laweegee | Report as abusive
 

From one of the commenters here we can ascertain the traits of the non progressive ,hysteria pandering, non inclusive elements.

Posted by turtledove | Report as abusive
 

“Consider, as an example, the issue of affordable housing. A government program provides housing vouchers so low-income, predominantly minority, families can rent housing in resource-rich, predominantly white neighborhoods.”

I’m puzzled by this statement. Where I live (on the West Coast) “resource-rich” neighborhoods are multi-racial and multi-cultural, often heavily Asian. And also, previously “resource-poor” neighborhoods have become “resource-rich” when demographics changed due to gentrification, that is the arrival of new residents of various races who brought in new businesses and renovated housing. In other words, it’s not the “neighborhoods” that are “resource-rich,” but rather the people in the neighborhoods who make an area “resource-rich” or “resource-poor.”

Posted by bluepanther | Report as abusive
 

Go, Turtle!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@ Turtledove –

You state, “THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE. This is the answer to Justice Breyer’ s most relevant question as to how do we know the time has come to stop protecting rights. And the author of this piece David Troutt makes a good case for The oh so precious Section Five to be amended to include more areas covered. No matter how thin you slice it a provision enacted by law is not an entitlement. And yes color blindness can be used against people of color the same as suddenly overfeeding a starving individual. I see a comment about people of color receiving racial entitlements and having no need to better themselves. Then the commenter at the height of hypocrisy makes a clarion call to be color blind.This and most of the other comments which carry a tone of in your face racial insensitivity should be read by Scalia and inform his enquiry about the perpetuation of mischief. A Rose by any other name is still a rose.”
Posted by turtledove

————————————-

Thanks for making my point.

You mistake me for a racist, when I am actually a realist. Clearly, you are not.

By what right do you demand some in society receive special treatment, while others are denied their rights to accommodate these privileges?

Who does the deciding?

What are the criteria?

If you read my article more carefully, you will realize what I said was “We, as a nation, if we want to survive, MUST become “color blind”. Our social and economic problems are no longer race-based. Those are issues from another century that must be set aside by the government. It is time we moved on to deal with the issues of this century.”

Notice I said these issues must be “set aside by the government”. You CANNOT legislate racial equality. It is against human nature to treat all others with respect.

For example, it is the reason you are dissing my comment as the “height of hypocrisy mak(ing) a clarion call to be color blind. This and most of the other comments which carry a tone of in your face racial insensitivity”, which is more an overt expression of your personal bias than the truth.

Our human nature is actually why we have laws and religion, but neither works particularly well or we wouldn’t be in this mess.

You also state “No matter how thin you slice it a provision enacted by law is not an entitlement.”

Really?

How do you feel about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all of which have been enacted into law and are now popularly called “entitlements” (with an extremely negative connotation that is far from the truth)?

I do agree, however, that “A Rose by any other name is still a rose”, which means to me that your racial bigotry (the reverse discrimination kind that exists today), insensitivity to my comments, and failure to understand even the simplest concepts of justice or economics “stinks”.

By the way, Mr. Troutt and his implied argument that the law should “be amended to include more areas covered” is a thinly disguised exercise in racial discrimination against “people of white”, who supposedly should be held to pay for everything minorities want in this country.

Mr. Troutt, as I pointed out, is a liar. The intent of the original antidiscrimination laws was to make amends for wrongs against the blacks who had been held in slavery and had become disinfranchised by society as a result.

To extend this to the Hispanic population for ANY reason would be a gross miscarriage of justice. Frankly, their demands are growing rather tiresome, much like the whining of a spoiled child. If they don’t like it here, they should go home. In fact, that whould be a good idea in any case.

What you people seem to forget is that “whitey”, according to the latest data (assuming you include Hispanics as “people of color”) are now a minority in this country.

Would you extend the same “minority” rights to “people of white” as you propose to do for “people of color”?

What you and Mr. Troutt are arguing is stupidity beyond belief.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

Wow, in rare form today Turtle! Very well said sir!

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

It’s amazing the number of bigots that have come out today. First, no one uses the name, “Whitey.” That went out with the seventies. Blacks are no more dependent on the government as any other race in America. The minorities are doing better than they were years ago and the vast majority of us are going to college and moving up the ladder. For example, there are Blacks in the White House now, However, there are a few Whites that want to go back to the 1950′s Justice Scalia being one of them. The only reason the Voting Rights is coming into play is because the Republicans lost the last presidential election. There is no evidence to prove that Blacks voted twice in this election and is the illusion of a sore loser. Where was this concern in 2000 and 2004 when thousands of Blacks were denied the right to vote and George Bush won. Where were all of these concerned citizens then. Where is this concern when Blacks and other Progressives are redistricted out of Conservative districts so that conservativ candidates have a shot to win. Striking down this act allows society to discriminate more and to allow Whites in majority Black districts to elminate their votes. It does not serve to bring us together because some Whites have already made up their minds about how they think about Blacks and other minorities in America. I suggest that minorities get out there and fight for our rights. There has only been eight incidents of voting fraud in America but yet we are going to change these laws in favor of racist Whites. However, there are people killed in this country every minute by gun fire and the conservatives on the Supreme Court has not seen fit to have guns registered in this country. If it walks like a bigot, talk like a bigot, it probably is one.

Posted by 1blackman | Report as abusive
 

All I know is that if they are going to pound blacks back into the ground because (racism is dead); they better not raise the homosexuals (sexual behaviors are alive). They need to remember ‘equality under the law’.

Posted by CarolinaSistah | Report as abusive
 

Pray tell, Justice Scalia, would you really rather be black?

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

@Laweegee, I don’t know how you can be so afraid of two guys, but somehow you are.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

@kramartini, if that is so then Justice Scalia should also be against the extreme redistricting by GOP state legislatures that led to a majority GOP House despite the fact that Repos received some three million fewer votes for their House candidates than the Dems did in the last election.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

Actually the issue is very, very, very simple.

Either we treat all US citizens as equal (that means treated the same) before the law, or they are not. If they are not, do we legally discriminate on the basis of birth characteristics or no? If we discriminate on the basis of birth characteristics, which ones do we legally favor?

Very, very simple. It is an either / or choice. Clearly the US Government, for all its fine words and complicated hand waving, has decided to discriminate. No one is going to enjoy the result, I think. And no one can change it. Now instead of race management at the State level, we have it at the National level. But not equally among the States.

During Reconstruction we denied whites in the South the right to vote. Now they have limited self-government. Will the Civil War ever end? Probably not. And there are many, primarily in the self-righteous North, who do not want it to.

Posted by usagadfly | Report as abusive
 

@ 1blackman –

It’s amazing the number of bigots that have come out today. First, no one uses the name, “Whitey.” That went out with the seventies. Blacks are no more dependent on the government as any other race in America. The minorities are doing better than they were years ago and the vast majority of us are going to college and moving up the ladder. For example, there are Blacks in the White House now.

———————————–

Although you appear well-educated by your comment, you don’t seem to read or understand any better than my previous detractor Turtledove.

In spite of your education you are apparently as bigoted as he was in his slanderous comments to me.

Racists come in all colors, as your comments prove.

As I said above, I am NOT a racist, but a realist. NONE of my comments are racist. They are racist ONLY if you care to take them that way.

You state, “Blacks are no more dependent on the government as any other race in America”, which is probably true, but then why should they be dependent on the government at all? That is my point. It is time to end this race/color-based welfare system and move on with our lives.

Apparently, people like you don’t want to do that, even though by your own admission “The minorities are doing better than they were years ago and the vast majority of us are going to college and moving up the ladder”, which tends to lend credence to my argument and weaken yours (as well as that of the author).

Your also state, “For example, there are Blacks in the White House now”, which is unfortunately true for this nation since the president was elected solely on the basis of his race and not his abilities (TWICE).

THAT is an example of the pernicious effects of racism in this country that we need to rid ourselve of as soon as possible. Personally, I don’t care if we elect a white, black, yellow, brown or blue candidate (male or female) as long as he/she can perform the duties that this country needs to survive in this hostile world.

I fail to understand why you people — not a racial slur, but simply a question to people in general — seem to be having such a problem with that?

By the way, you appear to be far more up to date on racial slurs than I am. I thought “whitey” was a racail slur, but if you say it hasn’t been used by blacks since the 1970s, I guess I’ll have to take your word for it.

Oh, one other thing. Maybe you should tell the people who write dictionaries they are wrong in their definition (which I looked up AFTER you said I was wrong).

whitey

white·y
[hwahy-tee, wahy-] Show IPA
noun ( sometimes initial capital letter ) Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
a white person or white people collectively.
Also, whity.

Origin:
1820–30; white + -ey2

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
Cite This Source
|
Link To whitey
Collins

World English Dictionary
whitey or whity (ˈwaɪtɪ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

— n
chiefly ( US ) (used contemptuously by Black people) a White man

——————————————–

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, let me spell it out for you. I absolutely HATE stupidity, racism (including, and especially, the reverse kind because it is so subtle and insidious) and bigotry! Especially since they all seem to go together so nicely.

And, as I said, they come in ALL colors.

Thanks for proving my point.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

@ usagadfly –

Very well put! Thank you.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

@ 1blackman –

I was so incensed at the bigotry at the beginning of your comment I didn’t read the rest of it, which right now I wish I hadn’t. If you are indeed black as the name you are using implies, you are the worst kind of racist and bigot possible.

And you have the unmitigated gaul to call me a racist?

——————————————-

You state, “Striking down this act allows society to discriminate more and to allow Whites in majority Black districts to elminate their votes. It does not serve to bring us together because some Whites have already made up their minds about how they think about Blacks and other minorities in America. I suggest that minorities get out there and fight for our rights. There has only been eight incidents of voting fraud in America but yet we are going to change these laws in favor of racist Whites. However, there are people killed in this country every minute by gun fire and the conservatives on the Supreme Court has not seen fit to have guns registered in this country. If it walks like a bigot, talk like a bigot, it probably is one.

—————————————

I can’t possible express the anger I feel over reading your filthy racist garbage! It is people like YOU who are the problem in this country.

As I said above in another context, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you go elsewhere — especially since this nation has seemed to do very well by you, in spite of your race.

Your are disgusting!

You are right about one thing “If it walks like a bigot, talk like a bigot, it probably is one”.

No doubt you know exactly what that means from personal experience because you are a BIGOT!

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

A final thought –

Unfortunately, it is impossible to reason with people who have an entirely different agenda than attempting to resolve our problems.

Instead, they hide their racism and bigotry under supposedly “rational” arguments that the minorities in this country somehow “deserve” to be treated better than the whites who, of course, are responsible for all of their problems.

The author and several commentators have advanced this argument, but it is wrong.

It will soon tear this nation apart again as it has before.

If we can’t somehow come together as one people, we will not survive. That is a fact.

If that is what you want, your present attitudes will soon reach fruition. We will become a third world nation, riven by internal divisions of wealth and race. No country can survive under those conditions.

When that happens, which will probably be very soon now, it will be because the present economic and social conditions are allowed (or actively encouraged) to continue to grow exponentially worse to the point where we will collapse.

Apparently, nothing I can say or any argument that I can reasonably advance will change that, so there is no point in continuing this discussion any longer.

In the end, you people will get what you deserve.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

@1blackman,

YOU exemplify the primary “problem” facing”minorities”. Denial. It is that they do not, by and large, hold others like themselves properly accountable for the logical and predictable results of their actions and inactions.

The “Red Tails” black pilots of WW II suffered discrimination and prejudice that was as irresistible as it was pervasive. For that matter, so did the white female “Wasps” (ferry pilots).

Nonetheless, each put their “shoulders to the wheel” and showed the world their “measure” and what they could do even when not given a “fair” chance. They, and the ordinary soldiers of the “Red Ball Express and the sailors that worked ammunition and as cooks and stewards rose above their circumstance whenever ans wherever they could. It will forever be a blot on America that many of them did not thereafter have the opportunity to live out their lives in the dignity they most certain earned and deserved.

But today many of their descendents shuffle around like the ignorant sloths they are, with shirts too big, caps backward, pants “on the ground” jivin’ in the “hood”. Yes, “The minorities are doing better than they were years ago…” but “…the vast majority…” are NOT “…going to college and moving up the ladder.

You can’t have been serious. They are instead responsible for the “dumbing down” of America’s public schools, the methodical destruction of “public housing”, the greatest volume use of drugs, and the seduction of stupid young whites to join them on the path that goes nowhere.

YOU are the exception, and that carries with it greater responsibility for being honest with your “brothers” as to how to succeed in America. In your own way, YOU are a bigot. You expect others to do what YOU should do.

The reason the majority of people “killed by gunfire” in this country are overwhelmingly minorities is that they are “acting out” inappropriately in their own society as well as society as a whole. A totally disproportionate number are gang members, druggies, or engaged in criminal activity. Guess what? That’s “risky business”!

Statistics tell us the great majority of robberies, home invasions, car jackings, assaults, etc. are being committed by “minorities”. These are the faces we see day after day and night after night on the news. Does it really surprise you that many guns are specifically purchased for the purpose of personal defense against any and all who would take what they own in a heartbeat if given the opportunity? And yes, in the dark wearing hoodies all minorities do “look alike”.

Japanese-Americans bore the brunt of extreme American prejudice in WW II, but many joined our service to fight. They distinguished themselves “above and beyond” to make the point that they were competent and loyal Americans.

When the black and hispanic communities begin to culturally reject standards of conduct that separate Americans and adopt values that build on what we all share as human beings, color will gradually become less devisive. Are you REALLY surprised that American business isn’t hiring more of the AVERAGE minority youths that can’t do math, in some cases even read, cannot speak intelligible English, and are covered with tattoos and body piercings? The “dress code” for WORK isn’t Mardi Gras!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@1blackman,

YOU exemplify the primary “problem” facing”minorities”. Denial. It is that they do not, by and large, hold others like themselves properly accountable for the logical and predictable results of their actions and inactions.

The “Red Tails” black pilots of WW II suffered discrimination and prejudice that was as irresistible as it was pervasive. For that matter, so did the white female “Wasps” (ferry pilots).

Nonetheless, each put their “shoulders to the wheel” and showed the world their “measure” and what they could do even when not given a “fair” chance. They, and the ordinary soldiers of the “Red Ball Express and the sailors that worked ammunition and as cooks and stewards rose above their circumstance whenever ans wherever they could. It will forever be a blot on America that many of them did not thereafter have the opportunity to live out their lives in the dignity they most certain earned and deserved.

But today many of their descendents shuffle around like the ignorant sloths they are, with shirts too big, caps backward, pants “on the ground” jivin’ in the “hood”. Yes, “The minorities are doing better than they were years ago…” but “…the vast majority…” are NOT “…going to college and moving up the ladder.

You can’t have been serious. They are instead responsible for the “dumbing down” of America’s public schools, the methodical destruction of “public housing”, the greatest volume use of drugs, and the seduction of stupid young whites to join them on the path that goes nowhere.

YOU are the exception, and that carries with it greater responsibility for being honest with your “brothers” as to how to succeed in America. In your own way, YOU are a bigot. You expect others to do what YOU should do.

The reason the majority of people “killed by gunfire” in this country are overwhelmingly minorities is that they are “acting out” inappropriately in their own society as well as society as a whole. A totally disproportionate number are gang members, druggies, or engaged in criminal activity. Guess what? That’s “risky business”!

Statistics tell us the great majority of robberies, home invasions, car jackings, assaults, etc. are being committed by “minorities”. These are the faces we see day after day and night after night on the news. Does it really surprise you that many guns are specifically purchased for the purpose of personal defense against any and all who would take what they own in a heartbeat if given the opportunity? And yes, in the dark wearing hoodies all minorities do “look alike”.

Japanese-Americans bore the brunt of extreme American prejudice in WW II, but many joined our service to fight. They distinguished themselves “above and beyond” to make the point that they were competent and loyal Americans.

When the black and hispanic communities begin to culturally reject standards of conduct that separate Americans and adopt values that build on what we all share as human beings, color will gradually become less devisive. Are you REALLY surprised that American business isn’t hiring more of the AVERAGE minority youths that can’t do math, in some cases even read, cannot speak intelligible English, and are covered with tattoos and body piercings? The “dress code” for WORK isn’t Mardi Gras!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@ OneOfTheSheep —

Exceedingly well said, direct and to the point. Thank you.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive
 

Racial considerations will never fade out in this country because too many people make their living constantly beating on that drum. I’m not saying that there is not discrimination by race. We’ve come a long way in this country. Not until skin color is IGNORED though, and seen to be as irrelevant as eye color or hair color, will we get past it as a society. I also know I could do a study and find examples of election district boundaries being moved and left-handed people becoming dis-proportionately represented.
I live in MD. I’m not a social conservative but I am a fiscal conservative. I’m registered as a Republican even though I consider myself a Libertarian. MD has a grand total of one Republican in the US congress. At the state level it isn’t quite so disproportionate but its still pretty bad. Gerrymandering cuts across more than racial lines.
The writer in some ways seems to be saying that because there has been racism in the past that liberals must show that there will always be racism at least in some form or another. What a low opinion he holds of the race of Man. Should we just institute a quota system and be done with it? Every voter picks a group to join when they’re 18. All voters of Jewish descent get their votes pooled and decide the 12 Jewish congressmen. All Hispanic voters get together and pick the 15 Hispanic representatives? You can’t be ethnic and religious at the same time though. Pick your pigeonhole. You can only vote in one group.
I live in a rural area in western MD. I grew up on a farm, but my district was redrawn to the outskirts of DC to give the seat to a Democrat. A typical candidate from Montgomery county probably has never set foot in Garrett county before he decides to run for office (unless he has a lake house up here.) Most people in Baltimore or around DC think MD ends at Frederick. I live 2:45 minutes beyond there. I don’t have a second home on the lake. I live in a 14 by 70 trailer. My son will most likely never get to go to college. Do I have a fair shot at being adequately represented? Not when my vote is lumped in with all those federal employees and other white collars down in Montgomery county. Was it racial? I could claim it was the tidewater Anglo-Saxons putting the screws to the Gaels again but that narrative has never been promoted much in this country. Most of the holier than thou academics in this country couldn’t even tell me who was on what side of the wall during the siege of Derry. They’d just dismiss my claim out of hand. To them every white man is one of the ruling elite no matter what his education or where he had to start out in life.
I’m trying to make this point: Unless an injury or insult is allowed to fade away then it remains to hurt every subsequent generation.
Nothing designed by Man will ever be perfect. Even though they think they’re bringing light to the ignorant, the people who insist on seeing everything in terms of skin color insult people of all colors.

Posted by pawn2nd | Report as abusive
 

Well now, I see even a hint of discussion about race brings out the best in everyone today. (sarcasm)

Redistricting is the main reason we still need Section 5.

@1blackman – Well written. Thanks for some logic and a cool head.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive
 

I was born in Mississippi 60+ years ago and grew up there in a time when black and progressive white heroes were engaging and defeating the overt racism and murderous brutality that “conservative” whites lived contentedly with. I totally agree with 1blackman. You guys are a definitely bunch of bigots. Same as the ones I grew up with. Most of them didn’t think they were bigots either because they didn’t wear the robes and plant the bombs. They just tolerated those who did and swore at the “troublemakers” who were distubing their tranquility. The words of racism have changed now, for most though not all, but the motive and intent is the same.

Posted by sandblast | Report as abusive
 

Notwithstanding Scalia’s recent remarks in the voting rights cases under Alabama; and Arizonas proof of citizenship requirement before voting, a review of prior cases clearly shows a Justice with extreme conservative views. So, it should be no surprise to anyone who follows the Court which way Scalia will rule. He is a safe bet. Nevertheless, his opinions still matter to the extent that it shows what happens when our politicians allow such a person to be nominated to the highest court of the land without a full and serious vetting process. It is my understanding that when Scalia was nominated by Reagan, the democrats were exhausted by a lengthy and exhausting nomination process of Justice Rehnquist and were in no mood to repeat this for Scalia. Scalia was more fortunate than Bork, in that he had very little written opinions that the democrats could go after him on. So Scalia was approved rather quickly. Years later, we now know what kind of jurist he is. He would like to overrule Miranda v. Arizona, Roe v Wade, Texas v Johnson and believes that children as young as 15 should be put to death, and that abused children should not testify via closed-circuit or behind a screen in order to prevent further trauma to them. The voting Id laws only became an issue after Obama won in 2008. The GOP, knowing that the demographics were changing and that their policies were unpopular to a majority segment of society, set out to ensure that they maintain their political power at all costs. They did this by falsely claiming that voting fraud was a problem and that their new voting ID laws were the only way to combat this evil. As we know now, the GOP lied about the reasons for the laws and that their true purpose was to keep as many democrats from voting as possible. They concentrated on laws that would specifically target minorities and the poor because they had historically voted for democrats. All across the country, republican controlled States enacted different laws to minimize the minority, elderly and poor vote. To say that these laws are not discriminatory, but just an ends to a means is ridiculous. For those who can’t understand how so many people can be citizens without birth certificates, all you have to do is read the CBO report to get a clear picture on this issue: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=vi… Discrimination, at any level, is wrong and I just hope that the other Justices will do justice.

Posted by attyrose | Report as abusive
 

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