America’s minority populations lost a critical safeguard today when the Voting Rights Act was eliminated by the Supreme Court. It is a victory for the hidden and sinewy hand of racism that still infects our halls of justice.
While no one calls for Jim Crow directly, it is obvious that the monster of racism has never died, and is not far below the surface. Reagan’s bashing of welfare mothers was a coded message that most of us understood. He was bashing people of color. When people attacked President Obama and continued to claim he was really African, most of us understood. They were really bashing people of color. When people talk about illegal aliens, most of us understand. They are really bashing people of color. And when Republicans say that some people are voting just so they can get free stuff, most of us understand. They are bashing people of color.
When Texas Republicans gerrymander the state so that it looks like a squid, most of us understand. They are really trying to exclude people of color. It is the same when cities move to single member districts to overwhelm any voice minorities might have. So we know when people claim that America is no longer racist we know they are ignorant or worse.
Civil rights lawyers responded to the ruling:
“The Supreme Court has effectively gutted one of the nation’s most important and effective civil rights laws. Minority voters in places with a record of discrimination are now at greater risk of being disenfranchised than they have been in decades,” said Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Today’s decision is a blow to democracy. Jurisdictions will be able to enact policies which prevent minorities from voting, and the only recourse these citizens will have will be expensive and time-consuming litigation.”
One good result of the verdict is that it forced the President to use the word “discrimination.” It is time for all of us to use that word, at the top of our voice. All of us must go on record calling for new safeguards because America doesn’t just have a problem with racism, America is a racist nation.