Rangel-ing guns, voting rights and is South Brooklyn still racist?
Riots have raged for the last three days in Brooklyn in response to the death of a young black man, who allegedly aimed at pistol at police, from a shot in the back. Arguing for federal gun control laws in January, to mirror those that have obtained in the Empire State for decades, Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel argued that:
“…some of the southern areas have cultures that we have to overcome”, when it comes to gun control.
In a related matter, during recent oral arguments in the Shelby County(AL) v Holder case challenging the continued constitutionality of Section 5 (of the 1965 Voting Rights Act) mandatory pre-clearance by the Justice Department of changes in voting laws by (mostly) Southern states, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the government’s lawyer if:
“…the citizens of the South are more racist than citizens in the North?”
President Barack Obama’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, while arguing for maintaining the unequal application of the VRA to all 11 states of the former Confederacy (and portions of several other states) based upon the facts and circumstances of their respective racial registration and participation rates in 1972 (when the VRA was first renewed), answered that it was not the government’s position and that:
“As an objective matter, I don’t know the answer to that question.”
Don’t know, and until a machine that reads hearts (and that can be calibrated to measure a specific sentiment defined as “racism”) is invented, and can never know; which the liberal author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession, at the New Republic admits, while still insisting upon unequal treatment of the South based upon…wait for it…anecdote:
Without data, we’re left with anecdote. There’s plenty to go around. Based on my own travels through Dixie—and more than two years living in Texas—I do believe that, even without proof that racism is “worse” there, it’s fair to say that race consciousness is fundamentally different in the South than it is in the North.
There’s a preoccupation with skin color in the South that exists nowhere else. On radio call-in shows, in impromptu conversations, bars, churches, parks, barbershops, coffee counters, in discussions that have absolutely nothing to do with race, Southerners of all ethnicities introduce the topic as casually and as void of nuance as they might when bringing up the weather.
Atlanta-based sports journalist Spencer Hall once explained it to me this way: “Race is a topic of discussion in the South for the same reason unexploded ordnance is a topic of discussion in France and Belgium.”
And sometimes the ordnance isn’t even buried. South Carolina, home to the only black Republican U.S. senator, still proudly flies the Confederate flag in front of its capitol in Columbia. Tour the grounds of the gorgeous classical revival-style State House and you’ll find a shrine to slaveholders, racial oppressors, demagogues, and grits-munching political obstinacy.
Sadly, Chuck Thompson conveniently fails to mention (obviously because it contradicts the bigoted view of the South he traveled there for book research to affirm) that the confederate flag previously flew in a position of authority below the Stars and Stripes and S.C. state flag atop the State House dome until it was removed by an act of the state legislature, with the blessing of the Black Caucus, to its place on the museum grounds surrounding the capitol building, but I digress.
Equal Protection under the Law
But did you notice how Thompson deftly changed the crucial issue from one of “racism” to one of how “race consciousness is fundamentally different in the South than it is in the North”, and mentioned South Carolina as home to the only “black Republican U.S. senator”, only in passing? I did.
Incredible as it may seem, the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights acts were passed by Congress based upon objective data even more informative than respective racial voting data. Ever of heard of “Jim Crow” laws? I thought so. Those laws, in varying iterations, treated adults over the age of 21, and otherwise eligible-to-vote as citizens, unequally after the passage of the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause and the 15th Amendment prohibition of racial discrimination in voting rights.
There were no racist-heart detectors in use in the 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this and famously stated that his movement sought not to force Whites to love him, but that the law prevent them from lynching him. Fast forward to 2013, and one can look back , not only upon the mass migration of blacks to the South from the North (reversing the trend that obtained after WWII and until the at least as late as the mid-1980s); but also that exempt-from-pre-clearance Massachusetts now has the greatest racial voting disparities while Deep South Mississippi has more (total, not just per capita) elected black officials than any state of the union!
The Democrats’ War on the South
But what about the current controversy over Southern voter photo-ID? Isn’t that “intended” to suppress the black vote? Rhode Island passed the first such law many years ago, and that state is south of somewhere, yet not subject to Section 5 pre-clearance by the DOJ and it regularly votes Democratic, and I don’t digress.
The fact is that before the mid-1960s it was Democrats that favored the unequal treatment of persons via laws based upon race in order to favor Whites; and it has been Democrats since the late-1960s that favor the unequal treatment of persons via laws based upon race to supposedly champion Blacks. What else is affirmative action or the continued treatment of Southern states as Bull Connors-all, despite the facts?
In Democrat Rangel’s culturally-advanced New York City, their race-based championing love results in 80% of high school graduates unable to read and in Democrat Barack Obama’s America, a 16% unemployment rate for blacks that is well more than double that of Whites.
But never mind such inconvenient data, one can always find an accented redneck with an insensitive bumper sticker as anecdotal evidence that Dixie is still looking for a fort to fire upon. Democrats used a Solid Segregationist South for decades to make their New Deal coalition the majority party in America. Now they wage war on a near-Solid Republican South to try and make America a more western, Western Europe welfare state.
Yes, race consciousness is different up North, sadly.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Editor of Hillbilly Politics
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist at Examiner.com
Front page columnist for Liberty Unyielding and Western Free Press