Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The changing face of racial prejudice and bigotry in America? *UPDATED*

From the Caroline County Court of Virginia:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

These were the words of the trial judge that Richard Perry Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving faced. They were found guilty of miscegenation, the mixing of the races. In particular, marrying in Washington D.C., then returning to live in Virginia. They were sentenced to 1 year in jail. To avoid jail they were allowed to leave the state. The case led to a Supreme Court ruling 10 years later ending anti-miscegenation laws in the country.

That was 1959.

In 2013, Texas Assistant Attorney General Sam L. Ponder said:
“ You've got African Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, ‘This is a drug deal?’ ”
This is how he wants to present his case. Blacks. Hispanics. Money. That only happens with drugs. Because that's how those people get money.

It's been more than half a century, and we still seem to have shifted only so far. You can look at the statistics for arrests, convictions, and sentencing by race, and the difference are quite stark. Stop and frisk. Papers please. And on and on. We still have many issues yet to seriously address in society and law.

Justice Scalia
And you can look at voting. Some communities get access to machines and facilities, and some just have to do with fewer broken voting machines and lines that stretch on for hours on end. Or faulty information released on the when's and where's of voting. Or new rules meant to discourage or bar minority voting.

And still, Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia was out and about today denouncing the Voting Rights Act as just a "perpetuation of racial entitlement." I wonder what Right Wing pundit he picked that up from? Racial entitlement? Voting? That's charming, isn't it? But he's one of the conservative movement that is eager to pave over protection of rights for minorities. Rights which certain states have for decades shown a certain eagerness to go after (Forgive me. Conservatives in those states have been eager to do this.)

The Voting Rights Act is up before the Supreme Court this year. Will see what's left of it, if Scalia can get his way.


Meant to also add a link to a piece considering the impact of the end of the Voting Rights Act.

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