Friday, June 03, 2011

"Resegregating the South"

Cynthia Tucker at the AJC reexamines the unintended consequences of the Voting Rights Act of 1984. She starts with a mea culpa and then blisters the effect gerrymandering redistricting has had on our nation as a whole, and particularly the South.

And if it is to change, we will need many voices ready to overcome the racially-based demoagougery we are sure to hear from the left. Especially the machine politicians who benefit the most directly from turning majority-minority districts into personal fiefdoms.

If black voters think they have made substantial gains simply by having more black representatives in Congress, they’re wrong. They’d have more influence if they were spread through several legislative districts, forcing more candidates to court them.

I'm glad to hear someone saying it. Y'all what has been going on is bad for everyone. We need more demographically balanced districts all over the country, and we will need them if we ever, ever hope to rationally address the problems this nation is facing.

Case and point: Louisiana just got some new Congressional districts. Take a moment and look at the map. See if you can guess which one is specifically drawn to concentrate as many minority voters as possible.

Then look at the demographics. For a state that is one-third African-American, African-Americans have a voice in only one-sixth of the state's Congressional delegation.

Unintended consequences don't begin to cover it.



Dante said...

Does Cynthia Tucker know the meaning of the word "benign?" Even by her understanding of what the 1982 amendment to the Voting Rights Act aimed to accomplish, it was far from benign.

"Unintended consequences don't begin to cover it."

No it doesn't. We stop this ridiculous notion of make-up calls. We most certainly need to correct the mistakes we've made in the past. But it's going to take time for those corrections to yield results. There aren't Angles, Saxons, and Jutes anymore. They're the same people now. The same thing is going to happen to the ethnic groups in our country if we stop fighting with each other and learn to just live together. Trying to engineer the situation to move up the timeline isn't just useless, it's counter-productive.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I cannot believe that laws expressly forbidding the intentional reduction of racial or ethnic minority voting status; or doing away with the myriad obstacles that had been placed between the voter and the ballot, were enacted with anything other than benign intent.

It took this nation almost 100 years to begin enforcing the 14th Amendment. It took this country almost a generation to enforce the legal aspects of the Civil Rights Act. Why did we expect the forces of cynicism and divisiveness to give up so easily on this? As it ever was, they simply exploited the loopholes and weak spots of the law.

The US Supreme Court struck down the blatant drawing of majority-minority districts in Miller v. Johnson in 1992. That was the old Georgia 11th. North Carolina got hit, too, with their cynically drawn majority-minority district. It was clear that doing this sort of thing is illegal in the eyes of the law.

But that never stopped anyone from drawing districts based on political demographic strengths, which is what we have today. Of course, we all know what that means.