It’s ironic that racism – an evil that the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court seems to believe doesn’t exist – revealed its ugly head in several forms this past week, colliding with the High Court’s decision Tuesday to virtually kill the Voting Rights Act.
Established in 1965, the VRA helped to ensure that generations of African Americans were not denied their right to vote by giving the federal government the ability to veto state measures enacted to deny blacks the vote. In the 1960s, the Act made it impossible for Southern states to make blacks take competency exams and jump through other hoops. In recent years, the act has prevented some states from implementing voter ID laws.
With its decision this week, the Court gave states a one-way ticket back to Dixie Land. Now, with states no longer subject to such federal oversight, it is painful to imagine what will come next. The opinion of the majority – made up of Conservative justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts – is that since “things have changed dramatically” in the South since the VRA was signed into law, much of it is no longer relevant. Really?
The parents of Trayvon Martin would disagree. They were sitting in a Florida courtroom Tuesday as the Court’s opinion was handed down, trying to contain themselves as pictures of Trayvon’s lifeless body were shown to a jury.
George Zimmerman, the “white Hispanic,” who shot and killed the black unarmed teenager on Feb. 26, 2012 is finally being tried for second-degree murder. The fact that Zimmerman was not arrested and barely questioned by cops after gunning down a black teen is a side effect of racism. Black lives mean little to many whites (and sadly some blacks as well), and every teenager of color is presumed guilty on sight.
The morning of the ruling, some of the 120 people who were arrested at this week’s Moral Monday protest at the General Assembly were just being released from jail. The N.C. NAACP and other organizations have staged the weekly rallies to take a stand against measures by Republican lawmakers that are clearly minority unfriendly.
The GOP-controlled General Assembly – surely sensing that the VRA ruling would swing toward conservatives – has already pushed through a voter ID law and moved to curb early voting days and sites. An American history test for prospective black and brown voters may be on the horizon. Why not? The highest court in the land has given Southern lawmakers carte blanche.
Southern cholesterol queen Paula Deen was probably downing her favorite deep-fried comfort food Tuesday as the ruling was announced. Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard that the renowned chef is in hot water after admitting to using the word “nigger.” She made the admission in a deposition she gave for a lawsuit that has been filed against her and her brother by a former manager of one of the family’s Augusta, Ga. eateries. The plaintiff, a white woman, claims that Deen, her brother and top associates practice racism wantonly and throw out the N-word with ease and frequency.
Of course, such behavior contradicts the Deen we see on television, the one who has made tens of millions selling her cookbooks, cookware and a wholesome image as a gentile Southern belle.
The permanently glued smile upon Deen’s face is the new face of racism – folks who seem sweet as pie (pun intended) on the outside but are covertly whistling “Dixie.”
Apparently these undercover bigots have convinced the Supreme Court and countless others that racism died with Separate but Equal.