Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Jim Crow 50 years later

The Supreme Court majority has declared that the Voting Rights Act’s special vigilance over racist trickery in the old Confederate states is no longer necessary since people aren’t being blocked from voting on the basis of race. Huh? Florida? Ohio? Eight-hour lines? Voter ID laws? Purges of the rolls? No one is seriously expected to believe this, and seeing the justices trot out such laughably false bullshit is almost more disturbing than the ruling itself.

It is no coincidence that the rollback of civil rights protections occurred literally hours after the reigning neo-Confederates in Congress nearly succeeded in their attempts to peel $20 billion off the food stamp program in the midst of the worst sustained economic slump since the Depression. One can’t use the N-word on TV any more as poor Paula Deen has discovered on her cooking show, but if you deprive the N-people of anything to cook with, that’s okay.

The message is pretty clear: we want you to slink back into your hovels barefoot and terrified because even though we can’t lynch you openly any more, we have plenty of tools with which to keep you ‘in your place.’

Some people will find my judgment harsh. But despite the liberal sheen of this fair city, I don’t find New York’s approach to its African American underclass all that different. We still have the cops and their billionaire defender Bloomberg insisting that they have free rein to criminalize every black kid over 12 through stop-and-frisk, and if any of them resist too much, we all know that they can take a bullet for it and that no one in uniform will ever do a day in jail afterward.

Welcome back to the future.

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