We in the U.S. like to think that racism is a thing of the past, but there’s been plenty of proof lately that racism is alive and well inside of our political system.
The most recent example of institutional racism occurred just this week, when the Department of Justice announced the results of its preliminary investigation into a congressional redistricting map in Texas, which was signed into law by Governor (and presidential candidate) Rick Perry. According to the DOJ, it appears that the redistricting map was “adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to Congress.”
In other words, the Republicans rigged the map in their favor at the expense of minorities.
Another institutional example of racism stems from the controversial voter ID law passed in Wisconsin earlier this year, which requires that a photo identification be required in order to vote. Photo ID requirements typically disenfranchise the poor and minorities at a higher rate than other groups since those individuals are less likely to have photo IDs.
This, of course, also favors Republicans since minorities and the poor tend to vote for Democrats instead of Republicans.
Adding to the controversy, it was released early this month that a high-ranking official in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation instructed employees to not offer a free version of the voter ID, which is required by law to prevent there being a voter tax, unless it was specifically asked for.
Finally, it’s easy to argue that the Georgia execution of convicted murderer and African-American Troy Davis is yet another example of institutional racism. Davis’ appeal for a stay of execution was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court despite widespread doubt about his guilt.
The more-than-reasonable doubt about Davis’ guilt stems from the fact that all but two of the non-police witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony in a case in which guilt was based on witness testimony, not physical evidence.
Can you imagine the outpouring of support in a case like that if it had been a white, wealthy man instead of an African-American? It’s hard to imagine that a stay of execution, or at least a retrial would not have been granted.
The Supreme Court does not issue the breakdown of decisions in cases like this, but who would bet against the vote having been along party lines?
Image: Deviant Art