Friday, February 22, 2008

Heal Us Nas! Love What He Worked At The Grammy's

Some of you may have seen Nas on CNN claiming that there's a law saying that blacks can't vote 23 years from now. So I thought I should explain what he meant. Basically, the Voting Rights Act does expire in 23 years. It was renewed in 2006 and expires in 2031; before that it was renewed in 1982, and it was originally passed in 1965. Before the VRA was passed, many blacks could not vote because of literacy requirements, poll taxes, intimidation, and all kinds of tricks. The VRA played a huge role in stopping all that. However, blacks have had a constitutional right to vote since 1870. If there were no VRA, this would not change, and it's highly unlikely that states would go back to pulling shit like some of them used to back in the 60s. Moreover, poll taxes and literacy requirements would still be illegal under the Constitution as long as you could show that they were put in place to make it harder for blacks to vote. However, no one needs to even worry about this because the Voting Rights Act is unanimously renewed every time it comes up. No member of Congress would ever dare to vote against renewing the Voting Rights Act. So you might ask, why not just make it permanent? Well, there are certain other provisions in the VRA which go much further than just ensuring blacks/Hispanics the right to vote and do need to be reviewed from time to time.

These are:

1) preclearance. Under the VRA, basically all the southern states have to submit any changes they want to make to their voting laws to the Department of Justice in Washington to be precleared. This includes changing their district lines. Some district lines may disfavor minorities (ones that pack all the minority voters into a few districts, or, ones that spread them out so they control none of the districts), so, to prevent states from drawing those kinds of districts, the DOJ gets to decide whether they want to preclear ANY lines drawn, even in a little city council or school board election, in any of the southern states. This is a pretty huge intrusion of federal government into what's traditionally been a state matter, and some question whether we still need the Department of Justice to check up on southern states. By 2031, you'd tend to think there will be even less of a need. Nevertheless, Congress unanimously decided to keep this part of the law. There's currently a case in federal court over whether this part of the law is constitutional (because it's not clear whether Congress had the right to pass such a law given that the problem of southern states trying to draw districts to cheat blacks is arguably dying out).

2) "vote dilution". The VRA grantes minorities a right to sue if they feel that the district lines "dilute" their votes. Let's say you live in a state that's 25% black and has 12 congressional districts. You're black and show that blacks and whites always vote for different candidates. You live in a majority white district, as does everyone else in the state, and therefore, the people who you and other black voters want to win always loses. And, you show that the black population is geographically compact enough that you could all be put in a normally-shaped district where you're the majority. The VRA says that under these circumstances you have a right to be put in a majority-black district. That usually means that this state would have to draw three majority-black districts - 3 out of 12, 25%. This doesn't apply if blacks are dispersed throughout the state all over the place and don't live together in any concentrated areas, it doesn't apply if blacks and whites don't vote differently, it doesn't apply if they already have drawn three black-majority districts and you're not in one of them. You have no right to get a fourth drawn just for you. But if there is racially polarized voting and compact minority populations, then there's a right to have black (or Hispanic) majority districts. This is also a controversial provision of the law, and may not be kept when reauthorization comes along. What will never go, though, are the parts of the law that ensure that states can't make poll taxes or put polling places where blacks can't get to them, or whatever else states used to do to prevent blacks from voting.
from here...All Hip Hop, Ill community


Gardenia said...

Apt label. This is quite interesting. There is some speculation that the lack of assistance during Katrina was for the purpose of dispersing blacks in anticipation of this year's election.

Anyway one looks at it, the voting process is incredibly flawed and scary. I guess its better than dictatorship - although I'm not sure it is all the process it is cracked up to be and perhaps just a slicker road to dictatorship. Spin and "Wag the Dog" scenarios manipulate the population quite well.

Although I'm not sure that would be a correct assumption - considering Obama's success so far. Of course the press does tend to paint the pictures they want everyone to hear and think...I detect so much sexism in this election and an undercurrent of hate towards Hillary, even from women - if the press can be believed - that is overpowers even racism.

Candy Minx said...

Hi Gardenia! I love Nas...and I love what he did and said on red carpet...I was choked up the first time I saw this interview.

The thing about's not about sexism. Hillary has a few major components that make her icky.

The first...she voted to go to war in Iraq...and later when she was called on it she said she didn't even read the report herself on why Bush wanted to go to Iraq...she had a helper read it.

Two, she is "old boys club"...and no one wants the old boys club anymore.

Three...there is somethign wrong with Hillary's personality...she isn't evil, but she is narcissist...she isn't able to actually "feel". You can see her struggle on what "face" to express when she is lost in debates. She is a person who needs to study emotion in others in order to mimic it "appropriately". Intuitively people see her as a robot...she is so unattractive because she is not healthy.

Four...there are many many voters who believe that theClintons should never have had those sexual antics in a sacred building like the White House...that they sullied the institution.

Five, related to four...people do not have faith in a person who would allow their spouse to have affairs. People feel Hillary should have kicked Bill to the curb like the dog he can she be a leader when she can't even be a spouse? No one talks about this...but she lost a lot of respect from citizens because of her too reflects a personality disorder...with out treatment or healing...