Last June, in a move heavily criticised by civil rights groups, the US Supreme Court struck down some of the key elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were designed to protect the poor and ethnic minority voters from being disenfranchised. As a result, the republican controlled southern states have rushed to introduce new voter registration legislation that is likely to significantly reduce the number of African American voters who are eligible to vote (see RNC claim thirty-five thousand ‘possible’ cases of voter fraud justifies their racist reforms but they’re wrong (again)).
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Video © Comedy Central
In an apparent attempt to underline their view that the VRA has been “immensely successful” (because, they say, there is no more racism in America), two weeks ago the supreme court also agreed that it is OK for states to ban affirmative action programs at public universities. As you would expect, the supreme court’s position on race is wholeheartedly supported by Fox News and their regular pundit Ann Coulter who, in a typically stupefying interview, said “There is more Cholera in America than there is racism.” Of course, the idea that racism is yesterday’s problem runs counter to all of the official statistics on health, education, employment and criminal justice outcomes but those are just details.
However, as Jon Stewart points out in a “week after Easter miracle”, Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy have proved that if racism was dead it appears to have been resurrected. Despite his unequivocally racist views, Sean Hannity has been attempting to cast Cliven Bundy as a freedom fighter in the mould of George Washington; a decision that backfired badly when it caught the attention of Stewart who ripped him a new one.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a tense standoff with federal rangers in a dispute over grazing rights, didn’t hide his racism in an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday.
The Bureau of Land Management claims Bundy has let his cattle graze on federal land without paying since 1993, saying he now owes more than $1 million in grazing fees. When federal agents came to confront Bundy about the fees, they were met by an armed militia, a move that has fired up conservatives.
Bundy is attempting to use his newfound fame to spread more than just his views on grazing rights, telling the Times he planned to hold a daily news conference. During Saturday’s conference, Bunday shared his views on “the Negro”:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Video © Comedy Central
The National Basketball Association on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, delivering an unexpectedly robust set of sanctions for racist comments that may also compel the real estate billionaire to sell his team.
The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said at a news conference in New York that an inquiry had established that Sterling expressed the remarks heard on a leaked recording, which were “contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league”.
Silver said that the 80-year-old billionaire would also be fined $2.5m, the maximum allowed under the NBA’s unpublished constitution, and that he would now press the NBA’s governing body of other team owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
The sanctions against Sterling, which appeared to be the most punitive available to the NBA, were greeted with jubilation by prominent players, some of whom had characterised the issue as a defining moment for the league, 70% of whose players are black but whose team owners are overwhelmingly white.
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