The Supreme Court Thinks Racism Is Dead

Voting Rights Act supporters outside the Supreme Court before the ruling (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The Guardian's Gary Younge breaks down why the Supreme Court was wrong to assume that racism is a nonissue in striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. He cites Paula Deen's public relations debacle over her use of the n-word and George Zimmerman's second-degree-murder trial as grievous examples of today's racial climate.

Non-racial democracy is a relatively new idea to the west; racism is not. The notion that the people should govern may have been around since ancient Greece, but throughout that time the issue of who counts as people has been continually contested and episodically reassessed.

Last week the US supreme court reassessed the nation's history of voter exclusion and decided the contest was over. The court gutted a key element of the 1965 voting rights act, which demanded that areas with a history of racial discrimination at the polls get prior authorisation before changing their election or voting laws. "There is an old disease, and that disease is cured," argued Bert Rein, when opposing the act before the court earlier this year. "That problem is solved." Justice Roberts agreed, arguing that the provisions were based on "40-year-old" facts.


Read Gary Younge's entire piece at The Guardian.

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