Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's the Demographics, Stupid.

civil rights, GOP, republican, bush,
I can never decide if the GOP is extremely shortsighted or remarkably stupid when it comes to minorities in this country*. If they are extremely shortsighted, then they simply don't care that the percentage of white citizens is falling while the percentage of nonwhite citizens (including everything from black to Pacific Islander) is rising. Sure, you can still win a national election on the white vote alone- today. That's not always going to be true. Perhaps the GOP is simply too stupid to evaluate simple demographics, though you'd think someone in the party is intelligent enough to do so.

I mention this due to the revelation that the GOP, beginning with Reagan and continuing through W. Bush, watered down civil rights enforcement. Although, when it comes to Dubya, perhaps the word I am looking for is "venal".

In dry statistics and even drier prose, a report released last week by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) spells out how sweeping that effort became. The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division veered away from challenging "at-large election systems" that marginalized African-Americans and focused on language discrimination against Spanish speakers. The Employment Litigation Section moved away from so-called pattern or practice cases (suits that took on widespread or systematic discrimination) in favor of individual complaints. ("Plenty of individual lawyers can bring these individual discrimination cases," pointed out Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, a New York–based nonprofit; but only the Justice Department can pursue certain big cases that can make a real difference.) Bush's Justice Department was also particularly sensitive to discrimination against white males. In 2007 the division filed a suit against Indianapolis for favoring African-Americans and females over white males for promotion to police sergeant.

Good luck with that, GOP.

*The National Tea Party Convention, being sponsered by a known hate group, is both.

1 comment:

  1. You bolded "Bush's Justice Department was also particularly sensitive to discrimination against white males". This is proven, in your quote, by a single anecdote.

    Is it "particularly sensitive" just to recognise that whites, too, may be victims of discrimination? By your demographics comment alone, as whites become more and more reduced in relative voting power, I would expect discrimination against whites to rise and not fall. A fair civil rights legal system would follow that rise.

    Maybe it's the symbolism of the gesture that makes it bad politics. But the RNC can say that it's good for the principle of civil rights law that it be applied equally. If the RNC should make it a principle that no white person should be the beneficiary of a civil rights case, ever, that means "civil rights" becomes a facade, covering a racial spoils system.

    But maybe that's what you want.


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