Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Peach State's "Affirmative Action" Racial Redistricting

Racial Gerrymandering is no longer needed if you ask me. I'm a strong believer that majority-minority districts are no longer needed because blacks have made vast improvements in American society. The strides blacks have made in American society are greater than any other minority group in this country. But I will admit that black had the furthest to go & blacks still occupy a lower socioeconomic position in society, but chooses to focus on the improvements blacks have made.

Those arguing for majority-minority districts believe that because of continued racism whites will not vote for black candidates, which is not true. Look at former Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder as examples of Black(Moderate) candidates who won contest in their perspective states.

Now those candidates with drastically liberal views, be if they're black or white, will rarely be elected to office in the south. Blacks constitute an ideological minority and this explains their inability to be elected in the south. When blacks are elected in the south it is often because they are conservative.

One thing is certain, that the creation of majority-minority districts unfairly stigmatizes black voters. It gives the perception that blacks are relegated to a position of helplessness in our society. They can get no where in society unless they are given special favors. Further, underlying the creation of majority-minority districts is the premise that race is the most important factor when choosing representatives. Creating districts categorizes people in terms of race that is a dangerous practice. The entire goal of the civil rights movement was to stop viewing people in terms of race and to start viewing people in terms of individuals and the majority-minority districting system does just that.

Despite the fact that blacks are in general more liberal on some issues, majority-minority districts are not necessary for blacks to win elections. Those supporting racial gerrymandering commonly believe that 65 percent of a district must be black to ensure a black representative will be elected. However, a number of blacks have been elected in districts in which less that 50 percent of the districts’ population was black. (Sanford Bishop, Floyd Griffin, State Senate in 1992, Michael Thurmond, State House in 1986)

Also interests are not linked to race. In other words, a white person can represent the interest of blacks just as a black can represent the interests of whites. This is because interests can not be identified solely on the basis of race. Substantive representation is more important that descriptive representation. Descriptive representation has no bearing on substantive representation. there is no guarantee that a black official will support the same policies as most blacks do. Gerrymandering is becoming an ineffective method of ensuring minority representation. When majority-minority districts are created, first a pocket of blacks must be target. We are running out of areas to target and create majority-minority districts. 10 years from now, we can expect severe limitations on what can be achieved by relying on the creation of black districts to ensure the election of black politicians.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice approved the new maps redrawn by Georgia Republicans & as a result the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus has threatened to fight the DOJ over the "Affirmative Action" Racial Gerrymandering Maps.

How to best draw representational lines raises a fundamental philosophical and practical issue for African-Americans--the problem of duality. The problem takes many forms: integration versus separation, inclusion versus communal obligation, and as we can see in the reapportionment battle, direct representation by blacks versus black influence over mostly white officeholders. Strong arguments can be made on both sides. 10 years ago, Many African-American political leaders, including many members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, felt that having direct representation is more important than preserving or "saving" white Democratic seats. So they, along with the-then minority Republicans came together to create more black districts, which in effect hung white rural democrats out to dry. As a result of those actions, you now have a democratic legislature that is 98% Black. Now they're saying the new maps discriminate against African Americans. Black Dems suck as Rep Tyrone Brooks (R-Atlanta) who led the effort to maximize black representation now have to lay in the bed they made themselves.

"Affirmative Action Racial Gerrymandering," as I call it, creates more division within the state and may not be in the best long-term self-interest of the African-American community. Drawing districts--whether they be school districts, city or county council districts, legislative districts, or U.S. House districts--with a first priority of maximizing the number of majority-minority districts re segregates communities, causes representatives to see issues mainly in terms of black and white, divides communities into multiple districts so that they lose a clear single voice devoted to them, and has a general negative impact on race relations. Creating majority African American districts tends to pack districts with African-American voters so that representatives from neighboring nearly all-white districts pay little attention to the needs of blacks.

Concentrating black voters in districts to elect black representatives dilute support among other representatives for bills favored by blacks. Spreading black voters across more districts resulted in the election of representatives who were more sensitive to black interests. Its a waste of time & effort for democrats to go to court over the maps. Just Let it be! With 63 democrats in the house, 20 in the senate, this map will force democrats to compete in areas that they had written off in the past. The "Big Tent Party" now has to live up to that monikor & re-open it arms for conservative-minded democrats in its ranks. If not, then they better get comfortable being in the wilderness for the next 10, 20, 30 years.

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