01 Oct 2016 Are White Voters Smarter Than African-American Voters? by Stacy Swimp
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled to restore a Michigan law that bans straight-ticket voting. Two of the Justices dissented, concluding that state officials should be permitted to enforce the ban in the November 2016 election.
Straight-ticket voting is a policy which says that voters are permitted to select a party’s entire slate with a single notation. Straight-ticket voting has been in effect in Michigan since 1891.
The ban on straight-ticket voting would have required voters to cast votes for individual candidates.
At first glance, one might think, “if it isn’t broke, why fix it?” Or perhaps it might appear, on the surface, to be a politically-motivated agenda by the Michigan Governor and Attorney General to give the Republican Party some kind of advantage on Election Day.
However, there is much more to know about this ruling, particularly the degrading and insulting arguments that opponents of the ban are proposing.
The federal judge who blocked the ban ruled that the law “created a burden on minority voters.”
In other words, the judge believes minority voters are not as intelligent as White voters and, therefore, need special assistance in order to exercise our voting rights.
This false narrative of Black intellectual inferiority has also been advanced by The A. Philip Randolph Institute, which concluded that removal of straight-party voting would disproportionately affect Black voters because they “were much more likely to use straight-party voting than White voters, and … [the law] would have a larger impact on African-American populations than White ones.”
As a Black man who considers himself reasonably intelligent and able to think for myself, I had to ask, what exactly are the federal court and the Randolph Institute saying about me?
It is undeniable that they are saying Black voters are not as smart as White voters. That White voters are intelligent enough to figure out who they want to vote for in each specific race, but Black voters are not.
Isn’t that kind of ruling or philosophy classic racism in and of itself?
Black’s law dictionary defines “racism” as the following:
A set of policies that is exhibited by a person or persons toward a group of people of a different race. The assumption of lower intelligence and importance given to a person because of their racial characteristics.
It is unequivocally obvious that those who oppose the ban on straight-ticket voting are assuming that Black Americans have lower intelligence that White voters. As a Black American, I am deeply offended by this assumption.
Ironically, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. appears to have discouraged Black Americans from succumbing to the pressure of straight-ticket voting that both major political parties often impose upon their constituents.
During an interview with WSB-TV, Savannah, Georgia, on October 3, 1964, Dr. King – who passionately and openly opposed the GOP Republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater – stated:
Though the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is against Goldwater, the voting effort will be a non-partisan one, recognizing that there are worthy Republicans in local and state elections.
Dr. King evidently had confidence Black Americans have intellectual wherewithal and patience to individually select candidates, with no regard to a political party, who best aligned with the values and principles of the S.C.L.C. and its supporters.
It is disappointing that, 48 years after racism killed Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., the same racism contradicts his message to Black Americans by insisting we have lower intelligence than White voters.
Whether one is Democrat or Republican, this notion should be adamantly rejected.
We, Black Americans, are up to the task of individually selecting candidates and are absolutely no less intelligent or patient than White Americans.
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Stacy Swimp is a Project 21 member, national speaker and independent political activist whose commentaries have appeared in the Washington Times, Miami Times, Orlando Sun, Philadelphia Tribune and Buffalo Criterion. He has appeared as a guest on the Fox News Channel, Sirius satellite radio, 50,000-watt radio stations such as WHO-Des Moines and KDKA-Pittsburgh, black media such as WVON-Chicago and Lee Bailey’s EURweb in addition to the Westwood One radio network. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.