A question of skin

(All quotes are from the Chicago Tribune article of January 22, 2012)

When I opened my Sunday Chicago Tribune to the headline, “Remap driven by race issues, self-preservation” I felt physically ill. A large gulp of hot black tea mixed with a dash of almond milk brought me back to my senses as I glanced at the calendar to remind myself that yes-- it still was the 21st Century. Given the politician’s statements reported in the Tribune article, time seemed to have slid back into the Mad Men era when it was all about color. Just watch the opening 15 minutes of the first show for a dose of those “good old days” for the white race.

Having spent the previous Saturday morning at an international organization’s forum entitled “Many Colors, One Skin” that celebrated the skin we all share in a room of mixed nationalities and probably ethnicities—to find politicians still hyper-focused on skin color struck me as tragically antediluvian.

“Our position was to maintain African-American political power,” Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, said of the council’s Black Caucus.

“Latinos…sought to leverage increased seniority and clout to gain three new wards.”

Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, the Latino Caucus chairman, “I think we have a level of maturity and experience within the caucus, and we have relationships with the new administration, and I think all that put together helped us hold our ground.”

Not a word about the people, all of the people no matter what their ethnicity. High school civics, in a better educational time in Texas, taught me differently.

“Protecting the voting interests of minority groups is a federal requirement for redistricting, but the new map shows population numbers alone did not determine the outcome. If that were the case, the council would be 16 whites, 16 blacks, 15 Latinos and three Asians.”

Given this Chicago racism was ongoing at the same time as the Republican Primary in South Carolina, with its distinctly racist tinge as Newt deftly pulled out the race card with venomous statements worthy of the long dead Lee Atwater and his Southern strategy aficionado “Tricky Dick” Nixon—it is embarrassing to be in human skin nowadays.

The concept that race is how anyone is to view power counter-balances the current American experience where many happily extol their mixed race ethnicities. Some don’t even recognize that they are part of any race, except the human race—and they mean what they say.

On reading Chicago Tribune further the slightly smoky back room whiff of the Chicago way, as a way to punish some uppity alderman was reinforced.

“Democratic government is supposed to be the voters choosing the aldermen, not the aldermen choosing the voters.”

““They have every 10 years to organize the game the way that’s most advantageous to them,” said Larry Bennett, a political science professor at DePaul University.”

“Allowing aldermen to control the process is like inviting a demolition derby into your block party.”




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  • I'm not sure (from your "what is" button) if you are native to here, but some history will provide some background, including how stuff has recently been perverted for political ends.

    The 15th Amendment said that the right to vote shall not be abridged by reason of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--i.e. Black former slaves are entitled to vote. However, most areas, especially in the South, managed to pervert that by imposing literacy requirements or poll taxes, resulting in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was subsequently amended to prohibit legislation that results in the dilution of a minority group's voting strength, regardless of the legislature's intent. 42 U. S. C. § 1973. In Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993), the Supreme Court held that it violated the 14th Amendment to gerrymander districts on a racial basis and that was not justified by the Voting Rights Act. However, later in Easley v. Cromartie, 532 U.S. 234 (2001) the Supreme Court said that so long as there was not racial gerrymandering, political gerrymandering is fine.

    So, that's what you now have in Illinois, where the legislature set up districts to protect Democrats, noting, of course that Black districts vote at least 80% Democrat. There might be a racial contest in the Democrat 2d Congressional District primary, but probably no where else.

    The city council is a similar setup in that Blacks that finally got some political power there aren't going to give it up to the Hispanics, at least not without a fight.

    Then you have that the Supreme Court is going to take up Hispanic claims that the Republican drawn Texas map violates the Voting Rights Act, but apparently the Illinois Republicans couldn't find a Latino to make a convincing argument for them.

    There may also be an issue of socioeconomic class rather than race, in that I'm sure people like the Chicago Muckrakers earn a living by crying about poverty. However, I am sure there is a certain degree of reverse racism, in that some (including in other neighborhoods of Chicago Now) still use the rationales of the 1960s 50 years later.

    The sources I cited can be verified on the Internet, but, as usual, I suggest that you consult original sources, and not Google links to Wikipedia, which is not a source.

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