To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Observercast

White Supremacy And Unequal Representation

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The successful attempts by white supremacists in the United States to gain and maintain more political power than their actual numbers warrant goes all the way back to the Constitution of the United States in which southern states gained disproportionate representation by counting enslaved persons as three-fifths of a person while giving the enslaved persons zero-fifths of a vote.

Given that 40% of the persons in southern states were enslaved at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, this three-fifths clause gave the South much more political power than its voting population should have had.

After the Civil War, white supremacists quickly gained disproportionate representation again by successfully suppressing the votes of black persons through refusing to seat elected black officials, poll taxes, poll tests, violence, intimidation, and the murder of thousands of black persons.

After the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [a century after the end of the Civil War], white supremacists had to get more creative to hold on to disproportionate representation through the process of gerrymandering, campaign financing, and the implementation of election practices that had a disproportionately negative effect on persons of color.

Now white supremacists are creating new voter suppression laws based on the Big Lie of election fraud during the 2020 election, and they have six allies on the highest court in the land who are gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and once again allowing white supremacists to accelerate voter suppression to maintain the disproportionate representation of white people in government.

Disproportionate political representation for white people contributes to the creation and maintenance of systems that provide greater economic opportunities for white people, better access to quality education for white people, better healthcare outcomes for white people, better access to clean water and clean air for white people, and better outcomes in the criminal justice system for white people.

Systemic racism is the original sin of the United States of America and continues to plague our society to this very day. We will never create a truly just and diverse society unless we address systemic racism honestly and commit to building political and economic systems that are conducive to realizing our highest aspirations of a society with liberty and justice for all.

If we affirm that all persons are created equal, then we must create systems in which all persons have equal representation in our political and economic processes.

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Mark Y. A. Davies
Mark Y.A. Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Click for more of his essays. OneWorldHouse.net