Can We Have Racism Without Having Racists?

According to the powers-that-be, the recent court decision of NAACP et al v. Patrick McCrory et al from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit striking down North Carolina’s voter I.D. law by reversing a lower federal district court decision approving the law proves that racism against blacks is still systematic. I do not care and really there is no answer to the question as to whether the North Carolina law was or was not a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The judges could have gone either way and the conclusion would be “law.” As I have repeatedly stated, the law as justice is an illusion, it is really a monopoly of power by those in power to enforce their ethics — their “ought”. As could have been predicted with great accuracy from day one of judge assignment to hear the case, the democratic appointed judges of the 4th Circuit voted one way and the republican appointed district court judge voted the opposite way. What bothers me is that this arbitrary partisan decision by a bunch of hack political appointees is used as a substantive argument for systematic racism. The 4th Circuit decision states no one involved acted with racist motives, so how can you have racism without having racists?

The McCrory decision is more than 80 pages long but as customary in modern legal culture, about 79 pages are verbiage either saying nothing of substance or missing the substance of what is going on. According to the three honorable justices of the Fourth Circuit who ruled North Carolina’s recently legislatively passed voter I.D. laws to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the following facts are undisputed:
1. Unlike postbellum and Jim Crow voting laws specifically intended to stop black voters from voting based on racism, that is based on the belief that people with black skin color are too mentally inferior to vote, the present voter laws are “not mean[t], and we [the court] do not suggest, that any member of the General Assembly harbored racial hatred or animosity toward any minority group” — that is, the legislators and governor are not racists.
2. The subject voter laws passed by the Republican North Carolina legislature and governor was intended for partisan purposes “to the benefit of one political party and to the disadvantage of the other”: to lower the democratic voter turnout. Since most North Carolina blacks are democrats, this partisan intent would “most heavily affect African Americans” by reducing their voter turnout.
Thus according to the Court, “intentionally targeting a particular race’s access to the franchise because its members vote for a particular party, in a predictable manner, constitutes discriminatory purpose”. That is, by discriminating against democrats, since most blacks are democrats, by semantic necessity they are discriminating against blacks and therefore the law violates the Voting Rights Act.

So, the historical and factual — not purely semantic — situation is that North Carolina had racist postbellum and Jim Crow Southern Democrats who hated blacks and decided to use voter laws to stop black voters from voting Republican (after the Civil War most Southern Blacks were Republican). It now has Southern Republicans who are not racist but are using voter laws to stop Democrats from voting Democratic (this now includes most Southern Blacks due to the realignment of the parties in the South following the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s). So, success! The politicians are treating black democrats as they would white democrats — factual equality is achieved as to politicians’ cynical maneuvering of voting laws. We can now concentrate on important issues such as why politicians are wasting time on such political maneuvering given our country’s difficulties or, given those difficulties, whether to start creating universal qualifications for voting instead of letting anyone who can show up anywhere near the voting booth vote. Yet, no, there is still racism?

Regardless of whether or not there is a Voting Rights Act violation, this concept that racism can exist without racists is another example of New School Racism. According to Mr. Coates, “race is the child of racism, not the father.” Though his writing never makes clear what he means by this dogma, my conclusion is that he means to say it is racism that sees race in the world, race is a construct of the racist mind not of any realistic or pragmatic mind. According to the honorable Fourth Circuit, the Southern Republicans who passed this new voting law are not racists, they just hate the Democratic Party and Democrats regardless of skin color. The state officials did not bring race into the voting law through a belief that blacks are mentally inferior; they made a partisan decision to stick it to democrats based on their belief that democrats are inferior. They are treating all democrats, whether white or black, as equally inferior and as usual with politics and politicians they will do whatever they can to stop the opposing politics and politicians from winning elections.

If “race is the child of racism, not the father”, who are the racists in the McCrory case? Was race brought into it by the Court and its interpretation of the law? The three judges who issued the Fourth Circuit McCrory opinion were democratic appointees, either by Clinton or Obama, while the District Court judge who approved the voter law at issue was a republican Bush appointee. Is the more likely explanation based on human nature that a panel of Democratic judges did not like the fact that Republicans were trying to reduce Democratic voter turnout and instead of just saying so they used “race” as a smokescreen to hide this unarticulated premise of their reasoning? If “race” truly “is the child of racism”, the racists are the three democratic judges of the Fourth Circuit who brought racism into a case in which their own admitted undisputed facts state there are no racists.

In the philosophy of language there are paradoxes such as the Ship of Theseus going back to ancient Greek philosophy trying to make sense of the meaning of words that are supposed to involve identity. Modern versions are the paradoxes of George Washington’s Axe and of the murder weapon. If a museum exhibited an axe once owed and used by George Washington to cut down his famous cherry tree but then because of wear and tear had its handle and head replaced over time, is it still “George Washington’s axe”. If an archaeologist finds the discarded handle and head and reassembles them, is that “George Washington’s axe?” A murderer uses an axe for the crime but before being caught, over time, replaces the handle and then the head. Is it still the murder weapon?

These would not be paradoxes if they state, “George Washington’s axe” had its handle replaced by a gas motor and its head by a chain — in this case, it would be his chainsaw. Same with the murder weapon; it would no longer be an axe but a murderer’s chainsaw. This is true regardless of their still being used to cut wood. If you eat oranges because you hate apples, you are an apple hater. If you eat oranges because oranges have much more potassium as well as more Vitamin C and folate than apples, then you are not an apple hater but an orange lover. If you get the racist out of racism, regardless of the motives and any adverse results to anybody’s interests from the acts motivated, the acts are not motivated by racism and there is no racism. If you call it racism anyway to help you gain power at the expense of dealing with more important difficulties faced by our country, you are a new school racist with the same sense of entitlement as old school racists but unfortunately much more subtle and difficult to see, understand, and remedy because of the 80 pages of trees hiding the forest.

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