A bunch of racists in South Carolina are trying to hold down blacks by forcing them, and everybody else, to show photo identification before they can vote. Astonishing.
Luckily, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is on it. As he declared in Columbia, S.C., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Palmetto State “failed to meet its burden of proving that the voting change would not have a racially discriminatory effect.” Mr. Holder’s deputy, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez blocked this provision on Dec. 23, citing “the racial gap that presently exists among photo-identification holders in the state.” Specifically, “8.4 percent of white registered voters lacked any form of DMV-issued ID, as compared to 10.0 percent of nonwhite registered voters.” This 1.6 percent gap can mean only one thing: Racism.
As a black man, I say, “Power to Holder!” I just hope this brave public servant can find the time to fight all the racists who are imposing on blacks and everyone else the extreme indignity of showing ID cards. This undue burden parallels the “colored” water fountains and lunch counters that vanished 48 years ago. As Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained: photo-ID advocates “want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally - and very transparently - block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic … .”
Mr. Holder should start by cleaning house in his own building.
A bunch of racists at the Justice Department expect blacks, and everybody, else to show picture ID. Justice’s website repeatedly states, “Photo ID is required to clear security at all locations.” As Jeff Aronson observed in the New York Post, “Before a citizen can enter the U.S. Department of Justice’s office to complain about the need to produce a photo ID before voting, that citizen will need to produce a photo ID to gain entry.”
Mr. Holder can curb ethnic bias at once by scrapping his department’s photo-ID rule.
Next, Mr. Holder should visit Washington’s Union Station. A bunch of racists decided that “Amtrak customers 18 years of age and older must produce valid photo identification when … onboard trains, in response to a request by an Amtrak employee,” and under other particular circumstances. Amtrak’s website lists this regulation, which is targeted at blacks - and everyone else.
If Mr. Holder tours any American airport, he can watch a bunch of racists in the Transportation Security Administration demand that blacks, and everyone else, show photo ID before boarding passenger jets. The TSA could not care less about centuries of anti-black oppression. Instead, their agents just sit there, waiting for passengers to reveal their picture ID cards.
Meanwhile, a bunch of racists determined that blacks, and everyone else, must display photo IDs before buying certain over-the-counter cold remedies that contain ephedrine and other precursors of an illegal drug. According to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, consumers must present “an identification card that provides a photograph and is issued by a state or the federal government.” If Mr. Holder entered any Walgreens, he could witness this injustice.
Fortunately, we know the names of the racists who approved this law.
After passing the House on Dec. 14, 2005, the Senate adopted this measure on March 2, 2006. The senators who voted to rob the dignity of blacks, and everyone else, included such sitting and departed Democrats as Nevada’s Harry Reid, New York’s Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Massachusetts’ Edward M. Kennedy, and Illinois’ Dick Durbin and - wait a minute - Sen. Barack Obama. Hey, how did that happen?