Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We are reliving Jim Crow in America. Want proof? Look no further than Texas

Conservatives and the US supreme court like to mess with minorities. But that doesn’t mean we won’t fight for our most basic right.

Cindy Casares in Austin, theguardian.com, Tuesday 21 October 2014

Never has it been more important to vote in Texas than in 2014. Every state office is up for grabs this Election Day, which means that voters have a chance to really change something after the Republican-controlled legislature spent the last session eviscerating women’s reproductive rights – closing at least 30 safe, legal abortion clinics, enacting a 24-hour waiting period and, until last week, leaving only seven clinics open across the state. For good measure, Texas politicians gutted public school funding by billions and carved up voting districts so ridiculous that one – congressional district 35 – is a long, nonsensical sliver that stretches from Austin to San Antonio, 70 miles away.

The only problem is that nearly 700,000 of those voters who could change something ... might not be able to vote.

We are reliving the Jim Crow era in the United States – and nowhere more so than here in Texas. Ever since we became a majority-minority state in 2004, Republicans have passed law after law to stem the tide of demographically-wrought political progress. During the last two legislative sessions, seemingly every major law passed was created to disenfranchise people of color who, despite their numbers, are still two or three times as likely as white Texans to be unemployed, live below the poverty line, lack medical insurance and have low educational attainment. The new laws dismantling minority voting districts, cutting educational funds and closing down safe abortion facilities are being challenged on their constitutionality due to the disproportionate amount of hardship they pose for the economically disadvantaged who – surprise, surprise – are more likely to be Hispanic and African American.

(More here.)

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