Colorblind Injustice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction

Univ of North Carolina Press
Free sample

Challenging recent trends both in historical scholarship and in Supreme Court decisions on civil rights, J. Morgan Kousser criticizes the Court's "postmodern equal protection" and demonstrates that legislative and judicial history still matter for public policy.
Offering an original interpretation of the failure of the First Reconstruction (after the Civil War) by comparing it with the relative success of the Second (after World War II), Kousser argues that institutions and institutional rules--not customs, ideas, attitudes, culture, or individual behavior--have been the primary forces shaping American race relations throughout the country's history. Using detailed case studies of redistricting decisions and the tailoring of electoral laws from Los Angeles to the Deep South, he documents how such rules were designed to discriminate against African Americans and Latinos.
Kousser contends that far from being colorblind, Shaw v. Reno (1993) and subsequent "racial gerrymandering" decisions of the Supreme Court are intensely color-conscious. Far from being conservative, he argues, the five majority justices and their academic supporters are unreconstructed radicals who twist history and ignore current realities. A more balanced view of that history, he insists, dictates a reversal of Shaw and a return to the promise of both Reconstructions.

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About the author

J. Morgan Kousser is professor of history and social science at the California Institute of Technology and author of The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910. He has served as an expert witness in nineteen federal voting rights cases.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of North Carolina Press
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Published on
Nov 9, 2000
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9780807862650
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Law / Civil Rights
Political Science / Civil Rights
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot.

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A vivid, fast-paced history of this landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot—although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.

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In this enlightening and enthralling work, he shows that there is a persistent, prevailing, and destructive mindset regarding colored people that is rooted in our history as a slaveowning nation. This biased attitude has given rise to mass incarceration, voter disenfranchisement, unequal educational opportunities, disparate health care practices, job and housing discrimination, police brutality, and an unequal justice system. And all mask the silent and ongoing systematic killing of people of color.

Open Season is more than Crump’s incredible mission to preserve justice, it is a call to action for Americans to begin living up to the promise to protect the rights of its citizens equally and without question.

 

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Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.
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