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Michael Eric Dyson: Voting Rights Act Isn’t About ‘Ghosts of Racism’

On Sunday’s episode of “Meet the Press”, Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson and former Sen. Jim DeMint sparred michael-eric-dyson-090over the impact of the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act. Dyson insisted that the VRA is necessary today not because of ‘ghosts’ of racism, but because of actual infringements on voting rights in states covered by the VRA.

When host David Gregory asked Dyson where we should go from here considering that the Supreme Court has decided that the “ghosts of the 1960’s can no longer be held against those states, particularly in the South,” Dyson made it clear that this debate isn’t about ghosts.

“Well, it’s not the ghosts, you know, it’s the real, living problems that are presented. Think about Attorney General Holder’s response to this, talking about the corrosion of the foundations of American democracy,” said Dyson.

He pointed out that Texas’ redistricting plan and South Carolina’s ID plan were both rejected by lower courts, federal courts, in Texas and South Carolina today. Not 50 years ago, not 40 years ago.

Dyson also drew attention to  the fact that prior to the court’s decision, approving the Voting Rights Act had been a bipartisan act.

“You know, what’s interesting here is that in 2006 Congress and George Bush signing the legislation reviewed this and, in a bipartisan way, found that it was compelling evidence to suggest that we needed these protections,” added Dyson.

“The courts didn’t throw out the Voting Rights Act,” DeMint countered, “just one section that used 50-year-old voting participation records.”


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