September 09, 2008

The latest -- and lamest -- charge of racism

Believe only American citizens should be allowed to vote? RACIST!!

In advance of the 2009 citywide elections, a coalition of immigrant and advocacy organizations is reigniting a fight to give noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections, drawing the ire of opponents who argue that voting is a right for American citizens only.

At a rally outside City Hall yesterday organized by the New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights, supporters of a City Council bill that would extend voting rights to 1.3 million noncitizen New Yorkers said it's unfair that immigrant residents pay more than $18 billion in state income taxes when they can't vote for their representatives. The group is planning to pressure elected officials to back the legislation, which has been on file for more than two years but hasn't moved forward.

[Council Member Robert Jackson of Harlem] suggested that those opposed to giving noncitizens the right to vote might be motivated by racism, and noted that in the early years of American history noncitizens were allowed to vote. That ended after World War I.

"This was the law in the United States of America for many, many years and why don't they support it now? Is it what somebody said earlier because if you look at the skin complexion of the immigrants now they are mainly people of color versus 100 years ago, when they mainly were white," he said. "These are questions that people have to start asking." (Link.)

Although this is a typical tactic utilized by [far]-leftists -- calling those who disagree with you a "racist" -- most Americans don't know that part of what Mr. Jackson states is true: That for many decades, non-citizens were permitted to vote in varying degrees. However, Mr. Jackson gets a bit mixed up, especially when looking at the all-important time frame noted by the Sun in the article, World War I. In other words, why would "racism" be the underlying factor of why these voting laws were changed ... when during the time of WW I most immigrants coming to the U.S. were white?? Generalized xenophobia, maybe, but not racism. Ron Hayduk, co-director of the Immigrant Voting Project backs this up by noting that it was an anti-immigrant backlash that led to states changing their non-citizen voting laws. And again, at that time, the vast majority of immigration came from Europe, not Latin America as it does today.

Even so, Steve Cameron, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, argues that it wasn't an anti-immigrant backlash or xenophobia which led to WW I-era voting changes. He says it was more like electoral reform: "In those decades, the secret ballot was introduced and political parties' influence restrained. 'The elimination of noncitizen voting was done in that context, [as] part of an effort to clean up elections,' he says."

Maybe Mr. Jackson ought to talk to these two gents about his "racism" theory.

Posted by Hube at September 9, 2008 04:41 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)