Sunday, November 6, 2011

Illegals in Alabama versus legals in Ohio: The new racial politics

In the Kingsport, TN paper the Times News on October 26, 2011 was a story from the Associated Press with no by-line entitled “Alabama battle reminder of civil rights past.” It was an attempt to link the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of Alabama’s immigration law to that of its ugly history on civil rights. Saying that its immigration law “has resurrected ugly images from Alabama’s days as the nation’s battleground for civil rights a half-century ago” evoking memories “of the state’s sometimes violent path to desegregation.” I am sorry but it is a far stretch to equate the denial of state services to illegal immigrants to the denial of civil rights to citizens of the state. The main point of contention is the provision in the law that required schools to check the immigration status of students. How this “provision conjures images of Gov. George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door to block integration” leaves me mystified. However, I am open minded to anyone who sees a parallel. George Wallace was the typical southern democrat: a segregationist who yelled the N-word loud and often to get elected and re-elected. He even used his notoriety to run for president. When blacks finally were able to vote in large numbers in Alabama, he was miraculously transformed, issued the appropriate mea culpas and re-elected with a significant number of black votes.

A basic question is what is the Alabama law if parents who are citizens secretly send their children to a school outside their district? In some states parents have been fined and/or jailed for doing this. For example, early this year a poor black Ohio woman living in subsidized housing in Akron was sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years probation for sending her two children to a school in another district! Instead of sending them to an inferior school in Akron, she registered them with their father’s address in nearby Copley. The children’s father was found guilty of a felony of grand theft for “defrauding the school system for two years for the educational services provided to his children.” The court said that the cost of sending the children to the wrong school was $30,500.

Ohio’s governor pardoned the parents. However, if it is legal for state to do this to its own citizens for sending their kids to the “wrong” school then why is it illegal for a state not to provide educational services to non-citizens? Moreover, what would Alabama law provide for a non-resident citizen of say neighboring Georgia illegally sending a child to a school across the state line in Alabama? I would wager that there would be expulsions, penalties, fines and possibly jail time too. So the question is why should illegals be given privileges not granted to citizens?

Alabama has been subject to calling the R-word (racist) by the usual suspects. It is not mentioned in the media that two republican representatives have introduced legislation to remove all racist wording from the state's constitution. The measure, co-sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and Rep. Phil Williams, R-Huntsville, would have to be a ratified by voters in a statewide referendum, likely in November 2012. The offensive language that would be removed includes a provision that says separate schools shall be provided for "white and colored children," and that no child of either race shall attend the same school.It would also remove references to Alabama's "poll tax," which was used to keep blacks from voting until passage of the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act.

So the democrats have replaced the N-word with the R-word in electoral politics. Isn't it interesting that the liberals and especially the black liberals did not say a peep in the defense of the poor black woman in Ohio and yet have all come to the aid of illegals in Alabama? That says something about who is becoming the more important voting block in racial politics.

No comments: