NAACP report on supression of black vote: The new Jim Crow?

A new NAACP report on the suppression of the black vote refers to recent right-wing political tactics as the new Jim Crow. Now the esteemed civil rights organization is working to stop what its leaders see as a sinister and racially motivated attack on the black vote.

In Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, the group asserts that conservatives are engaging in coordinated legal attacks nationwide to reverse protections gained by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In a call today held by NAACP leaders, Rev. William Barber called these ploys some of “the most massive state-sponsored [acts of] voter suppression we have seen for decades.”

The president of the NAACP’s North Carolina chapter went on to add, “We know what it looks like, whether it happens in the 19th, 20th, or 21st century,” referring to tactics historically used to prevent blacks from voting. But today conservatives are working to influence state legislatures, rather than resorting to violent intimidation.

As a result, laws have passed in over 14 states introducing requirements that will effectively strip the vote from millions of African-Americans, Latinos, and the poor — the very groups that helped America elect its first black president.

Barber called this more refined means of black voter suppression “James Crow, Esq,” a subtle use of force exemplified by a new Texas law that requires photo ID for voter registration despite the fact that 25 percent of blacks lack identification. The NAACP is currently working to stop these restrictions from spreading, and to negate those newly implemented. Legislation that could negatively impact millions of voters might soon pass in as many as 30 states.

The NAACP calls on all African-Americans to fight back and get empowered to counter these maneuvers. In addition to reading the group’s report, Jealous encourages those interested in countering the new Jim Crow to sign the online petition against these trends. Also, through the NAACP web site, people can “become [online activists], and participate in many actions throughout the year,” Jealous said. He also encourages the public to, “get engaged online, and get educated on changes in your state.”

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President Jealous invites those passionate about protecting voters’ rights to attend the Stand for Freedom March in New York City to be held this Saturday, December 10. The NAACP will lead the coming political action against anti-voting rights measures in concert with dozens of other groups fighting to protect our right to vote. Visit the Stand for Freedom web site for more details.

It is often said that politics is war without guns. Blacks, Latinos and all those affected by these changes in law that might bar their participation in politics need to arm themselves for the 2012 election season. Positive action and sharing knowledge will be the best tools for our community’s empowerment.