Voting Rights For Everyone—Whether Or Not They Speak English

Congressmen probably would vote for a declaration of war
against Canada if it were contained in a bill with the
words `civil rights` in its title."
Rights` That Can Lead to Civil War
, By Thomas
Sowell, New York Daily News, April 24, 1990), p.
30, quoted in

Paved With Good Intentions
p. 151]

President Bush`s

to the

on Thursday was strikingly lacking in any sort
of "Sister
Souljah moment
chiding that venerable but now


black organization for even one of its
numerous faults.

Instead, Bush made the climax of
his speech a demand that the Senate pass a 25-year
extension of the Voting Rights Act without amendment.

The Senate instantly complied by a
vote of

(following the House`s passage by the margin of

As a substantive bill, the VRA
extension was notable for insisting that

foreign language ballots
be provided to voters who
need them.

Yet, to become a U.S. citizen,
immigrants are

legally required
to prove that they are literate in
So the need for a non-English ballot would
appear to be prima facie proof that an immigrant
either fraudulently became a citizen or that he is a
noncitizen attempting to

vote fraudulently
. [
Jack Kemp

that Republicans
who oppose the VRA are Know-Nothings.

He would
. He also
claims that 70 percent of the non-English speaking
voters are born in the US, which, if it`s true, is an
indictment of Kemp`s

Open Borders policy

over the last twenty years.

But President Bush and the

solons of the Senate
aren`t concerned about mere
logic when they can revel in one of the more popular
rituals of 21st century political theatre:

that Southern white racism is

, a pervasive threat to blacks` right to

Apparently, the only thing that can
divert this tidal wave of

Southern white bigotry
from washing away the gains
of the 1960s is a unanimous vote of the Senate,
including all the

Southern white Senators,
in favor of the new VRA.

This 25-year VRA extension , which
President Bush swore to the NAACP that he would sign,

nine states
, seven of them Southern, to get the
Justice Department`s approval for any change in voting
rules to

make sure
that "the change did not have a
discriminatory purpose and would not have a
discriminatory effect."

Thus, the mark of Cain will
officially be upon the South into the 2030s for evils
that disappeared by the 1970s.

In reality, as Thomas Sowell
pointed out back in the pre-Internet days, the 1965
Voting Rights Act was the most quickly successful of the
civil rights era landmarks.

The more famous 1954

Brown v. Board of Education
theoretically outlawing school segregation remained
almost a dead letter until the

Nixon administration forced the desegregation of
Southern schools in 1969
. The ruling`s initial
impact was merely to radicalize Southern white sentiment
in favor of

"massive resistance."
And, indeed, even
today, when de jure

is officially excoriated,

de facto segregation

remains standard practice: most white parents
make costly efforts to shield their children from

having to attend schools
that are

heavily black.

In contrast, Sowell argued, the
denial of the vote to Southern blacks was an obvious
violation of the

15th Amendment
, and it wasn`t as much of an
emotional hot button for the public since it involved

fates of politicians,
not their own children. Soon
after Congress finally passed the Voting Rights Act in
1965, rabble-rousing white Southern politicians either
saw their careers come to a quick end now that everyone
could vote, or, like

George Wallace,
they changed their tune. So, there
was no more organized resistance to civil rights.

In other words, the effectiveness
of the initial Voting Rights Act in the 1965-1969 era
was because, once it dismantled the

various subterfuges
that kept Southern blacks from
voting, blacks possessed enough

political power
to make black voting rights

And more than
self-enforcing—witness ceremonies like last week`s 98-0
Senate vote.

But there`s another point about the
VRA. Contrary to

explicit assurance
given when the

1964 Civil Rights Act
was passed (just like, not
coincidentally, the

given when the

1965 Immigration Act
was passed), the legislation
has spawned pervasive

“Affirmative Action”
, a.k.a.

. The fight against these quotas has only just
begun. In that fight, we have much to learn from the
complex enforcement mechanisms built into the original

We`re coming up on the tenth
anniversary of California voters` approval of

Proposition 209
, the anti-affirmative action 1996
initiative authored by

Glynn Custred
and Tom Wood, and chaired by Ward

Like Brown, Prop. 209 was
greeted by massive resistance by the entrenched
California establishment. Also like Brown, but
unlike the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Prop. 209 didn`t
alter who held political power, so the powers-that-be
that had erected all the racial quotas in the first
place continued to, well, Be. Not surprisingly, these
powers subsequently attempted multiple end runs around
the clear language of the law.

For example, as

La Griffe du Lion
, the

Zorro of statisticians
, pointed out in his 2000
essay "The
Death of Meritocracy
," the first UCLA medical
school class admitted under Prop. 209 was blatantly in
defiance of the new state constitutional amendment.

Only 3.0 percent of

white and Asian applicants
were admitted versus 10.4
percent of blacks and Hispanics, even though the
"underrepresented minority"
admittees had much lower
grades and test scores.

Due to the tenacity of a few UC
Regents such as Connerly and

John Moores
, and the pro bono lawsuits filed by the

Pacific Legal Foundation
, progress has been made
since then in getting the University of California to
follow the law.

Still, the creativity of the

at evading the will of the people
remains remarkable.

Early in this decade, for instance,
the UC colleges adopted "comprehensive review" of
applicants, authorizing them to hand out admission not
just for grades and test scores, but also for
"overcoming adversity"
—including having been

! (Hint: Victims of

hunting accidents
need not apply.)

The problem is that in California,
the anti-quota good guys are forced to fight back
retail, while the

bad guys
are continuing to

discriminate wholesale.

To get around the identical
problem, in 1966, the Supreme Court upheld Section 5 of
the original VRA, which mandated Justice Department
oversight of the any changes in the law,


"Congress had found that case-by-case litigation was
inadequate to combat wide-spread and persistent
discrimination in voting, because of the inordinate
amount of time and energy required to overcome the
obstructionist tactics invariably encountered in these
lawsuits. After enduring nearly a century of systematic
resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment, Congress might
well decide to shift the advantage of time and inertia
from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims." [SOUTH
383 U.S. 301 (1966)]

Exactly the same logic applies to

racial discrimination against whites


We can`t afford anymore to pass
laws that merely declare racial quotas illegal. We must
provide detailed oversight processes to fight the
inevitable massive resistance from bureaucrats.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

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The American Conservative
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