Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ta-Nehisi Coates is oversimplifying again

In The True Face of 'Voter Fraud', Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds readers about the history of racism behind attempts to limit the vote.

But he's leaving out the bigger picture. From Sharon Smith's 'Race, class, and "whiteness theory"':
When the racist poll tax was passed in the South, imposing property and other requirements designed to shut out Black voters, many poor whites also lost the right to vote. After Mississippi passed its poll tax law, the number of qualified white voters fell from 130,000 to 68,000
So, what's most relevant? Disenfranchising black folks or disenfranchising poor folks? The rich are happiest when the poor can't vote because poor folks of all hues have this annoying notion that wealth should be shared.

If you think you can generalize about white Southern voters, see Paul Krugman's Bubba Isn't Who You Think:
...income levels seem to matter much more for voting in the South. Contrary to what you may have read, the old-fashioned notion that rich people vote Republican, while poorer people vote Democratic, is as true as ever – in fact, more true than it was a generation ago.