Bundy, Sterling and the Supreme Court

Affirmative Action Okay, here we go again. Right on the heels of the Supreme Court’s deplorable affirmative action decision we have more comments from old white men who apparently have a very low opinion or downright hatred of black people. Are we surprised?

The Roberts Court essentially ruled that racism no longer exists, then here comes Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. I continue to ask the question, if people could choose to be black in the United States of America, would they do so? Until the answer to this question becomes, “it doesn’t matter what your color…”, then affirmative action will be needed. Affirmative action does not only address inequities of the racist past, it addresses ongoing race inequities and perpetuated race hatred.

The recent shootings of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis substantiate the risk of being black in America. Then there is Renisha McBride shot by a homeowner who thought her to be an intruder. Her car broke down at 2:30 a.m. in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, and because her cell phone was dead she knocked on a nearby door and was shot in the head and killed. Her family claims she was racially profiled. How about two black men in their sixties shot and killed in West Virginia while inspecting a newly purchased property. The shooter, Rodney Black, shot them at 2:30 p.m. because he thought they were breaking into a shed on a property that his family had previously owned. How about Roy Middleton, a 60 year-old black man shot by Florida police 15 times in his own driveway (13 bullets missed). He was mistaken for a car thief at the age of 60 ? He survived, but his leg was shattered. Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68 year-old, Marine veteran was killed by White Plains, New York police. He had a chronic heart condition, and the police were called by LifeAid, a medical alert service, to the public housing development where Chamberlain lived alone. He was shot with a stun gun and a bean bag gun and later died as a result. Police are recorded calling Chamberlain a “nigger” on a LifeAid tape. One of the worst incidents is the eight year old boy shot by a Dallas man, Brian Cloniger, simply because “he wanted to”. The child was playing tag outside a Dallas apartment complex and was shot by Cloniger who was arrested and held on $2.2M bond for the shooting, but he has admitted shooting the child. The child has undergone multiple surgeries and suffers from nightmares as a result of this hate crime.

How much evidence does the John Roberts led Supreme Court need to conclude that race hatred in America is still alive. The real-life stories are some of the more overt and blatant examples of this hatred, but every day there are incidents and examples in corporate America, in sports and in society. Cliven Bundy is just an old, ignorant racist who was given a platform to spew his ignorance on FOX news. Sterling was simply caught on tape, but there was plenty of prior evidence to back up his ugly comments about black people. Many have disavowed Sterling for his comments and several sponsors have dropped their relationship with the Los Angeles Clippers. Bundy has had his 15 minutes of shame, so we’ll leave it at that.

The Boston Globe termed the recent Supreme Court 6-2 vote to uphold Michigan’s 2006 ban on affirmative action in higher education admissions as upholding the tyranny of the majority. Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s 58 page dissent (pp. 51-108) has been, of course, attacked and maligned by conservatives on the right. Sotomayor detailed the long history of racial discrimination in the United States by documenting the many ways that southern states, primarily, manipulated laws to ensure that black people were disenfranchised from the vote or remained separate and unequal. Justice Kennedy indicated that he could find “no infliction of specific injury” to restrict Michigan voters from banning affirmative action. In 2006, a majority of white Michigan voters voted in favor of the ban on affirmative action while the majority of blacks in the state voted to uphold affirmative action. Michigan is 80% white. The tyranny of the majority has indeed been upheld.

L. Jackson/04.28.2014

One thought on “Bundy, Sterling and the Supreme Court

  1. esq.reflections

    I truly believe that history will show that Justice Sotomayor was right. Although much of the focus has been on the issue of race sensitive admissions policies, the truth of the matter is this case was really about whether voters can use the ballot box to ban such policies. Unfortunately, it seems as if the Justices’ views on race sensitive admissions is what led them to their holding. Sotomayor notes in her dissent that yes, voters can exercise their democratic right to vote on the issue, but what the voters did in Michigan was change the game field for minorities- this change in the political process is unconstitutional.

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