Originally published 03/07/2013
Chuck Thompson is the author of BETTER OFF WITHOUT ’EM: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court arguments over the Voting Rights Act, the geography of racism is once again a topic of debate. None other than Chief Justice John Roberts kicked things off when he asked the act’s defenders—that would be the U.S. government—a 20-word question that brilliantly framed the entire debate: “Is it the government’s submission that the citizens of the South are more racist than the citizens of the North?” Roberts asked, pinning a very ragged tail on a very ugly donkey.Unlike most debates about this question, this one has real implications. The landmark act requires that areas of the country with a particularly virulent history of racial discrimination must receive federal approval before making changes in their voting laws. To no one’s surprise, the majority of the states covered by Section 5 are located in the South. If the answer is “yes,” then a reasonable case can be made for upholding the existing law....