Op-Ed: Voter ID Opponents Appear to Believe Minorities Incompetent

Op-Ed: Voter ID Opponents Appear to Believe Minorities Incompetent

Texas’ voter ID law was struck down by Federal Judge Nelva Gonzales-Ramos, an Obama appointee, in the name of race. The judge’s ruling appears to suggest that black and Hispanic Americans simply don’t have the capability that whites have to apply for a government identification card, even when it’s free.

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the law in 2011, requiring citizens to show one of six types of ID cards in order to vote. President Obama’s Justice Department (DOJ) has continued to insist that the law is unfair to minorities

On Thursday, Judge Gonzales-Ramos sided with the DOJ, ruling that the law has “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”

That view speaks volumes about how our federal government sees black and Hispanic communities, that is, as being less able than others to get themselves to a government office once every 12-odd years. On a daily basis,  Americans have to balance their duties with considerations of time, cost and the burdens of local travel. Economic and social challenges are shared across races and ethnic backgrounds. Yet black and Hispanic Americans, in the view of the federal government, are somehow unable to handle those challenges as well as everybody else. 

Faced with the ability to hold all citizens  accountable to the same low standards, the federal government does not merely seek to exempt people from those standards. It goes further by preaching the idea that minorities are incapable of meeting those standards. 

The DOJ and various civil rights groups continue to insist that the cost of obtaining an ID makes it harder for minorities to vote, regardless of the fact that the Texas ID card is free. Judge Gonzales-Ramos also wrote that some rural areas are far from DPS centers. This overlooks the fact that a large majority of black Texans live in urban areas where DPS centers abound; in the Houston metropolitan alone, there are more than 20 locations.  The exploding Hispanic population also continues to make up a significant portion of Texas cities’ populations.  

Judge Gonzeles-Ramos added that her decision was influenced by a concern to avoid “making people figure out the requirements on their own.” Meanwhile, we live in a world where conservative policies are called racist, but democratically appointed judges, like Gonzales-Ramos, are considered heroes of progress.

By telling young minorities that they will always be victims of American society and that Democrats are here to protect them, politicians nurture support among these voters.  This has worked well for the Democratic party, who now proudly get about 90 percent of the black vote and over half of the Hispanic vote. Left-of-center policies have failed minority communities in epic proportions — witness Detroit where entitlement programs have created generations of unskilled, uneducated families dependent on government largess. Without a history of policy success,  Democrats have learned that accusing others of racism in highly publicized legal battles — like the manufactured voter ID issue —  secures the support of these voters.

Using allegations of racism to secure votes only promotes distrust among communities. It also instills convictions that society will always be unfair to minorities and they do not have a chance to succeed without government help. Policies crafted specifically to aid minorities were needed in the ’60s and ’70s, but now adversely affect many otherwise very capable groups. 

If politicians stopped categorizing and labeling groups based on skin color alone, Texas, and indeed the U.S., would be one step closer to being a race-blind society where we are not judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character

Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinBTate


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