05-24-2018  6:22 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Man gets 13 years for crashing motorhome into patrol cars

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Salem man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for assault against Salem police officers after leading police on a chase through Salem and ramming his motor home into officers in their patrol cars.The Statesman Journal reports 61-year-old Roy...

Woodburn officer gets 150 days in jail for child sex abuse

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A former Woodburn police officer has been sentenced to 150 days in jail and five years of probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from the child online.The Statesman Journal reports that 29-year-old Daniel Kerbs was sentenced Wednesday....

Worker who died in fall at Sound Transit site identified

SEATTLE (AP) — Officials have identified the man who died after falling from a light rail column at a Sound Transit construction site in Bellevue.The Seattle Times reports 63-year-old Walter Burrows was a foreman and a longtime employee at Kiewit, the company building the elevated light rail...

Case of Legionnaires' disease suspected at UW Medical Center

SEATTLE (AP) — A case of Legionnaires' disease has been suspected at the University of Washington Medical Center.KOMO-TV reported Wednesday that this is the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.Officials said the patient "has been diagnosed with a...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been disciplined for acting "inappropriately" after the Bucks player was zapped with a stun gun during his arrest for a parking violation in January.Brown, who is African-American, said in a...

George Zimmerman tells court he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — The ex-neighborhood watch volunteer who killed a black teen in Florida in 2012 says he's [scripts/homepage/home.php].5 million in debt and has no income.George Zimmerman filed paperwork detailing his financial state as he fights a misdemeanor stalking charge.The Orlando Sentinel reports a public...

Senate primary splits Arizona conservatives between 2 icons

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (AP) — Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asking dozens of tea party activists for their backing in Arizona's Republican Senate primary when one audience member said it was a shame disgruntled conservatives couldn't send "both of you" to Washington.The man...

ENTERTAINMENT

In taking on 'Solo,' Ehrenreich faced an unenviable task

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thandie Newton jokes that there might be something off about Alden Ehrenreich — because how else could he take on the pressure-filled role of Han Solo with so much ease?"Every week, I was expecting a call that Alden had had a nervous breakdown and wouldn't be coming...

Rockwell work at center of controversy gets M at auction

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — One of the two Norman Rockwell paintings at the center of a Massachusetts museum's contentious decision to sell 40 works of art has been sold at auction for more than million."Blacksmith's Boy — Heel and Toe," also known as "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop," was...

Michael Jackson estate slams ABC TV special on his last days

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The estate of Michael Jackson is objecting to an ABC TV special on the end of the King of Pop's life, calling it a crass attempt to exploit Jackson without respect for his legacy or children.The estate said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that "The Last...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Bucks' Brown decries 'police intimidation' during arrest

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee police chief has apologized to Sterling Brown and says officers have been...

Still smoking and still joking, Tommy Chong views life at 80

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he'd live to see the day marijuana...

Cyclone Mekunu pounds Yemen island on its path to Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cyclone Mekunu pounded the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea...

Saudis release 2 women in sweep targeting rights activists

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi authorities have released two prominent women's rights activists,...

Report: Several hurt in Turkish explosives factory blast

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish media report says an explosion has occurred at a government-owned...

More than 350 observers to monitor Turkish elections

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An international security body says it is deploying 22 long-term and 350 short-term...

Bill Fletcher, Jr. NNPA Columnist

Prior to the 2012 elections, I found myself in a discussion with a colleague concerning Republican efforts at what has come to be known as "voter suppression."  I was informing this person, who is well educated, that voter fraud is not a problem of any significance in the U.S.A.  This individual rejected my contention, arguing that he was aware of countless examples of alleged fraud and that the efforts to make voting more difficult were justified.

A fascinating article in Mother Jones from July 2012, which I only just discovered, contains the sorts of ammunition that is needed in this debate, ammunition that really can not only end the argument but open up the real question:  Why are the Republicans trying to make it more difficult to vote?

The article, by Hamed Aleaziz, Dave Gilson and Jaeah Lee ["UFO Sightings are more common than voter fraud"] contains this little factoid at the end:  Between 2000 and 2010 there were 649 million votes cast in general elections; 47,000 UFO sightings; 441 Americans killed by lightning; and 13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation.

How is it possible that with no evidence of massive voter fraud that legislators around the nation have moved to narrow voting?   The answer, to a great extent, has to do with race.  First, the people making the allegations tend to be White and rich.  They are playing into the growing fears among many average Whites that the U.S. is becoming a Black and Brown nation, and, to be honest, they are scared.  Many of them still cannot understand how it was that a Black man became president of the United States.

Second, the criminalization of Black America and the assumption that we are up to no good –   as demonstrated most recently in the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin – opens up the door to the belief that African Americans are somehow involved in trickery and voter fraud.  We do not have to have ever done anything.  It is more about what many Whites believe that we are capable of doing that matters.

Yet voter suppression, which is not going away, is about more than the antipathy of many rich Whites for Black people.  The voter suppression laws are not aimed solely at African Americans.  They remain part of the larger scheme to neutralize the growing majority in this country, a majority of people of color, youth, women and working people, that threatens the privileges of the rich and (in-)famous.  Thus, we not only have voter suppression but we have gerrymandering of electoral districts to ensure that certain districts remain in the hands of Republicans and that cross-racial political coalitions are less likely to be built.

The issue of voter suppression not only remains critical, but will especially be so in the 2014 elections.  Being mid-term elections, turnout tis always lower than in presidential years under the best of circumstances.  If you add to that the great difficulties that the average voter can anticipate in voting, the situation goes from bad to worse.  This means that voting rights activists will have important challenges that include:

-- Voter registration

-- Ensuring that the voters have the proper documents

-- Constructing monitoring and protection mechanism to guarantee our rights and

-- Helping to bring forward compelling candidates who speak to the issues of the grassroots and, thereby, encourage greater turnout.

To this we should add one more task.  Each time that you encounter an elected official who suggests that greater efforts need to be taken to stop alleged voter fraud, please ask them to provide you with documented evidence of a pattern of abuse.  Please ask them to provide you with documented numbers.  Please ask them to provide you with proof of convictions.

And, if they cannot provide any of this, please ask them to shut their trap.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the author or "They're Bankrupting Us" – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions.  Follow him on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com

 

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