Racial attitudes, the election and miscegenation

May 14, 2008

I had a disagreement with a friend yesterday over whether Obama is electable. I am skeptical, and the results from West Virginia yesterday were certainly not promising. I thought about Jim Crow, miscegenation laws, and so on and remembered that Alabama had just recently taken out a clause in their state constitution banning miscegenation. Of course Federal law trumps state law on this issue, so the clause was inactive or whatever the legal term is. But the Alabama took out the clause based on the result of a voter referendum in 2000.

In 1970, twelve states, mostly Bible Belt states, still kept these unenforceable miscegenation (sic) laws on their books. The last one to be removed wasn’t removed until November of 2000 in Alabama. Strange indeed was it was done by ballot referendum because it was a Constitutional measure. Unbelievably, forty percent of Alabamans still voted against taking the laws off the books even though it was unenforceable. Amazing!

Salon.com commented after that election result:

“In November 2000, after a statewide vote in a special election, Alabama became the last state to overturn a law that was an ugly reminder of America’s past, a ban on interracial marriage. The one-time home of George Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr. had held onto the provision for 33 years after the Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. Yet as the election revealed — 40 percent of Alabamans voted to keep the ban — many people still see the necessity for a law that prohibits blacks and whites from mixing blood.”

Don’t know what the racial breakdown of the “no” voters were, I could imagine that some blacks aren’t too fond of mixing with whites. But you know, this isn’t promising, although I realize that Obama or Hillary haven’t a snowflake chance in Hell in winning Alabama.


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