Eric Holder off base with continued campaign against state voting laws

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: July 29, 2013

As we've noted before, racism may have been most notable in Southern states, but it was hardly confined to those states. The worst race riots in U.S. history include the 1965 riots in Watts, Calif.; the 1967 riots in Newark, N.J., and the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Cincinnati experienced a race riot as recently as 2001.

A review of 2010 Census data found the nation's most racially segregated cities included locations in California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.

In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was dominant in Indiana and active in every state. At the time, the Klan was particularly powerful not only in Southern states, but also in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Oregon, according to University of Florida history professor David Chalmers. He notes the Klan helped elect at least 20 governors and U.S. senators from Maine to California.

Holder treats the distant history of those states as irrelevant, but not the distant history of states like Texas. This effectively means the nation's first black president and first black attorney general are deeming some minorities' voting rights as more worthy of protection than the rights of minorities living in states whose citizens voted for Obama.

That's not quite a “separate but equal” doctrine. But it's awfully close.

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