A columnist argued Friday the best way for racial reconciliation to take place in the United States is for black votes to be counted as five-thirds. This would be an alternative to monetary reparations.
Theodore R. Johnson, III, a former White House fellow and a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, wrote in The Washington Post that, “Recognizing the original sin is simply not enough; we must also make moral and material amends for our nation’s treatment of African American citizens.”
A five-thirds compromise would imbue African Americans with a larger political voice that could be used to fight the structural discrimination expressed in housing, education, criminal justice and employment. Allowing black votes to count for 167 percent of everyone else’s would mean that 30 million African American votes would count as 50 million, substituting super-votes for the implausible idea of cash payments.
Johnson’s proposal would be an about-face from Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution which says, “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
This clause was later overturned by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments which abolished slavery, granted equal protection for all citizens, and gave the right to vote to all men regardless of race. Still, Johnson argues his solution would mean that, “Politicians, finally, would have to truly compete for the black vote, or a substantial share of it, to attain or remain in office.”
This would provide an incentive, even for purely self-interested politicians, to prioritize African American policy concerns and act on them, or face a loss at the polls.
The former White House fellow acknowledged there could be an issue with anyone who claims to be black, a la Rachel Dolezal. Johnson also addressed how the U.S. would address biracial and black immigrant voters.
The government shouldn’t be the sole arbiter of who gets to be black — nor flirt with archaic prescriptions such as the one-drop rule in determining a voter’s race. The most straightforward approach would be to limit access to weighted voting to those American-born citizens who have demonstrated through government documents, such as drivers’ licenses or birth certificates, that they identify, and are identified by others, as black or African American.
h/t: Daily Caller
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