Letters

Voting Rights Act: right or wrong for the 21st-century South?

Regarding the July 14 article, "South seeks new status in Voting Rights Act": This is another demonstration that Southerners are the only people in this country who face government-sanctioned discrimination and oppression.

We are the only group about whom derogatory jokes and portrayals appear regularly in mainstream media without repercussion or "sensitivity training."

In 1997, the FBI hate-crimes report showed that the 11 states of the former Confederacy – with about 30 percent of the US population accounted for in the study – had only about 10 percent of the hate crimes in all categories. In comparison, California, with a bit less than half the South's population, had about 23 percent of all hate crimes. New Jersey fell just shy of meeting the total for the whole South.

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Where are the sanctions against California and New Jersey for their current sins while we Southerners continue to pay a limitless debt for past sins?

The numbers speak for themselves regarding the centers of hate and discrimination in America, yet politicians and leaders from those areas hypocritically want to continue discriminatory regulations and laws aimed at reminding Southerners that we are foreigners in our own country.
Michael Kelley
Pascagoula, Miss.

The July 14 article regarding the Voting Rights Act was a welcome relief. I have been constantly alarmed by efforts in a few states to enact various types of legislation that would effectively reduce the ability of certain citizens to partake in the election process.

I have no problem forgiving the South for its past transgressions when it comes to a sketchy civil rights history, but of late, we have heard rumors of disenfranchised voters throughout the nation. If the adage "where there's smoke there's fire" has any merit, we need to be concerned when any claim is made that citizens are denied their rights under the law. The right to vote is a priori in a democracy; without it, there's nothing.

Those in the South who would claim they are being unfairly singled out by the VRA, need to recall Florida during the 2000 and 2004 elections, when many citizens were unfairly denied their rights.

Recently, Georgia officials passed what amounts to poll taxes with a different name (a voter ID law), though a Georgia court recently ruled the law couldn't be enforced. Georgia officials claimed the law would defray costs; this just smells bad.

If the South smarts a while longer over what it perceives as an unfair reminder of transgressions, so be it.

When people claim they were dumped from the voting registers unfairly, or certain "fees" prohibit their ability to register, then the Voting Rights Act should remain the way it is and be kept in place as long as it needs to be.
Michael Fish
Los Angeles

Article on burqas provided insight

Regarding the July 11 article, "A burqa's-eye view": I am 12 years old and a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts.

I read your article about burqas, and I think that it is really cruel to do that to women. How would you feel about having to put on a covering all over?

If I were a girl and lived in a country like that, I'd want to move to a new one. Now I look at how others have to live – as compared to here in the US – because of this article.

Thank you for the insight.
Matthew Martin
Las Vegas

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