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Jeff Sessions and the War on White People

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There’s a war on white people in America.

I know this because Rep. Mo Brooks, the whitest man in all of Alabama, has proclaimed it. Several times.

That’s what’s tripping up Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing for US Attorney General. Not Sessions’ past comments. Not his deplorable track record on voting rights. Not his past history as Attorney General in Alabama.

Nope, it’s white people getting the shaft, man.

At least, that’s Brooks’ viewpoint. He went on a radio show Tuesday to share that pearl of wisdom, and he’s said it before.

He seems to believe that there is a concerted effort out there to paint all white men, and particularly white Republicans, as racists in order to win votes. Or in this case, to cost a Republican Senator confirmation votes.

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To hear Brooks tell it, all of this questioning of Sessions is just a great big reverse-racism scam that’s only besmirching the good name of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

For the love of Bo Bice, can’t a white man catch a break?

All of this is, of course, ridiculous. And offensive.

And I think it’s time we had a little chat about racism. Because a bunch of you don’t seem capable of recognizing what it is and what it isn’t.

Quite a few of you seem to believe that racists still wear hoods, spit on blacks in public, burn crosses and fly the KKK flag on their front porch. And that level of racism is the only sort that counts in your book.

On the other hand, the same group also has a remarkably low bar for what constitutes “reverse racism,” ranging from not getting good service at an airport Popeye’s to not having a TV show titled “White-ish.” (That last one is a Twitter complaint from the soon-to-be president. Let that wash over you for a moment.)

This is why there’s some disagreement over Sessions.

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One group seems to believe that because Sessions drinks from the same water fountain as the black congressmen that he’s beyond reproach. And maybe, if the guy was applying for a gig mopping floors or washing dishes, we could let it go at that.

But he’s applying for the job of leading the office that is tasked with protecting and ensuring civil rights. The office that attempts to level the playing field. The office that chases down and punishes those that discriminate based on color, religion and nationality.

Forgive me, but a guy who thinks the Voting Rights Act was “intrusive” isn’t the right man for that job.

Sessions stuck to that description of the VRA during his hearing, saying it was unfair because it punished southern states by requiring that they receive Department of Justice approval for any changes to voting laws, a process known as preclearance.

What he doesn’t say is that those states were subjected to that law because of their past histories of denying black voters and remained covered by it because of continued voting rights issues.

Sessions also failed to mention that after the Supreme Court struck down portions of the VRA, almost every state previously required to seek preclearance, including Alabama, implemented laws or voting changes that limited access to the polls for minorities. In some cases, states implemented laws that had been declared unconstitutional by the DOJ.

Of course, Sessions said he didn’t find voter ID laws to be discriminatory.

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We already knew that here. Sessions’ home state passed an ID law, cut registration days and shuttered driver’s license offices – a move the Department of Transportation deemed a violation of the VRA.

That’s 2017 racism. It’s less hoods and burning crosses and more legislation and redistricting. And not a word from the senator to stop any of this, to protect the civil rights of his many black friends.

Because he can’t see that there is anything wrong with this slanted playing field.

At the end of the day, that’s why so many question Sessions’ ability to lead.

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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