9/8 redistricting: Integrate, don’t resegregate

Moderated by Rick Badie

Let’s be frank. We’re accustomed to Georgia Democrats and Republicans manipulating voters to expand their political ambitions. Did we really expect the new state redistricting maps — the result of a special redistricting session that ended Aug. 31 — to be less partisan and more attuned to the people’s will? Today, two legislators share their views.

By Stacey Abrams

Related commentary: Maps legal, reflect realities

Georgia is the battleground to find a place for race in our politics.

The state has an exploding minority population that traditionally votes Democratic, and a newly cemented Republican majority that controls state-level governments. In the middle are white Democrats. Indeed, they were 49.4 percent of the 2008 Democratic primary. Yet, the clear goal is to eliminate their survival in the South through redistricting.

At first blush, this may seem to be a purely partisan complaint. But Democrats have conceded that Republicans may draw themselves strong majorities, despite the mere 250,000 votes that separates us from power.

Unsatisfied, the GOP has decided to use this opportunity to silence whites and isolate minorities into enclaves where no racial coalitions can exist. This amounts to a re-segregation of Georgia into a party of white Republicans and black Democrats, leaving Latinos and Asians to fend for themselves.

Such a result is anathema to our legacy and the goals of the Voting Rights Act. It is bad for voters and bad for business.

Republicans have falsely argued that Democrats are angry because we view the Voting Rights Act as an incumbent protection plan or that we have grown too liberal.

As a black moderate Democrat, I am equally concerned about conservatives and independents. Maps should reflect the will of the people, not the fears of the politicians.

As a state, we require a robust, diverse political and economic system in which integration is a reality rather than an ephemeral goal. However, when companies seek to relocate here, their interaction with government will reflect not a bustling, multicultural society but a racially polarized one eons behind North Carolina, Florida or Tennessee.

Diversity is good for jobs. Resegregation is not.

Multiracial coalitions should not be mocked as irrelevant. They should not be seen as silly notions or dangerous precedents.

They are required by our law and mandated by good intent. When B.J. Pak, John Barrow or George Hooks are elected, this must be praised as our collective victory — a victory that reflects the progress of Georgia.

Integrated political districts prove that we are willing to work not only across the aisle but across the racial spectrum. Society is changing. Georgia cannot afford to be left behind.

Rep. Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, is the Georgia House minority leader.

7 comments Add your comment

Grasshopper

September 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

Where can I find a detailed street by street brakdown of the new districts? I live in Buckhead and cannot figure it out on any of the maps I have seen so far — toovague.
Anyone?

TruthBe

September 8th, 2011
2:02 pm

Blacks aways vote for Blacks. Look at Atlanta City Government. Gen. Colin Powell say it isn’t so. Examples: Rep.John Lewis, Mayor Reed of Atlanta. Atlanta City Government and most of Fulton County has been ran by Black Democrats for almost 40 years now. Look at all of the incompetence and corruption. Former Mayor Shirley Franklin cut some deals for Delta Airlines right at the end of her office that wasn’t good for the City and now she works for Delta. CORRUPTION! Go downtown and look around, you’re see mostly Blacks working there. Where’s the true diversity and equality???????????

citizen

September 8th, 2011
11:00 am

Education separates individuals in society; the higher level of education, the higher standard of living.

Pompano

September 8th, 2011
10:46 am

” an exploding minority population that traditionally votes Democratic”

How about always vote Democrat and always vote for black candidates. Why doesn’t Ms Abrams – who falsely labels herself a ‘moderate’ democrat – address the racial discrimination within her own constituents?

So I guess with Cynthia Tucker gone the AJC now turns to Abrams to be their designated race-baiter

Chip in N Ga

September 8th, 2011
9:48 am

I find it so sad that a decade into the 21st century, people like Rep. Abrams still look at, group, and judge people based on the color of thier skin. Her lingering racist attitudes can do no good at all. When will some people learn to look past something as shallow as skin color and instead look at the truly important things, such as the content of people’s character and their choices of behavior?

Her racist attitudes shown here, along with those of Mayor Reed, are a sad reminder the the City of Atlanta itself will probably never be a truly great city… it will linger like a skipping CD on the same tired, worn-out grievances and rants of the Sixties and Seventies… held back by those who cling to bitter identity politics and group-think.

Capital Idea

September 8th, 2011
8:04 am

Why do Democrats think that white liberals have to be represented by white people and black people will only vote for black politicians?

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