Racism at the Drugstore
Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina has signed a new election-law reform, which includes a requirement, starting in 2016, that voters show a government-issued ID--available from the state free of charge.
You know what comes next:
Democrats and minority groups say the new law will suppress voting and it make it harder for minorities, the elderly and youth to cast ballots. The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups have vowed to fight the changes.
"It is a trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs--black and white--who fought for voting rights in this country," the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, told The Associated Press. "It puts McCrory on the wrong side of history." The chapter has filed its own legal challenge to the measure.
Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports that the CVS drugstore chain "has instituted a policy in the Washington D.C. region that anyone who purchases nail polish remover from one of their stores will have their ID scanned and their purchases tracked."
Is this racist? By the logic of voter-ID opponents, certainly. Purchasing nail-polish remover may not seem like a basic civil right, but if a shop adopted a policy of selling the stuff only to persons of pallor, it would clearly be outrageous and illegal. Likewise if it required would-be buyers to pass a "literacy test" obviously designed as a barrier to minorities.
So how can ID requirements be racially discriminatory only in the context of voting? No one has ever managed to answer that question satisfactorily.