View Poll Results: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

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Thread: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

  1. #21
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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Declan View Post
    You cannot change a person's immutable characteristics like race and gender, but it is certainly possible to put them in the position of being the deciding votes, king-makers if you prefer.
    By creating (artificially?) concentrated minority districts you do two things - give better odds that those districts will vote for a given "minority friendly" party and remove the need to appeal at all to those minority voters in any other districts.

    If a state has 20 districts and a 15% minority population then it can be clustered tightly (gerrymandered) to get 3 virtually guaranteed seats while having no measurable affect on the other 17 districts. That may seem like progress if you score it as 3 wins instead of zero wins for "minority friendly" candidates but it actually hurts, overall, since the vast majority (the other 17 representatives) then have no reason to care about those "majority minority" district voter's policy concerns. On the other hand, if each district had that minority (15% of their district's voters) to be concerned with, in each election, then that may tip the election (and public policy) if the minority voters tended to vote for one party over the other.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    No, that's not what I am asking. The question is is the practice of deliberately drawing congressional district lines to favor or disfavor a particular racial group justified racial discrimination. That is the question. Clear?
    If we accept that this example is wrong, is not the redrawing of ANY congressional district intentionally done to produce a pre-ordained result wrong?
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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Again, self explanatory.
    What districts have been redrawn according to race? Congressional districting is about equal numbers of people being represented.
    “The people do no want virtue; but they are the dupes of pretended patriots” : Elbridge Gerry of Mass; Constitutional Convention 1787

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    (I had to go get another cup of coffee for this conversation, and it may get philosophical depending on how many cups I go through this am.)

    I tend to say no, if we are going to stay a constitutional republic then whole idea is to have elected officials govern within the confines of a constitution. And no where in those confines is the idea that to represent a district one has to demographically match the constituents by race, or by age, or by sex, or by income level, etc. If it were otherwise we would already see stronger elements of racial segregation today and the make up of Congress would more match the racial demographic make up of the US. Right now we have roughly 12.6% of the nation that is black, roughly 8.9% of the 114th Congress is black. They still do not add up, but still I am unsure that means that Congress cannot be reflective of the will of the people because of that roughly 3.7 point gap for the black population. I am sure though that we have plenty of black voters that feel otherwise and it gives us this problem of what to, Constitutionally, to ensure outcome.
    A couple of things. First of all, as I am sure you are aware, there are various ways of interpreting the constitution. Some prefer a literal interpretation, some original intent, and some see the constitution as a very flexible living document that is there to support the needs of the present. It appears you lean towards a literal interpretation. While it is true that the constitution does not explicitly call for congressional district lines to be drawn in this way, it does not explicitly forbid it either. Neither is there anything in it, at least that I am aware of, that would lead one to believe that such district lines would violate the basic principles upon which the document is based. That's one point.

    Second of all, although I understand your point about if there was such language, we would have more segregation than we have today, I don't necessarily believe that is the case. I say that based on experience. For example, I am black, but I live in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area, and I did not choose my house, based on congressional district lines. And although I have not researched the matter, I think there is a substantial amount of the population who are like me. So my point is, I don't think it is necessarily clear that having such language in the constitution would result in more segregation. Perhaps it is possible, but even if that were the case, I can't say for sure that the effect would be substantial.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    These are the reasons I initially answered the thread with there is no such thing as justified racial discrimination, even if the tables were flipped and 15% of Congress was black with the same 12.6% of the population being black I doubt that alone means a higher degree of political goals obtained. I mean think about it, we have now had a two term black president and by demographics and economic data blacks are worse off now than before, and in just about all categories blacks lag behind whites when it comes to unemployment, labor participation, movement up the income quintiles, education, etc. When it comes to the percentage of Americans on one or more forms of government assistance (social safety nets) the results are just as bad when broken down by racial lines.
    I agree with you here. Part of the reason that blacks have not been able exert sufficient influence on policy is systemic, in that there are very powerful lobbies that punch well above their weight in terms of numbers because they are very well funded. Some of them are hostile to the type of policies that would likely benefit blacks. Another reason is the lack of strong, principled leadership. And sadly, it is also due to the influence of poor education and misplaced values.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    In this case I have little choice but to suggest the argument for justified racial discrimination by default means continuing to go with very specific representative district lines and eventually involve segregation to effect representative outcome. That further illustrates the political window dressing today's representatives have given us with this effort to ensure political outcome. So now we get to evolve past today's politics being all about treasury promises, we get to include manufactured results for office but little results for those that elected them.
    Well some don't like it when it is put forward, but we do quite a bit for the show of it. One way in which people can be effectively controlled is to give them the appearance that they are empowered, when in reality, they have little or no power at all. That's a game that has been played many times, in many ways throughout history.

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by Declan View Post
    No you still have not clarified. If a state was required to do it because the federal government required it, is it justified to follow the law?
    I think that is a slightly different, though related question about states rights vs those of the federal government. But since it is related, let me see if I can respond. Let's make the assumption that it is indeed just to have a nation whose government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. IF the district lines are drawn such that the demographics in congress reflect the demographics of the state, then I think yes, under those conditions and assumptions, it would be just and therefore justified that the states follow such a law. That's my humble opinion on the matter. It appears you may think otherwise. What is your opinion?

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    If we accept that this example is wrong, is not the redrawing of ANY congressional district intentionally done to produce a pre-ordained result wrong?
    That would likely depend on why that assumption was made. What do you think?

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by jet57 View Post
    What districts have been redrawn according to race? Congressional districting is about equal numbers of people being represented.
    Many congressional districts have been redrawn in the US to insure that a black candidate is elected to Congress. Is there something I am missing here?

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Many congressional districts have been redrawn in the US to insure that a black candidate is elected to Congress. Is there something I am missing here?
    Districts are drawn so that residents are represented by residents. If a district happens to be black, what's the problem? Or should the Koch brothers represent black districts?
    “The people do no want virtue; but they are the dupes of pretended patriots” : Elbridge Gerry of Mass; Constitutional Convention 1787

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    No, that's not what I am asking. The question is is the practice of deliberately drawing congressional district lines to favor or disfavor a particular racial group justified racial discrimination. That is the question. Clear?
    Districts are drawn for equal numerical representation. If a district is half black and half white, what's it matter? If a district is black, then of course SOMEONE from that district should represent them.
    “The people do no want virtue; but they are the dupes of pretended patriots” : Elbridge Gerry of Mass; Constitutional Convention 1787

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    Re: Is congressional districting according to race justified racial discrimination?

    Quote Originally Posted by jet57 View Post
    Districts are drawn so that residents are represented by residents. If a district happens to be black, what's the problem? Or should the Koch brothers represent black districts?
    I didn't say it was a necessarily a problem. I just asked was it an instance of justified racial discrimination.

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