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For the very first time, more than 2.5 million African Americans were able to cast their votes in elections without fear, bullying or physical injury.
Nevertheless in 1965, hardly any Americans could foresee the day when an individual, who’d have been unable to vote prior to the Voting Rights Act, would receive enough votes to be elected to the world’s greatest office in a nation where African Americans continue to be very much in the minority. As an effect of the election as the 44th President of the United States of Barack Obama, many have challenged the need for particular provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
“The elephant in the room is what to make of the Obama election,” said Columbia law professor Nathaniel Persily.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a lower court ruling that upheld Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of racism, to receive approval before implementing any changes in election processes. States changed solely comprise Texas and Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina. States somewhat changed include North Carolina, New York, California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Virginia and South Dakota.
Nonetheless, the local Texas authorities at the center of this litigation asserts they have no history of racial discrimination and many consider that America no longer needs such laws in a “post-racial society.”
But what does Obama’s election really indicate? Has America entirely conquer its racist past or is racism still an impediment to true equality for people of color?
According to defendersonline.org, a whopping 131 million Americans cast their vote for the next commander in chief in November 2008, an eight percent increase from the preceding election in 2004. Obama received a total of 53 percent of the vote, which was a substantial percentage contemplating the considerably closer elections in 2004 and 2000.
African Americans made up 13 percent of voters, up from 11 percent in 2004, while Hispanics made up nine percent of voters, an one percent increase from the preceding presidential election.
Still, White voters were the only demographic that Obama wasn’t able to acquire majority support. Moreover, Obama could just rally support from 10 percent of White voters in Alabama.
Therefore, Obama was driven to get secret service protection before than any other presidential nominee in history due to assassination threats. Based on telegraph.co.uk, the secret service has inquired over 500 death threats against the future president.
Prior to accepting the Democratic nomination for president, Tharin Gartrel and Nathan Johnson were detained in Denver for making assassination threats towards Obama during the Democratic National Convention.
Nevertheless, in spite of the contradictory signs of racial progress, America’s recent election of President elect Obama has demonstrated this state has what it takes to unify despite racial differences. The battles that those from the Civil Rights era lasted led to the historic presidential election of 2008 and such monumental accomplishments as the Voting Rights Act. But it remains to be seen if this is evidence of a long-lasting post-racial society or if race will continue play a variable and laws like the Voting Rights Act is needed to ensure equality.