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Monday, February 11, 2008

Nas Discusses "Nigger" Album, Touches on the Voting Rights Act and Its Expiration



A few years ago, I’d received a forwarded email from my friend about the Voting Rights Act expiring in 2007. I wonder if Nas got the same forwarded email which serves as nothing more than misinformation.

Here’s the email:

As everyone should be aware, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voters Rights Act. This was created to allow Blacks the right to vote. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment to extend this right for an additional twenty-five years. You guessed it . . . In 2007 (ten years from now),
Congress will decide whether or not Blacks should retain the right to vote. In order for this to be passed, thirty-eight states will have to approve an extension. For me, as well as many others, this was the first time that we had heard this — thus, bringing concern to all of us! What many Blacks before us fought and even died for as well as the milestones that we, as Blacks have achieved, this can be taken away from us . . . AGAIN!

If this issue has taken you by surprise as well, I encourage YOU to contact your Congressperson, alderperson, senator — anyone in government, that you put your vote behind and ask them what are they doing to — firstly, to get the extension and furthermore, make our right to vote a LAW. This has to become a law in order for our right to vote to no longer be up for discussion, review and/or evaluation. (Remember: Blacks are the only group of people who require permission under the United States Constitution to vote!)

As Black people, we cannot “drop the ball” on this one! We have come too far to be forced to take such a large step back. So, please let’s push on and forward to continue to build the momentum towards gaining equality.

Please pass this on to others, as I am sure that many more individuals are not aware of this.

It’s now 2008, and we can still vote. This is the reason why we can still vote:

The remedy to this injustice was President Lyndon Johnson’s proposal — and Congress’ passage — of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It didn’t guarantee blacks the right to vote; they’d already held that right since the ratification of the 15th Amendment ninety-five years earlier. The Voting Rights Act provided for enforcement of that right. The Voting Rights Act authorized the federal government to send federal registrars to counties where local registrars refused to accept the registration of black voters, to send observers to monitor elections and ensure that blacks were allowed to vote (and that their votes were actually counted), and to mandate that certain areas obtain the approval of the Attorney General before making changes to their voting requirements or procedures. The Voting Rights Act was never intended to be in force permanently.
It was initially effective for a period of five years; that period was later extended for another five years, then another seven years, and finally for another twenty-five years, ending in 2007. Even if the Voting Rights Act is not extended again in 2007, this will not mean that the right to vote will “be taken away” from blacks — it will simply mean that the federal government will no longer require states to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws. We should see this as a positive — that we as a society have finally (if slowly and painfully) progressed to the point we no longer need to take special measures to ensure that every citizen has a fair opportunity to participate in a democratic voting process. There are times when we should get all riled up about what our government is doing, but this isn’t one of them. (Source)

I checked with Snopes after receiving that email, and forwarded that link to my friend and everyone she emailed. Every so often, it’s nice to get an email that informs us to take action but we can’t accept everything that’s fed to us. We have to be certain that we take action against something that’s an actual threat.

Here’s the John Lennon song that Kelis brought up:

“Woman Is the Nigger of the World”




How true are these lyrics? Props to John Lennon. Also, props to Yoko Ono for inspiring this song.

1 comment:

Kaodik said...

Interesting. I never scene that piece. Thanks.