Patrick O’Neill: Laws made to discriminate

April 25, 2013 

Laws that discriminate

In the N.C. General Assembly, we have a group of mostly conservative white men in power who are introducing and passing legislation that will disempower people of color. In North Carolina this is a familiar storyline. In the past, white lawmakers passed bills upholding slavery and segregation.

Today, white lawmakers have led the charge in passing anti-immigrant bills and bills that will suppress a person’s ability to vote. N.C. Central law professor Irv Joyner and community activist Dennis Gaddy (both interviewed in “Ex-felons may have to wait to vote,” April 23) are two African-American men who have lived through and been victims of North Carolina’s racist practices.

It would be a good idea for our white legislators to take the advice of Joyner and Gaddy, two men who have led the charge for justice and integrity in our state. Laws passed by white people that disproportionately disempower people of color are de facto racist. Legislators can deny racist intent, but that won’t change or ameliorate the harm done.

Patrick O’Neill


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