Texas Republican Platform Calls to Undo The Past 50 Years of Civil Rights Accomplishments

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As we've reported all week, the 2014 Texas Republican Party Platform is home to some pretty terrible things. It's anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-children. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the GOP platform is anti-minority as well.

The 2014 Texas Republican Party Platform advocates unraveling the laws and institutions that have helped people of color make tremendous strides forward over the past half century. This includes repealing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and abolishing any and all forms of affirmative action.

Using bizarrely twisted logic, the Texas GOP argues in its platform that what's best for civil rights is to have no minority protections at all. As usual, it's completely tone deaf as to what minority communities actually need.

Read just how regressive the Texas GOP is on civil rights after the jump. In the platform, Texas Republicans “urge that the Voter Rights Act (sic) of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.” Evidently this landmark legislation wasn't even important enough for them to get its name right. This also isn't the first time they've done it. The 2012 Texas GOP platform also advocated repeal of the “Voter Rights Act”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was one of the most important pieces of legislation that came out of the Civil Rights Movement. Although the 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave all people the right to vote, regardless of race, this was not well-enforced prior to the passage of the VRA. Many states, especially those in the South, “continued to use various methods to prevent people of color from voting, including literacy tests, poll taxes, the disenfranchisement of former inmates, intimidation, threats, and even violence.” The Voting Rights Act puts in places mechanisms to prevent racial discrimination in voting, and has been “hailed by many as the most effective civil rights law ever enacted.

Although the Supreme Court has steadily gutted parts of the VRA over the past several decades, the law is still in place to outlaw any kinds of discriminatory voting practices.

Of course, it makes sense that the Texas GOP wants to repeal the Voting Rights Act, given their platform's support of restrictive voter ID laws. These laws are put in place to stop voter fraud that doesn't really exist, and conveniently happen to target minorities in the process.

The Texas Republican Party platform also calls to get rid of all affirmative action. This is where the GOP's truly twisted logic comes out:

Inasmuch as the Civil Rights Movement argued against using race as a factor in American life, affirmative action reintroduces race as a divisive force in American life. The Republican Party of Texas believes in equal opportunity for all citizens without regard to race or gender. Affirmative action casts doubt on minority achievement making such achievement as seemingly unearned. We believe that true minority advancement will come from a demand for personal responsibility, accountability and competitive excellence.

According to the GOP, the Civil Rights Movement itself is why we don't need affirmative action. Seems like they don't get that the Civil Rights Movement wasn't just arguing that race shouldn't be used as discriminatory factor, but also that there were serious structural inequalities that have plagued people of color for centuries, perpetuating social disparities. Affirmative action programs are designed to correct the inequalities the Civil Rights Movement brought to light. Nice try, Texas GOP, but getting rid of affirmative action is not really following in the footsteps of the Civil Rights Movement.

Despite the Republican Party's attempts to “rebrand” to be more inclusive toward minorities, the 2014 platform shows that an elephant can't change its stripes–minorities are still not welcome in the Texas Republican Party.

About Author

Katie Singh

Katie grew up in Austin and has been involved in Texas politics since 2004. She has been a part of several campaigns, from state house races to working at President Obama's campaign headquarters in 2012. She loves public policy, public health, and tacos. Katie tweets from @kasingh19.

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