Let’s Face It, Blacks Are Less Sophisticated Voters

Probably Hispanics and women too.


At the preliminary injunction hearing in July, before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, the government produced Professor Charles Stewart of MIT’s political-science department. According to the transcript of that proceeding, when Stewart was asked why he believed that eliminating same-day registration (which only eleven states have) was discriminatory, he said that same-day registration provides “a mechanism and a time that’s well situated for less sophisticated voters, and therefore, it’s less likely to imagine that these voters would — can figure out or would avail themselves of other forms of registering and voting” (emphasis mine).

And who are those “less sophisticated voters” who can’t “figure out” how to register to vote? They “tend to be African Americans,” according to Stewart. He added that “people who register to vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be . . . less-educated voters, tend to be voters who are less attuned to public affairs.” Stewart said that these voters “tend to be African Americans.”

The Obama Justice Department witness was quite done yet …

Stewart leveled the same type of criticism at a measure to reduce the number of early-voting days. African Americans would be deterred from voting, he said again, because they are “less sophisticated voters.” He denied that he was racially stereotyping blacks — even when he said that they have a harder time figuring out how “to navigate the rules of the game.” He admitted that he did not survey black voters in North Carolina to ask them “directly about understanding the rules of registering and voting.”

The NAACP witness didn’t do much better …

The NAACP’s expert was another professor, Barry Burden, of the University of Wisconsin. Burden claimed that blacks and Hispanics are less able “to pay the costs of voting” because of the “stark differences between whites, on the one hand, in North Carolina and those of blacks and Latinos in North Carolina.” By costs, Burden was referring to “the time and effort that a voter has to put in in order to participate.” That includes “locating the polling place, getting the right paperwork, understanding who the candidates are, becoming informed.” From his testimony, it was clear that Burden did not think that blacks and Hispanics have the same ability as whites to accomplish basic tasks such as locating a polling place, filling out a one-page voter-registration form, and learning what issues candidates support or oppose.

I know if I were a black guy, I’d totally be ok with being called ‘less sophisticated’ than a white person, and incapable of accomplishing basic tasks when going through the process of voting.

I also know, as a white radio host, if I’d said this I would face protesters and demands that I be fired.

Here I am telling minorities they are just as good and capable as anyone else, and I’m constantly called a racist (no doubt I will be for this post by people who failed to bother to read it).  Yet the side that steadily belittles minorities is treated as their best advocates.