At this point it is worth reviewing the major objectives of those who would limit the application of the Voting Rights Act to the use of race to affect the representation of Blacks within American political institutions through the device of having individuals who are themselves of African descent elected from districts by the votes of Blacks. This system is a form of self-determination that is commonly available for the preponderant majority of the white community and is recognized as a principle of politics in the most authoritative global institutions.

     Thus, with respect to the objectives outlined by some with respect to the creation of Black majority districts, there is the preference of the Democratic party that Blacks should be distributed in such a manner as to elect white Democrats (ostensibly liberal) to office, without showing that they have such liberality, especially in the South would amount to significant policy gains for Black communities through such a form of representation. This is supported by such scholars as Professor Swain, who argues that there is ample evidence that whites can represent Blacks as effectively as Blacks. Then, there is the objective of the sheer expansion of Black representation in legislatures or in the Congress, without regard to the issue of who is being represented, but to emphasize the showing that, indeed, Blacks may also represent whites effectively. This representation-neutral set of objectives is underpinned by decisions of the Supreme Court, which holds that Blacks have no right under the Voting Rights Act to acquire leadership which represents their interests, since it is questionable that there are a coherent set of Black interests and in any case, the use of race for such a purpose is offensive to the larger body politic.

     It is worth remembering at this point what was the objective of the creation of the Voting Rights Act. It was the achievement of a modicum of Black power or the ability to make authoritative decisions about the livelihood of Blacks and their communities through participation in the political system.

cologo2.gif (6450 bytes)

November 1999