At the moment the Supreme Court is hearing arguments for and against the Voting Rights Act. The Act, passed in 1964, gives the federal government supervisory authority over elections in places where there has been a long pattern of disfranchisement, e.g. “the South.”
I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.
It’s difficult to be a historian of the US and not be flabbergasted by this comment. Because Scalia is right–for nearly all of its history, the US has perpetuated racial entitlements with the greatest enthusiasm. Those entitlements have been for entirely and overwhelmingly for white people.
There was no individual precedent for my love of alternative and punk culture. My family and neighborhood friends all exclusively listened to contemporary rap and R&B, the former not truly capturing my imagination until a year later (Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” was the rap equivalent of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in terms of opening my eyes to a new world). R&B still doesn’t appeal to me. There’s a sense of defiance that comes with liking something you’re not “supposed” to like; in a way, I knew I was sabotaging the uniform order among black kids my age. But mostly, it felt like something I could claim for my own, a part of American culture that wasn’t handed down to me or illustrated in history books. It wasn’t my parents’ music. It was something that was happening right now, and regardless of the color lines placed between it and me, it was something that I was a part of.