Will Rangel See The End of The Harlem He Helped Build? | Politicker


The New York Observer (Politicker) writes

Mr. Rangel deserves some sympathy because after four decades in the House of Representatives, building a political machine that has seen scores of friends and protégés win high office, serving a district that has been represented by only two people since World War II, he is now presiding over that district’s dissolution.

via Charlie’s Angles: Will Rangel See The End of The Harlem He Helped Build? | Politicker.

Unless the State Legislature acts before March 12, a federal court special master will redraw New York congressional map. In that redistricting,  Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel could lose his historically black congressional district.

The Politicker article looks at the Dominican community’s agitation for a district configured to elect a congressman of Dominican heritage. African American politicians are lamenting the possibility of ceding Harlem’s black political power to the Dominicans or to the black community in the Bronx and Westchester.

Unexamined in the article is the decline of the black population and the rise of racially integrated neighborhoods throughout NYC. Like historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a predominantly Harlem  congressional district is a relic of a past era when African Americans were limited.

As regular readers know, I’m opposed to efforts that pervert the Voting Rights Act to deepen racial and ethnic divides by creating segregated silos that undermine our common interests as Americans.

To learn more, read my recent op-ed in the NY Post, “Drawing districts to deepen divides?

Should the special master draw a congressional plan preserving a Harlem-based black district and a Dominican-dominant district? 

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
This entry was posted in African Americans, Elections, Voting Rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Will Rangel See The End of The Harlem He Helped Build? | Politicker

  1. Geoffrey L. Garfield says:

    Your philosophy connecting redistricting to the mission of historically black colleges and universities doesn’t make sense. Congressional districts have been drawn to protect incumbents and preserve racial-ethnic elected posts. HBCU’s educate previously discriminated citizens and provides a positively reinforced culture of diversity as the student body may be mostly black, the faculty and staff are very diverse, moreso than white colleges. You inserted the HBCU issue where it is neither deserving nor logically consistent. If you believe that preserving HBCUs is a remnant from the past, then you can no longer lament the disparity in resources to k-12 which causes the kind of historic academic discrimination which HBCUs seek to correct and have success correcting.

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    • Mea culpa. Thanks for pointing out the logical inconsistency. I shouldn’t have used the HBCUs as a relic of the past while discussing the efficacy of the VRA as an incumbency protection tool. I wanted to point out that some institutions and laws that proved beneficial during segregation and aided in desegregating America may no longer be performing their intended purposes.

      HBCUs are facing their own unique challenges. Renewed efforts to end affirmative action programs in higher education (at white campuses) may aid in resurrecting those HBCUs on financial life support.

      Aspects of the Voting Rights Act, however, that enable politicians to twist it to achieve unintended purposes, must be opened to discussion and amendment.

      The VRA is still needed as a protection of everyone’s voting rights and ability to effectively participate in the political process. Many more black candidates for public office must run in areas outside of the black and minority community. And that’s the larger point that I intended to champion.

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