Op-Ed: A big reason the South goes red? Gerrymandering and voter suppression
The southern part of the country has long been a little bit of a powder keg.
In the past six months, we’ve gone from the nation’s most diverse region to one of the most racially polarized, and the result is less integration, less opportunity, less access to a host of amenities that would help everyone.
And that raises the question: What is at the root of this red-versus-blue divide?
If you look at the population, they’re almost identical. They have one of the most diverse regions in the U.S., with large pockets of white and black residents in some parts of the country. But there are racial disparities across all areas of the nation, and the South has more of those than most other major regions.
More than that, though, is how the population has changed. Today, the South as a whole is becoming less white, and as those people age and retire, the South is becoming more white.
So the question becomes: What’s driving the red-versus-blue, majority-white-versus-minority debate?
The first question is obvious: In my lifetime, the South has seen a series of devastating demographic changes, from the slow-motion migration of blacks to the South to the high migration of whites to the South, resulting in fewer people of color in the South.
The second question is less obvious: The South is becoming more white. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, the region was 29 percent white, compared to 26 percent in 1980, which means that the white population of the South has risen every single year since 1980.
It’s not just a change in population. In 2008, the region contained more than twice as many whites as blacks, and two-thirds of them were white men.
That’s a lot more white than black. But it�