Trayvon Martin and the Fate of the Alabama Segregation Reference Ban Amendment

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About Oliver Lee Bateman

Good Men Project contributing editor Oliver Lee Bateman is one of the founders of the Moustache Club of America and Penny & Farthing, two blogzines specializing in flash fiction and creative nonfiction that he co-curates with web developer Erik Hinton, medical consultant Nathan Zimmerman, and freelance writers Christie Chapman and J. R. Powell. He is a lawyer as well as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Follow him on Twitter @MoustacheClubUS or on Google+. Oliver's Spring 2014 US History From the Civil War to the Present course is being live-streamed by UTA. You can access these lectures by clicking here.


  1. This is the most thorough takedown of present-day Jim Crow I’ve seen on GMP, bar none.

    Bravo, sir.

  2. PursuitAce says:

    Too bad in the era of segregated politics no one can be trusted. The truth is out there…somewhere.

  3. Oliver Lee Bateman says:

    I included this video as a link in the article, but I’m commenting to make sure everyone has a chance to see it:

    My friend Lewis Lehe made a very interesting short documentary about the Alabama Constitution. It’s well worth watching.

  4. I’m concerned about the strategy used here, because it seems to serve only to shame and insult.

    Please examine the way things unfolded:

    1) Parts of the Alabama constitution are identified as holdovers from an overtly racist past, and an amendment is introduced to repeal them. One of these parts is racist in an over way. The other is actually race neutral, but was passed to effect a racist goal.
    2) Opponents of the bill put forward an argument about why the race neutral part of the constitution should not be repealed, and urge voters to vote against the amendment.
    3) The amendment is defeated at the polls.

    Now, at this point, the adult, civil, thing to do would be to assume that your opponents were telling the truth and introduce a new amendment this time repealing only that part of the constitution that is not race-neutral.

    Instead, the childish route was taken: call your opponents a bunch of names; accuse them of lying instead of listening to them; be shocked when nothing changes and then blame your opponents instead of your own ill-thought-out strategy.

    This is what divides the country over and over again. No one listens anymore. No one believes that their opponents are speaking at face value. It’s so much easier to throw around terms like “racist” and “national socialist” than to actually listen to what is being said. So why bother? Why have a real discussion when you can sling mud? Why adapt your strategy when you can just use shame instead?

  5. John Anderson says:

    @ Mike

    The right to terminate one’s pregnancy could be gender neutral also, but is it if men can’t get pregnant at least not yet?


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