V. the New Vision of Citizenship: Self Determination for the 21st Century
Well into the twenty-first century, the Supreme Court must still decide issues of citizenship for people of color. These issues should have already been decisively put to rest as they have been for other citizens of the United States. Today, no one would seriously contest white citizens' participation in the electoral process, their jury participation or any other exercise of their citizenship rights. Yet, as a nation, we are still wrestling with these issues for people of color. Our voting and jury institutions have profoundly shaped and molded our definition of black citizenship into the twenty-first century.
African Americans must be viewed on a universal level as “real” U.S. citizens, by law and by action, deserving all rights, liberties, opportunities and constitutional protections for full citizenship status. Jury exclusion and voter suppression are both barriers to full citizenship and, instead of reinforcing citizenship rights, create second-tier citizenship for people of color. Furthermore, stereotypes that people of color are associated with poverty, crime and welfare benefits continue to speak to a type of hybrid citizenship. African Americans must continue to exercise the right to vote on a much larger scale in conjunction with fighting new oppressive voter identification laws and jury discrimination. This method will allow African Americans to have more control of the political and judicial process.
. E. Earl Parson is a former faculty member at the University of Wisconsin School of Law and former professor of legal studies at the University of the Virgin Islands. B.A., University of Oklahoma, J.D., Howard University, and candidate, LLM, University of Wisconsin School of Law.
. Monique McLaughlin, Assistant Professor of Law, Albany Law School, B.A., Boston University, J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law.
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