Come voting time, we don’t hear much from the so-called “quiet minority.” You pretty much have to break out the bullhorn to get some attention in this melt, melt, melting pot of a municipality. So we’ll use the squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease theory to explain why Florida is the last state in the country to get of rid an amendment rooted in Asian-American discrimination.
To understand how language in Florida’s 1st Amendment hates on Asian folk, you gotta first look at its history, says Winnie Tang, President of South Florida’s Organization of Chinese Americans The clause in question, added to the State Constitution in 1926, bans immigrants from owning property. (A yes vote deletes all that noise.) Thing is, at the time, the only group of immigrants expressly forbidden to become citizens by federal law were Asian. (See the roaringly racist Asian Exclusion Act of 1924.) Back then, for whatever reason, Americans felt threatened because the Japanese were down with working harder, for smaller wages. It seems Old Whitey was scared it would mess with the economy. (Hmmm, now why does that sound familiar?)
Every other state has since removed remnants of the law from its constitution --New Mexico was last in 2006 -- but the Sunshine State hasn’t been able to get it together. By now, all you wickedly smart, socially aware Riptide 2.0 readers probably know to vote no (freaking way) on Amendment 2. And, while Amendment 1 hasn’t been enforced in years, Tang says it’s up the same civil rights alley. Only, this is more of a symbolic cleansing.
Says Tang: “This is the 21st century. It’s long overdue.”
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