. For each of the three (3) premises (reasons) that oppose your position on the issue, answer these “believing” questions suggested by Elbow:
- What’s interesting or helpful about this view?
- What would I notice if I believed this view?
- In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?”
The paper should follow guidelines for clear and organized writing:
- Include an introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph.
- Address main ideas in body paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences.
- Adhere to standard rules of English grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:
The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:
- Identify the informal fallacies, assumptions, and biases involved in manipulative appeals and abuses of language.
- Create written work utilizing the concepts of critical thinking.
- Use technology and information resources to research issues in critical thinking skills and informal logic.
Are Felon Disenfranchisement Laws a Form of Racial Discrimination?
Jason L. Riley, Editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal, stated the following in his Feb. 12, 2014 article “Holder (Hearts) Felons,” published in the Wall Street Journal:
“Blacks are disproportionately affected by felon disenfranchisement laws because a disproportionate number of blacks are felons. The problem is black criminality, not racist laws. White felons face the same voting restrictions, which date not to America’s post-Civil War period, as Mr. Holder suggested in his remarks, but to medieval Europe by way of ancient Greece and Rome. Indeed, many of the voter-disenfranchisement laws in this country were passed long before blacks could even vote…
The Obama administration would rather focus on white racism instead of black behavior. But before Republicans follow along, they might consider how these liberal policies impact the law-abiding members of the black community so often ignored by the left. Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers means that these thugs return to the ghetto sooner rather than later to raise hell. Similarly, re-enfranchising black felons gives people who broke the law the ability to dilute the votes of black people who followed it—the very same law-abiding blacks who in the vast majority of cases were the felons’ victims.”
Sam Reed, MA, Washington Secretary of State, stated the following in an Oct. 7, 2010 press release “Ninth Circuit Upholds Washington’s Felon Voting Ban,” available at the Washington State Office of the Attorney General website:
“We absolutely believe in civil rights and will continue to work toward equality in the criminal justice system, but at the same time, we firmly believe that it is appropriate and reasonable for society to deny voting rights to people who commit serious crimes… This has been the law in our state since 1866 and nearly every state in America has this sensible policy. There is clearly no [racially] discriminatory intent. It is about a reasonable sanction we impose based on the person’s decision to commit a crime.”
Oct. 7, 2010 – Sam Reed, MA
Edward Feser, PhD, Instructor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, stated in his Spring 2005 article “Should Felons Vote?,” published in City Journal:
“The frequently heard charge is that disenfranchising felons is racist because the felon population is disproportionately black. But the mere fact that blacks make up a lopsided percentage of the nation’s prison population doesn’t prove that racism is to blame.
Is the mostly male population of the prisons evidence of reverse sexism? Of course not: men commit the vast majority of serious crimes – a fact no one would dispute – and that’s why there are lots more of them than women behind bars.
Regrettably, blacks also commit a disproportionate number of felonies, as victim surveys show. In any case, a felon either deserves his punishment or not, whatever his race. If he does, it may also be that he deserves disenfranchisement. His race, in both cases, is irrelevant.”
Spring 2005 – Edward Feser, PhD