FACT CHECK: Potential Biden VP Falsely Claims Constitution is Racist
It's a Rep. Karen Bass kind of day.
After Bass denied that she was a Communist, despite participating in a pro-Cuban group, and denied that she was a Nation of Islam member, despite participating in its events, and then there was the scientology thing, she decided to accuse the census of racism.
Alongside Governor Stacey Abrams, Bass penned a false Washington Post op-ed, which the Bezos paper chose to run without any correction, despite being aware that it is false, accusing the census of racism. While the false accusations of racism are largely directed at President Trump, Abrams and Bass start by showing off their complete ignorance of history.
"Trump is resurrecting the census’s horrific history," the op-ed is headlined.
What racist history is that?
For nearly a century, for every five black Americans, only three were included in the count — the despicable Three-Fifths Compromise built on the assumption that each Black person was subhuman, three-fifths of one. After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment eliminated this practice and, now, the Constitution guarantees an enumeration of “whole” persons.
Bass and Abrams are seemingly unaware that it was the South that wanted to fully count slaves and the North that opposed it.
The Three-Fifths compromise was not based on considering black people subhuman. The compromise was proposed by James Wilson, a future Supreme Court justice, and a delegate from Pennsylvania.
Wilson laid out his position on slavery in his remarks.
"Under the present Confederation, the states may admit the importation of slaves as long as they please; but by this article, after the year 1808, the Congress will have power to prohibit such importation, notwithstanding the disposition of any state to the contrary. I consider this as laying the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country; and though the period is more distant than I could wish, yet it will produce the same kind, gradual change, which was pursued in Pennsylvania. It is with much satisfaction I view this power in the general government, whereby they may lay an interdiction on this reproachful trade."
"I am sorry that it could be extended no farther; but so far as it operates, it presents us with the pleasing prospect that the rights of mankind will be acknowledged and established throughout the Union. If there was no other lovely feature in the Constitution but this one, it would diffuse a beauty over its whole countenance. Yet the lapse of a few years, and Congress will have power to exterminate slavery from within our borders."
Since Rep. Karen Bass couldn't likely follow these fairly simple remarks, here's a dumbed down explanation.
The Southern states wanted to count the entire slave population. This would increase their number of members of Congress. The Northern delegates and others opposed to slavery wanted to count only free persons, including free blacks in the North and South.
Using the logic of the promoters of the “three-fifths of a person” interpretation, think of the constitutional ramification had the position of the Northern states and abolitionists prevailed. The three-fifths clause would have been omitted and possibly replaced with wording that stated “other Persons” would not be counted for apportionment. The Constitution, then, would be proclaiming slaves were not human at all (zero-fifths). This is an illogical conclusion and was certainly not the position of Northern delegates and abolitionists.
Counting the whole number of slaves benefited the Southern states and reinforced the institution of slavery. Minimizing the percentage of the slave population counted for apportionment reduced the political power of slaveholding states.
Of course the Washington Post and the rest of media won't acknowledge or address this false claims by Bass and Abrams, even as it repeatedly claims that President Trump had lied over three million times since last Tuesday.