Professors push for understanding of Constitution


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Ethnic Studies professor Fritz Pointer speaks to students during the W.E.B DuBois Lecture Series in HS-101 on Sept. 17.

By Robert Clinton, Staff Writer

“This (lecture) is not to say that we should abandon electoral politics,” Ethnic Studies professor Fritz Pointer said to a crowded room of students. “It is to say, however, that we must better understand and redefine the terms that we’ve taught the people who participate within this hypocritical criminal system.”

Pointer and Social Sciences professors Majeedah Rahman and Karl Grant each spoke during the W.E.B DuBois Lecture Series in HS-101 on Sept. 17.

Sociology Department Chairperson Vern J. Cromartie moderated the panel on the Constitution and the 2014 Supreme Court decision to roll back the voting rights act.

Grant got to the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision when he said it intends to remove the safeguards established for states with a history of voting misconduct. He said, “Anything below the Canadian border is the south.”

The decision requires each individual state to gain clearance before changing (any) voting law. Grant also spoke about the (new) consequences of not voting.

He said the elected officials in charge implementing programs that are known to monitor you through your phone, or watch you through your laptop camera were put into office because of a lack of a young student votes.“(Supreme Court’s decision) gives the states with the worst records a clean slate.” Grant said.

Grant ended the lecture when he asked the students, “What would 50 more years of not voting look like? What kind of potential oppression could be levied upon you?”

There was only enough room to stand in the packed lecture hall. Students listened to the trio of professors explain the finer points of systematic oppression, as well as expose the avenues to egress it uses to escape generational constraints from history to the present day.

The student audience actually seemed receptive to the information being presented to them. Conversations could be heard about what individuals could personally do to help keep their rights from becoming a total loss. It was clear that the message was resonating with the statistically low voting audience.

Fritz addressed the audience with quick overview of the topical Constitutional amendments and the injustices that made them a necessity.

He then adeptly related the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney who, in 1857, ruled against a slave (Dred Scott) suing his master for freedom in a free state, with the current chief John Roberts.

Fritz said Roberts recently set fire to a safety net that protected minority voters in the most historically problematic sections of the country. His colorful choice of words eased the severity of his message of imperialism.

Contra Costa College student Atrix Thomas III was among the audience. He said, “It’s important to fight to keep our right to vote as the minority.”

Fritz said, “It’s kind of like spice. I want to surprise and excite (students) and get them to pay attention.”

When Rahman stood behind the podium, she retraced the footsteps the trailblazing women took by interweaving examples of historically gender based suppression, and the partnerships that collated through the quest for a common goal.

She managed to bond with the young women in the crowd when she said many women still feel the restraints of a gender based political system. She carefully dissected the patriarchal oppression within the United States political system when she spoke; as if it were placed under a microscope.