Watch Franchesca Ramsey smack down Voter ID laws for being so damn racist
On Wednesday's episode, Ramsey broke down how these laws — which impose stringent restrictions on voters by making them present identification at the polls, a practice that disproportionately impact black and Hispanic people — have systematically discriminated against people of color. Their primary targets have been elderly, poor and black people, she explained.
"Here's the thing," Ramsey said, "the kind of fraud voter ID laws claim to prevent practically never happens. In fact, a report concluded that voter impersonation is rarer than being struck by lightning."
Ramsey also stated that, in July 2016, a federal appeals court in North Carolina struck down a state voter ID law "claiming [it] targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision."
"Voter ID laws are a classic example of structural racism," Ramsey added, "which is what makes racism different from prejudice."
The MTV host explained that prejudice constitutes an individual's dislike of a group based on stereotypes, whereas systemic racism manifests itself as structural oppression and actual power over other racial groups.
Ramsey then briefly unpacked the United States' racist past, when election officials would discriminate explicitly against black voters by lying to them and saying they were at the wrong voting centers, forcing them to go through literacy tests and recite the U.S. Constitution in order to vote.
The Civil Rights Act of 1965 made it illegal to discriminate in these ways, and voter turnout among African-Americans increased significantly as a result. But since then, more than 33 states have passed voter ID laws. It never seems to end.