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Day 3 not as long omnibus quorum busting post

Let’s jump right in…

Who’s paying for Texas Democrats’ trip to DC? Beto O’Rourke has already raised $400K.

Beto O’Rourke’s political action committee has raised nearly half a million dollars to support Texas Democrats’ escape to Washington, D.C., he said Tuesday night.

O’Rourke, a former El Paso congressman and possible 2022 candidate for governor, has been soliciting donations for the Democrats on Twitter since they fled to the nation’s capital on Monday. It’s the second time House Democrats have broken quorum in about six weeks to kill a controversial elections bill championed by Texas’ GOP leaders.

The PAC, Powered By People, has raised more than $430,000 so far, O’Rourke said.

“Up to them to use it for whatever keeps them in the fight for as long as it takes,” he said.

The 60 or so fugitive Democrats have repeatedly said that no taxpayer dollars are funding the expenses for their stay in Washington, which could last as long as Aug. 7, the end of the special session in Austin. Legislators have been using campaign funds and personal funds, they said.

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, said he paid for the first night of hotel rooms and meeting spaces for the group on Monday.

The effort has garnered national attention, and some celebrities have joined the fundraising push. Texas icon Willie Nelson and his wife, Annie, matched $5,000 in donations on Tuesday.

The Trib also covered this topic. Greg Abbott has been out there claiming the Dems are using taxpayer funds for this journey, which is nonsense. As I said up front, of course this is going to be a fundraising opportunity for the Dems, partly because firing up the base is a key component and partly because they’re going to need it. It’s pretty simple.

Behind the partisan drama lies a profoundly serious struggle over who gets shut out under Texas voting laws.

The dramatic exodus of Democratic Texas lawmakers to block a Republican voting bill has choked the political airways in a haze of confusion, posturing and finger-pointing.

But beneath the smoke, a fire rages.

Many Democrats, especially those who are people of color, are incensed, seeing the latest Republican voting bill as another moment of crisis in a state they believe has long marginalized people like them in the halls of power.

Many Republicans, passions stoked by unsubstantiated claims of widespread voting fraud, see their hold on political power slipping away, and are clamoring for a firewall.

The struggle over voting rights in Texas goes beyond the legislative theatrics of the moment. It is fundamentally a clash not just of elected officials, but of the two constituencies they represent. It is a fight over whose voices will be heard that began long before the Democrats shut down the Texas Legislature, and the stakes are not trivial.

The two days preceding the Democratic flight offered a microcosm of the standoff.

[…]

In the lead up to their quorum break, Democrats appeared frustrated at Republicans’ lack of consideration for the fallout voters of color could face from their proposals. Throughout the legislative debates, they’ve repeatedly pressed GOP bill authors on whether they’ve sought disparate impact studies to assess if their new voting rules would disproportionately harm voters of color. (Republicans have consistently responded they have not.)

But Democrats’ retort since fleeing the state — that their actions are an extreme but necessary effort at safeguarding their own communities from the Republicans in charge of the state — have underlined the reason behind their destination.

Conceding they don’t have the sufficient numbers to block the Texas legislation indefinitely, they have thrust their fight onto the national stage in hopes of helping increase pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation to restore sweeping protections for voters of color.

“Texas’ generations-long pattern of discrimination is not in the past; it is alive and present today in the anti-voter bills before the Texas State Legislature,” state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, said in a statement about the quorum break. “This is part of a calculated and deliberate Republican plan to chip away at the freedom to vote and to choose our leaders.”

Their remarks echoed the series of federal court rulings in recent years that found state lawmakers have repeatedly and intentionally discriminated against voters of color, often by diluting the power of their votes in selecting their representatives.

The high-stakes fight in Congress centers on a pair of federal bills, including one that could place Texas, and other states with a history of discrimination against voters of color, back under federal supervision of its election laws and redistricting.

For decades, that oversight — known as preclearance — proved to be a powerful mechanism for keeping Texas laws and political maps from going into effect until the Department of Justice or a federal court ensured they wouldn’t undermine the voting rights of people of color.

Before it was wiped out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, preclearance forestalled the adoption of the state’s 2011 redistricting maps before they were revised by the federal courts. It also kept Texas from immediately implementing its stringent voter ID law, which was eventually slightly rewritten as a result of the legal intervention over the way it targeted Hispanic and Black voters who were less likely to have the one of the IDs that were not required to cast a ballot.

Texas Democrats have been able to easily align their efforts with calls for the restoration of those protections because they would wholly benefit the voters of color that are in the majority in most of their districts. Republicans’ political base is more likely to be made up of older, white Texans, while Democrats rely on a more diverse electorate with huge vote counts coming in from the state’s urban metros.

A lot of this is going to be about attention and headlines and winning hearts and minds and news cycles, but at the core there’s a serious policy issue, and Dems are giving it the level of commitment they believe it deserves. I hope that’s one of the messages that gets through to lower-information voters.

‘We are in a state of crisis’ Texas Black faith leaders speak against voter suppression legislation.

In a press conference on Tuesday highlighting Texas Republicans latest push on voter suppression bills, Black faith leaders from across the state asked Gov. Greg Abbott for a meeting to discuss voting legislation.

In addition to the meeting, leaders also asked constituents to participate in the Push Democracy Forward and the Austin Justice Coalition Prayer and Justice March on Voter Suppression at the steps of the Austin Capitol on July 15.

According to Dixon, buses will be provided in cities across the state for constituents who want to participate in the march.

“Texas is headed toward a dangerous tipping point,” Bishop James Dixon, President of the Houston chapter of the NAACP said. “We are indeed a state and a nation in crisis.”

The Black clergy said they are hoping to provide spiritual and moral leadership in the community regarding voting rights.

“We intend to make it clear that this issue is more than political,” Dixon said. “People are being misunderstood and the truth is being misrepresented.”

Dixon also said the Black clergy will be sending an open letter to non-Black clergy colleagues to meet and stand in solidarity.

“We all read from the same Bible thus we should be able to stand together for justice,” Dixon said.

Furthermore, Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III said Austin is the new Selma.

“We’re coming to Austin to say Texas, America, you must be born again,” Haynes said. “Voter suppression and democratic subversion taking place in Texas is a result of an addiction to the big lie and it’s connectected to the terrorist sedition of Jan. 6.”

Not much you can say to that except “Amen”.

Scenarios: Where Texas Dems go from here.

Texas Democrats made national news this week when they once again denied a quorum in the state legislature, preventing the Texas House from conducting business and thus preventing the passage of an egregious voter suppression bill.

So what happens next? Democrats have some options here.

1. LOBBYING TO PASS FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION
In flying to D.C. to break quorum, Democrats are continuing their work in a different forum. Their presence expresses urgency to President Biden, Senator Schumer, and Speaker Pelosi to use their majorities to pass federal voting rights legislation.

This is bigger than just Texas, because what we’re seeing in the Lone Star State is what we also saw in state legislative chambers around the country – Donald Trump’s claim that he lost the election due to unsubstantiated voter fraud, also known as “The Big Lie,” has become the basis for voter suppression laws around the country.

Things like limiting the number of polling places in cities but not in rural areas, limiting access to vote by mail, limiting voting hours, criminalizing clerical errors on voter registration cards, allowing judges to overturn elections simply based on claims and not evidence, and empowering partisan poll watchers to interfere with balloting are some of the more egregious efforts in these bills.

Democrats must use their national leverage to protect our free and fair elections, and neither Donald Trump nor state legislatures should be allowed to stifle those elections.

Door #2 is “Keep delaying the special session”, perhaps until the Supreme Court settles the legislative funding veto; Door #3 is “Republicans can negotiate”; and Door #4 is “Democrats return, nothing changes”. We don’t want to open Door #4.

That’s all for today. Tune in tomorrow when I may do another one of these.

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27 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “….Texas Democrats’ escape to Washington, D.C…..”

    With apologies to Rupert Holmes, I give you….. Escape (the Pina Cola…..er, um, the Miller Lite Song)

    I was tired of my Congress

    We’d been together too long

    Like a worn-out recording

    Of a favorite song

    So while they stayed there voting

    I fled the chamber in dread

    And in the party playbook

    There was this letter I read

    “If you like Miller Lite beer

    And getting caught out of state

    If you’re not into voting

    If you have half a brain

    If you like making scenes at mid day

    In the seats on a bus

    Then We’re the Dems that you’ve looked for

    Fly with us and escape.”

    I didn’t think about my voters

    I know that sounds kind of mean

    But me and my legislators

    Have fallen into the same old dull routine

    So I got the bus to the airport

    And packed an big travel bag

    And though I’m nobody’s favorite

    I thought it wasn’t half bad

    “Yes I like Miller Lite beer

    And getting caught in the rain

    I’m not much into voting

    I am into lea-ving

    I’ve got to meet Kamala by tomorrow noon

    And create all this red-tape

    At a place called D.C.

    Where we’ll plan our escape.”

  2. Manny says:

    Texas-style filibuster in progress.

  3. Mainstream says:

    Aren’t the Democrat lawmakers getting about $300 per day per diem alowance for being “in session” while living up in DC? Isn’t that taxpayers paying for their DC vacation?

  4. Manny says:

    They are doing what their constituents who voted them in expect from them, filibustering the racist party agenda. They should be paid.

    One can figure out who belongs to the racist party, also known as the fascist party, formally the Republican Party.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Racism? Fascism? Have you been following what’s been happening in South Africa lately? The hard line racist Zulus and EFF are literally looting and burning down the country, carrying out a race war against not just the Whites, but the Indians, and, curiously, the black Bantus, who have somewhat aligned with the whites because they know what the EFF has planned for them.

    Read the EFF’s own website…racism with a healthy dose of communism…..just like the progressive left in America.

    https://effonline.org/about-us/

    And here’s the thing. Our EFF equivalents, the blm, ‘the Squad’, and antifa, are pushing as hard as they can for the exact same kind of race war here in the US. Look at South Africa. They’re not just looting everything, they’re burning it all down, too. They’re burning crops in the field, distribution warehouses, electric stations, neighborhoods, everything.

    That’s what the kind of vitriolic racism you spout here leads to, Manny. You don’t think our blm isn’t capable of the same kind of thing? They’ve shown they can loot and destroy at will in many parts of the country. You’re pushing for something you don’t understand, and really don’t want, Manny.

    As to this ‘voter suppression,’ yeah, prohibiting middle of the night drive through voting is EXACTLY like dogs, fire hoses, and wood shampoos. So oppressed right now. If you tried to explain how that’s oppression or suppression to anyone else in the world, they’d just look at you and wonder which mental ward you escaped from.

  6. socraticgadfly says:

    Runaway Scrape 2.0? (TM, at least ethically.) Thank me later.

    https://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2021/07/texas-house-dems-execute-runaway-scrape.html

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    I am just opposed to drive through voting because I believe that driving spurs on climate crisis, the existential threat of our time. It won’t matter who gets elected on a desert planet, will it? Unless they are over hyping the climate tragedy? If that’s the case then we need to get the Keystone pipeline back. Make Gasoline Cheap Again.

  8. Ross says:

    Bill, wtf does South Africa have to do with this? Just more of your what aboutism deflection.

  9. Jason Hochman says:

    Ross, no, South Africa is what could happen in the US, and it is Biden’s fault. Trump was hated around the world because of America first, but Biden bows down to all the countries he can find. So that all of the BLM insurrections are permitted by the US, they are also going on in other countries.

    Bill is pointing out that when you accuse everyone of racism, when you say everything is racism, you are stirring up racial animosity which only leads to destruction and violence. It can happen here, as we saw last year.

    Goodness, I even saw Spike Lee spreading the disinformation that police are out hunting down minorities like animals. He then said “King George Floyd.” This is another piece of disinformation put out by the media, that George Floyd is King Kinbote, a king from another galaxy who landed on earth in the 1500s. It only causes unhappiness, but it seems that the progressive agenda is not to work on their own unhappiness and problems, not to try to improve their lives, but instead to make everyone else miserable.

  10. Política comparada says:

    VOTING OPPORTUNITY PROMOTION: NOT FOR COLOREDS ONLY

    It’s a mistake to make this all about race. While that may be the best legal approach to vindicate voting rights in federal court under the VRA and/or the equal protection clause (though not necessarily successful), it is not the best political argument.

    Why?

    Because black voters do not have the numbers and are therefore dependent on the support of at least a portion of nonblacks; — both in the electorate and in elective bodies.  So, it is not helpful to frame the fight for easier access to the polls as a special-interest proposition for blacks/coloreds only.

    What’s in it for me? Why should I care? … asks the rational political animal.

    Additionally, in terms of winning the hearts and minds in the general population, consider that a large proportion of the moderates and middle-of-the-roaders (as revealed in polling) do not themselves vote, or only occasionally. So, if they do not value and cherish their own right to vote so much, why should they be particularly concerned if others don’t get to exercise their right to vote conveniently?

    So that leaves only the partisans, and they are primarily interested in having their own people elected. Partisanship and partisan motives will thus trump racial or ethnic affinity. Any dedicated Texas Dems dying to cast their vote for Allen West?

    THE LOGIC OF VOTE/TURNOUT SUPPRESSION

    Let’s be honest here. The restrictive election reforms pushed by the Republicans aim at suppressing (i.e., reducing ) turnout in the aggregate by making it harder for *some* folks to vote than it would otherwise be, and especially those *some* folks who would support the Dems. Republicans have an inherent interest in suppressing *all* Democratic votes, not just those of black Democrats, because doing so will help keep them in power. Indeed, it would be irrational to just suppress opposition voters of one particular race.

    The vast majority of black voters currently vote for Dems, of course, so their leanings are easy to identify based on the color of their skin. So, any measure that targets black voters/turnout/areas will likely be yield a better return on investment compared to efforts to suppress random voters across the board.

    But the restrictions the GOP is trying to ram through the Texas Legislature do not outright disfranchise anyone who currently possesses the right to vote.  Much rather, they are designed to make it harder to exercise the right to vote, and thereby affect turnout and election results at the margins. The vast majority of voters will not be kept from the polls, but *some* will be kept away because the logistical burdens or other disincentives will be higher for them (even if not for others).

    MUTUAL MINORITY-MAJORITY PHANTASIES  AND FEARS

    Both sides invoke an impending electoral scenario where minorities come to outnumber whites in the US.

    This kind of talk about the minority of “brown and black” overpowering the white minority in numerical strength may be useful as a Republican propaganda strategy (by making white voters feel beleaguered), but it is really nonsense for at least two reasons, if you reflect on it:

    First, Hispanics are not a race, but may be of any race and of mixed “blood” in innumerable combinations and permutations over generations since the conquista.

    Second, Hispanics are not monolithic culturally or politically. It’s not even clear how to define Hispanic and thereby delimit this population segment and determine its size.

    And First and Second obviously matter because without them the black segment of the population remains at about 13-14%. That’s a small minority that can achieve political success on its own only in a limited number of districts that are racially gerrymandered or de facto segregated (under plurality/majority voting systems).

    As for success in policymaking institutions, see above regarding the need of a group that’s not in the majority to garner support from outside their own group. And then, of course, there is the issue of diversity even among blacks. See

    https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2021/03/25/the-growing-diversity-of-black-america/

    A LEGITIMATE WHAT-ABOUT-ISM

    And what about the big elephants and donkeys in the room, not to mention the herds of sheep grazing in the political landscape? — Hello! — The so-called Whites are not monolithic either.

    BOTTOM LINE: It’s a mistake to make the issue of ease of access to the ballot box a black and white matter, not to mention a matter of blacks vs. whites. Voting rights are for all citizens, and the same should go for voting opportunities.

  11. Manny says:

    Republican 90% non-Hispanic white

    Republicans 6% Hispanic, most which consider themselves white, a la Ted Cruz.

    Republicans are the party of white racists, whiners.

    Democrats are truly the diverse party, 60% non-Hispanic white and then all the rest non-white.

    If we play what aboutism, like Bill and Jason, like to do, then the Racist/Republican Party is acting like Hitler’s party, so we can expect the same from them.

  12. Lobo says:

    WANTED: State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio

    Martinez = Latino/Hispanic or French/Carribbean/Cajun
    Fischer (not fisher) = German
    Trey (given name) = English or Italian

    What would you say he is, Manny, racially speaking?

    Perhaps we could urge Sr. Martinez/Herr Fischer to volunteer for some root digging under the skilled scholarly supervision of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and get the historical paper trail and ancestrial DNA into the mix.

    Ahnenpaß perhaps even. All nicely assembled into a page-turner of a scrapbook for a wide and appreciative public television viewership.

    https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/pbs-finding-your-roots-returns-october-3-at-87c

    Bottom line: Who is he? Who are we? Who are you? … And does it even matter?

  13. Manny says:

    Lobo, why not ask for DNA

    What am I, 36% Spaniard

    35% Native American

    20% Italian, 8% Jewish

  14. Lobo says:

    ALL MONGRELS OF THE WORLD UNITE

    or – less ambitiously –

    FROM ONE MUTT TO ANOTHER

    Manny, that 8% might have been a problem in Germany (Third Reich) some time ago. See reference to “Ahnenpass” above.

    Unfortunately, today we have superior scientific means to ascertain pets’ and people’s pedigrees — which is not per se a bad thing — but the problem of classifying people based on ancestry, and discriminating against them (or in their favor) on that basis, has not been solved. Nor the problem of holding prejudicial attitudes based on learned patterns of assigning others to distinct groups, thereby creating a dynamic of us vs. them.

    But even if there is a case to be made for defining human sub-groups, what percentage is meaningful? What percentage of what trumps some other percentage? And what purposes does it even serve? Why does the census ask for such information?

    To the extent we have freedom in this regard, why should we classify ourselves – or others – at all? Why do we need a racial or similar “identity” based on inherited characteristics over which we had no control?

    Also, to further highlight the problem, can there be such a thing as Italian DNA, and can you therefore be 20% Italian?

    Consider that there was no Italian state until recently, and that the Romans imported and exported DNA from all over the edges of the Mediterranean — and also interbred with their slaves and could and would free them — not to mention all the wars, migrations, and invasions that occurred over two millennia since the fall of the empire. To get a sense of the diversity see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_Italy

    So, given the mixed provenance, as illustrated by your example, perhaps it would be better to promote the concept of a shared humanity, rather than dividing us into tribes or similar identity categories, which can never do justice to much more complex reality of our individual ancestry which (with the exceptions of identical twins and human clones, if such lies ahead) is unique in its compositionality.

  15. Manny says:

    You need to read on DNA and how suggesting areas relate to DNA.

    So, all you are doing is espousing your opinion, like an anal opening; everyone is entitled to one, without doing any research.

    What people settled in the area that is now Italy? Spain? Germany?

    Just a fool and don’t even know you are one, Lobo.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    Off topic, but the AZ Senate Hearing on the Maricopa County fraud was interesting.

    Highlights:

    >74K received ballots that were NEVER sent out
    > 1000s of dups with no paper work
    > Virus Software that has not been updated since 2019! They said left open hole would take under 10 min to hack.
    > Proof of the system being hacked and HOBBS NOT REPORTING IT
    > Proof of cyber attacks to clear out security log 37K attempts all to clear the 21 meg memory
    > Still missing routers and tokens which will be Subpoena again
    > Proof Dominion controls systems which means election is invalid.
    > 18K people that voted that are off the voter rolls now.

    Praise Jesus! 74,000 ballots were received and counted that were never sent out in the first place. It’s a miracle!!!!!!

  17. Manny says:

    Good thing they will investigate the investigators of the so-called fraud by the racist party.

    Wolf, don’t overwork your brain; let me just say that about 60% of my DNA comes from the area we now called Europe. Which probably only became known as Europe about 1100 years ago.

    By name and family tree Spanish surname, I have been able to trace the to the late 1500s in what is now California and New Mexico. A lot in what is now Northern Mexico and South Texas.

    So, Wolf, am I white?

  18. Ross says:

    Bill, the so called “auditors” in Arizona are brain dead idiots with not one ounce of qualifications to audit. I wouldn’t trust them if they told me the sky is blue without separate confirmation. And, they’ve totally destroyed any ballot integrity by taking them offsite. For all we know, they threw ballots away and destroyed any evidence that doesn’t fit their preconceived ideas.. No skills, no accountability, just a waste of time and money.

    Your guy lost, the country won. Get over it. With any luck at all, we will see Trump perp walked into a Federal courthouse soon.

  19. Lobo says:

    It doesn’t matter to me, Manny, if you white, shades of brown or gray, polychromatic, checkered, or adorned with polka dots. That was kind’a the point.

    The fellow-human sort-a thing.

    If dumping on other folks in this forum gives you an emotional outlet and keeps you from going out on a rampage to shoot people that don’t look like you, I’ll credit Kuff for having done a good deed for not kicking you off this site, and having thus averted another mass murder.

    Ditto for Bill Daniels and Jason Hochman.

    And thanks you for the reminder on how futile it is to spend valuable remaining life-time here. Not that I wasn’t aware, but some of us are just unrepentant optimists, and keep up the hope … hope that more meaningful exchanges across divides will become the norm, and that the ad-hominem denigrations and serial diatribes will subside.

    So long, Manny. Get well. Auf Wiedersehen, and Good Bye.

    Better to get hammered with a stein.

  20. Manny says:

    Lobo, you need help, bye don’t let the door hit you. Be happy.

  21. Jason Hochman says:

    Yeah, I don’t particularly dump on other folks or insult anyone or accuse anyone of racism. I am not planning a rampage. I see some people who disagree with me that choose to accuse me of ridiculous things such as lying or racism. But, Thanks for your concern.

    I am a lot like Manny, I am mostly Italian and Jewish.

    I understand the frustration of it. Because I have blue eyes, the Woke people see me as a White male, the enemy, the patriarch. But when I try to apply for White Privilege the real White People know that I am not authentically a member of them, and my privilege is denied. It’s hard to find a place in the modern day Hateverse, and I understand the frustration of Manny.

  22. Manny says:

    Lobo, you start, and then you get offended, a good thing you don’t own the football.

    “WANTED: State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio

    Martinez = Latino/Hispanic or French/Carribbean/Cajun
    Fischer (not fisher) = German
    Trey (given name) = English or Italian

    What would you say he is, Manny, racially speaking?

    Perhaps we could urge Sr. Martinez/Herr Fischer to volunteer for some root digging under the skilled scholarly supervision of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and get the historical paper trail and ancestral DNA into the mix. ”

    I never thought you would be the type to go on a rampage, Jason.

    The fact is that too many studies indicate that most Republicans vote based on race and the fact that as long as Republicans speak on absolutes, like you do, Jason, why would I be different?

    I don’t see Bill as being the type to go crazy either.

  23. Bill Daniels says:

    I just want it in the record, that I don’t ad hominem attack anyone here unless they’ve done it to me first. A little good natured ribbing, maybe. Pointing out commie ideology? Sure, but that’s not personal attack.

    I’ll also point out that even though I’m generally contrarian, I’ll agree or compliment when I see something I agree with, or see a well thought out argument.

  24. Bill Daniels says:

    And now, back on the thread topic:

    Dade Phelan removes Joe Moody as Speaker Pro Tempore.

    Letter here:

    https://media.patriots.win/post/02qmOEN7.jpeg

    Nice work, Dade!

  25. Ross says:

    Trey Martinez Fischer’s birth name is Ferdinand Frank Fischer. He never changed it legally, but effectively changed it by usage under common law. His paternal grandfather was a German Jew, so he’s a mixed bag ethnically, probably 75% Hispanic and 25% German descent. That doesn’t really matter, as long as he represents his constituents.

  26. Manny says:

    Ross, Mexicans, thus Mexican-Americans are considered white by law.

    https://sociology.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/faculty/bloemraad/Fox_Bloemraad_White_by_Law_Natz_Social_Forces_2015.pdf

    People that look like me did not seek to separate themselves. That was done by the majority of people in America that did not look like me.

    Culturally and even by ancestry, there is much difference between people from Mexico and Puerto Rico or Cuba.

    People like me have more Native American DNA. People from the Caribbean have much much more DNA than African people.

    Jason, why do you choose to live in an area that is primarily white people?