florida's racist "alien land law" still on the books

Come on, Florida. What the hell? Yesterday, voters in Florida decided on Amendment 1, a measure on the ballot that would repeal an old clause in the state constitution barring Asian immigrants from owning land. I first mentioned this one back in August: vote out florida's racist "alien land law."

Seems like a no-brainer, right? It's an old, racist law from a bygone era. The repeal would primarily be symbolic, as equal protection laws would prevent lawmakers from actually applying the ban. It makes sense to vote for the measure, repeal the clause, and everybody moves on.

Not so fast. Looks like Florida wasn't quite ready to let go of its racist past: Amendment 1, targeting anti-Asian land law, fails. With 78 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday night, the measure didn't have enough support to pass, with 52 percent voting to preserve the clause.

Fifty-two percent of Florida's electorate wants to ban Asian immigrants from owning land. Or rather, they still want the state's constitution to include the ban. First of all, why is this is ridiculous, racist law still on the books in the first place? And why did they vote to keep it?

This article has some explanation and historical context behind the law—the "Alien Land Law" —which does indeed have its roots in xenophobia and discrimination: Amendment 1 often misinterpreted, proponents say.

Some who opposed the measure apparently believed the old law could be used to prevent foreign terrorist groups from buying real estate. Seriously? This is our ingenious strategy to fortify national security? An archaic Florida land law? You must be kidding me. But I guess we're safe now. That's racist!

UPDATE: The New York Times has another story on this stupid law: In Florida, an Initiative Intended to End Bias Is Killed. Amendment 1 was apparently defeated because voters incorrectly assumed it would prevent illegal immigrants from owning property. You freaking idiots.

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