Five states approve removal of racist language, symbols

Five states approve removal of racist language, symbols
Statue commerating confederate soldiers killed in battle being toppled in Durham, N.C. (Image: WNCN video screen grab)

By Jake Dima

Voters in five states approved ballot measures to remove decades-old racist language and symbols through ballot measures.

Roughly two-thirds of voters in Alabama approved a proposition to remove early 1900s-era Jim Crow language from the state’s constitution, according to the Associated Press. Similarly, Rhode Island voters allowed a provision to remove “and Providence Plantations” from the state’s official name.

Seventy-one percent of Mississippi voters approved a new flag that, unlike the previous one, does not include include a design reminiscent of a Confederate battle flag. Additionally, 81% of Utah voters and 68% of Nebraska voters struck down state penal codes that allow slavery as a punishment for certain crimes.

Rhode Island political science professor Brendan Skip Mark suggested that the sweeping changes throughout the U.S. were in part due to the events following the death of George Floyd.

“In many ways this has sparked a national conversation on race, and I think we’ve seen a lot of people who are more willing to take concrete steps to address racism than they were in the past,” Mark told the news wire.

Voters in California, however, rejected a ballot initiative to allow affirmative action policies to extend to employment, contracting and education.

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