POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Rep. Owens: Comparing Georgia voting laws to Jim Crow is ‘outrageous’

Apr 21, 2021, 8:36 AM
Burgess owens is pictured speaking...
FILE -- Republican congressman Burgess Owens is pictured. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Republican congressman Burgess Owens said comparing a new Georgia voting law to Jim Crow is an insult. 

Owens says Georgia law is nothing like Jim Crow

After growing up under Jim Crow laws in the South, Owens said there’s no comparison to poll taxes or literacy tests and what’s happening today.

Testifying yesterday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, titled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” he said it’s actually racist for people to assume that members of the black community can’t meet the requirements laid out in a provision of the Georgia voting law.

“What I find extremely offensive is the narrative from ‘the left’ that Black people are not smart enough, not educated enough, not desirous enough of education to do what every other culture and race does in this country: get an ID,” he said. “True racism is this: It’s the projection of the Democratic Party on my proud race. It’s called the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Disagreeing with President Biden

He later went on to call out President Biden for referring to the Georgia law as “Jim Crow on steroids.”

“With all due respect, Mr. President, you know better,” said Owens. “It’s disgusting and offensive to compare the actual voter suppression and violence of that era that we grew up in with a state law that only asks that people show their ID.”

Growing up in Tallahassee, Florida, Owens said service stations had separate “filthy” restrooms for Black people in the back. In the seventh grade, he said his school received used books from the all-white school across town.

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Rep. Owens: Comparing Georgia voting laws to Jim Crow is ‘outrageous’