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‘We are not in Jim Crow’: Burgess Owens blasts comparison to Georgia election law

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At a Tuesday hearing on voting rights titled “Senate Judiciary Hearing – Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote,” Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) slammed the notion that Georgia’s new controversial election law was similar to Jim Crow.

“As someone who’s actually experienced Jim Crow laws,” Owens said, testifying before the committee, “I’d like to set the record straight on the myth regarding the recently passed Georgia state law and why any comparison between this law and Jim Crow is absolutely outrageous.”

Talking about his experiences with Jim Crow, Owens explained that when he was only 12 years old, his father let him participate in protests with college students against segregation at the Florida State Theatre.

“I was the youngest participant there,” Owens said. “Only 50 years later did I learn that my father parked across the street to watch and make sure I was safe.”

The Utah Republican also brought up the segregation in schools, bathrooms, and gas stations, adding: “Jim Crow laws like poll tax, property tests, literacy tests, and bias and intimidation at the polls made it nearly impossible for Black Americans to vote.”

“The section of the Georgia law that has brought so much outrage from the left, it simply requires any person applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence of a government-issued ID on the application,” he said next.

“If a voter does not have a driver’s license or ID card, that voter can use a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or any other government document that shows a name and address of this voter,” Owens continued. “If a voter somehow cannot produce one of these forms of ID, that voter can still vote and cast a vote, a provisional ballot. By the way, 97% of Georgia voters already have a government-issued ID.”

“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,” the congressman 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 expectation.”

He also criticized President Joe Biden for calling Georgia’s new election law “Jim Crow on steroids.”

RELATED: Biden: Georgia needs to ‘smarten up’ to avoid losing business

“With all due respect, Mr. President, you know better. 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,” Owens said. “This is the type of fearmongering I expect in the 1960s, not today.”

“To call this Jim Crow 2021 is an insult, my friends,” he later said. “For those who never lived Jim Crow, we are not in Jim Crow.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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