An excellent post by Carpetbagger and the Master Economist Paul Krugman spells out an ugly truth that dare not be spoken among my Republican friends, the Southern Strategy.
When the modern GOP was formed almost 50 years ago from the remnants of the old Dixiecrat party, it was perfectly cool to support segregation by law.
The modern GOP has not abandoned this idea, but society moved on, and naked racism is simply not acceptable. The solution for the GOP was a stealth campaign to disguise the party’s actual intent.
Instead of a poll tax to keep African Americans from voting, you now have a voter ID law. Since you can no longer lock up large segments of the minority population for the crime of looking at white women, you switch to racist drug laws (even though the majority of illegal drugs are used by whites).
And while it would be great if you could simply prevent minorities from getting an education, DE Facto segregation works just as good as De Jure (see recent Supreme Court decision : Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1) .