The term “grandfathered” has become part of the language. It’s an easy way to describe individuals or companies who get to keep operating under an existing set of expectations when new rules are put in place.
But like so many things, the term “grandfather,” used in this way, has its roots in America’s racial history. It entered the lexicon not just because it suggests something old, but because of a specific set of 19th century laws regulating voting.
The 15th Amendment, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, was ratified by the states in 1870. If you know your history, you’ll realize that African-Americans were nevertheless kept from voting in large numbers in Southern states for nearly a century more.