Because people worked so hard to obtain the black vote for themselves and others, those who now possess it, should make those who seek it, be equally laborious in their pursuit.
Among the many conversations regarding the presidential election last week was whether Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who advocated strongly for her husband’s 1994 crime bill that resulted in mass incarceration, deserves the black vote. The conversation was sparked by an article—“Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote”—in The Nation penned by Ms. Michele Alexander, who authored the book ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.’ The lengthy post went viral and pundits chimed in on it, myself included.
A lot was said on the subject, including that Mr. Bernie Sanders, Mrs. Clinton’s stiff competition in the Party, voted for that crime bill. But what wasn’t asserted, until an Atlanta entrepreneur and I both spoke to it last night during a live broadcast of The Dr. Vibe Show, is that the black vote is deserved by no one, but rather earned by its recipient(s) through rigor.
Society—from pundits to laymen—often describe the black vote as if it’s an award to win, rather than a hard-fought achievement that should be leveraged with discretion and purpose. And what’s worse is that African-Americans, those in particular who on Election Day stay home, take the black vote, which is a little over 50 years old, for granted. The black vote, though it’s not always treated as such, is among America’s priceless treasures; it’s proof that with steadfastness, faith, and a clear demand, even the most marginalized of Americans can achieve a level of equity in the political process. Given the legacy of the black vote, and the lives sacrificed to obtain it, we as African-Americans should treasure the treasure, and not share it so haphazardly.
With so many issues unique to, and long-standing in, the African-American community, the presidential candidate who this year earns the black vote should be the one who succinctly articulates political prescriptions to our social ills, not the one who visits the most black churches, kisses the most black babies, receives the most endorsements from black politicians, appears on the most black media outlets, or utters, more frequently than anyone else on the campaign trail, the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” There must be greater standards applied to the relinquishing of the black vote, the measurements can’t simply be popularity, name recognition, and ubiquity.
The use of the term “Firewall” by the pundits to describe Mrs. Clinton’s hefty support among blacks is, in my opinion, not only somewhat belittling of those voters, it’s also a clear example of how the black vote is viewed by the media and politicians as a thing that can be taken for granted, rather than a force that’s always evolving and shifting in ideologies, values, and loyalties. Because people worked so hard to obtain the black vote for themselves and others, those who now possess it, should make those who seek it, be equally laborious in their pursuit. The black vote is a treasure, and as is usually the case with treasures, one must exert significant effort to acquire it.
CLICK HERE to listen to ‘Why the Black Vote Matters,’ a podcast from The Dr. Vibe Show featuring a panel of black male thought-leaders, including the co-founder of the ‘Vote or Die’ movement.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™