Questioning My Vote: Is the Black Vote Really Important? Part 2
In order to understand Part 2, you will need to read Part 1:
As we gear up for another round of the voting shuffle, I continue to my assess my life, my future, my past, and the state of the Black community in America to try and understand what the Black vote really gets Black people. So far, it’s not looking good (read the list in Part 1 linked above).
Whether I vote or not, collectively the state of Black America is not getting better. It’s getting worse. So, while I know why politicians need the Black vote (because the one with the most points (or people in this case) wins…duh), I’m not certain why Black folks so readily fall for how important their votes are.
What is the Black vote getting Black people besides a good feeling? We join progressives (or sometimes we fall under the spell of conservatives), but what does it really get us? The only people who gain from our votes are politicians and White America. This includes those who live and pass as White.
Black votes don’t translate into very much for Black people/communities.
Black Votes Don’t Keep Black Gay and Trans Family Safe
The Black LGBTQ community is one of the most unprotected minority groups in America. Our trans family members and friends have been killed, villanized, and left unprotected by our laws and our law enforcement because no elected officials really don’t give a damn about Black queer folks. If they did, legislation would be in place protecting them. The law enforcement community would also do a better job of making the Black trans community feel it was safe to report incidents of abuse, threats, rape, and murder. Votes make that happen.
I bet no one you have voted in the past few years since the uptick in transgender and lesbian killings/assaults speaks up on behalf of this segment of the Black community. Even if they do speak, they don’t feel compelled to do anything more than speak.
Queer Black people not only have to fight to protect themselves as they try to live and love freely, they are also dealing with the stressors of simply being a Black man or Woman in America. Navigating gender, sexual orientation, and race is a hell of a combination to deal with.
Black votes have not helped this population in the least. It’s as if they don’t exist.
My Black Vote Doesn’t Translate Into Better Care For Black Anything
Black kids in foster care are have no better outcomes in care than they do if they remained in the homes they were yanked from. They just age out of one system and fall into another system (the criminal justice system). The Affordable Care Act has been unfunded, making health care more un-affordable and unattainable for the Black people who needs it more than any other ethnic group in the country.
We are prevented from getting grants and loans from prejudiced lenders (or at least prevented from access to capital by racist loan officers (who tend to be overwhelmingly white) in charge of making decisions about whether or not we get loans). The banks get bailed out with our Black tax dollars while we Black folks get put out of their communities an prevented from starting business which could lead to self-sufficiency and Black wealth building. America can’t have that now can we?
Blacks are still dealing with redlining, “redistricting,” the repealing of affirmative action in schools which helped us break through glass ceilings. Now, I voted in the last election, but I didn’t vote for any of this bullshit!
Black communities are becoming ghost towns due to the lack of employment opportunities, a divestment of business and interests by local and county governments, and because of public school closures.
The fancy name for this is urban renewal (after you’ve been screwed by your elected officials of course). Urban renewal is also known as let’s run your Black asses out of your communities after we have underfunded them, devalued them, and made them cheap so that wealthy developers can come in and buy up abandoned properties left by business and residents seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families. We are going to build new, and make it look pleasing and palatable to White people and wealthy like-minded tourists who have money to spend to help fund our fledgling local, county, and state governments.
Urban renewal racist code switch for your community is old and decaying, we need to make it better to our standards. The very tenets of urban renewal are rooted in racism.
The stress of being Black is killing us, and Black folks are out here being allies with feminist and White nationalist about abortion. Black people are running around here worried about women having access to abortions, when this country has been trying to abort our entire existence since we were freed from slavery. Smh
The bottom line is that Black votes don’t translate into anything except for good feelings. We are taxed in the same way White people are, yet those tax dollars hardly ever benefit us. State and federal districts are redrawn to exclude us, so that White populations maintain power as they continue to make decisions about what happens to Black communities (or not). We keep getting jacked, and for some reason we haven’t gotten the memo.
I got it!
The Nostalgia of Voting Has Worn Off For Me
I can recall my parents telling me how important it was for me to vote when I was young. I believed in it, and I have participated in every election that I had knowledge of since I was able to vote. I felt good. I believed the hand-me-down hype. Allies had tricked us into believing our vote meant something, for us. They told us so, and so we blindly took their word for it.
I was such as ass!
As I’ve gotten older and much wiser about how America’s systems work, I have lost all faith in voting. Time and time again I’ve voted, and time and time again, my vote hasn’t counted for anything that benefited my people. It’s like watching the Superbowl or NBA Finals. You buy tickets, go to the game, get all into it.
The game is played, the winner wins, and you go home with lighter pockets, some memorabilia, and good feelings. You may even get to take some photos to post on social media to say you were there. And that’s all.
I don’t get a trophy. I don’t get the bonus pay check for going to the Super Bowl. I don’t get the invite to the parade. I won’t get to go to the White House, and I don’t get all the things that comes with winning. All I get to say is that my team won, and I feel good about it.
That’s what voting is like now for me.
Will the Black votes translate into other tangible benefits in my life or my community? Nope. White folks will still get the better schools and the best education. White folks will still get the loans and venture capital for new homes and to start businesses. Not only do they get the better jobs, they get to decide who gets a job, ensuring their group stay’s winning (along with other groups who pass as White).
They stay winning ya’ll!
Black folks stay waiting and praying. The nostalgia of voting has worn off me. So has the fear of what happens if I don’t vote.
They tell us we win when they win, but what do we actually win? Ever looked at the class photos of Congress, their interns, or your state house of representatives? Check out some photos from the national archives? There is a lack of melanin in our nation’s political environment collectively, and it always has been.
If we aren’t allowed to have a seat at the table, we will never be properly represented. After all these years of Blacks voting, we still are not legitimately represented.
My Black vote has helped White people remain in power. My Black vote has helped ensure White people are protected and unharmed, their kids get to continue to go to the finest schools, their sons and daughters get jobs my kids will never have a chance to pursue, and my vote ensures their communities thrive with my tax dollars while Black communities look like ghost towns.
I worshiped with White Evangelical Christians years ago. If I learned nothing else, I learned that politics and religion go hand in hand for many White people. Religion and politics are two powerful vehicles used to rally their troops. This key block of voters often thought big picture (i.e. future Supreme Court picks, tax bills, abortion, Federal Reserve, wars, etc.).
I have watched a many Black folks follow evangelicals year after year under the auspices of simply being Christian brother and sisters. Because Black people are not seeing the same vision, they end up voting against their own communities and Black interests collectively. Black folks have been coaxed and tricked using religion (again). Forget your plights and think of the betterment of the group they tell us, except our group never gets better.
My Black Vote Has Black Civil Rights Protections Watered Down
About those precious civil rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was created to protect persons of African descent brought to the United States. Since then, the bill has been modified to include a lot of different groups, leaving persons of African descent pretty much uncovered. White women are now covered in the Civil Rights Act. They get the same benefit or covering that was meant for Black people.
Yet White women get the privilege of not covering Black people (especially Black women) when it suits them. This includes voting their own interests.
To me, voting is acting against my own interest. I’ve tried to rationalize it, but I can’t any longer.
I’m tired of being used. I have nothing against White people personally (really), I’m just discussing my day to day realities. If you’re going to be an ally, you need to get this. If you’re going to fight with us, it’s important for you to understand how America’s systems work for us Black folks, for you, and other immigrant groups. It’s not fair, no matter how you believe it to be. I’m asking you to stop coming into Black spaces asking for our votes without giving us something tangible for the long-term. Doing anything otherwise is stealing.
The Established Stays Established
The “establishment” is so well established, it’s nearly impossible to destabilize them. They get into office and they own the positions. I’ve voted for the two lesser evils, and I never win despite being told I did. I’ve trusted White women, and they’ve let me down (just look at the pussy-grabber in chief we have now). They heard all the racist crap spewing from 45’s mouth and many White women voted their racist fears (immigrants are taking over and Blacks are getting everything for free) ideologies (religions, political party lines, racial politics) and economic insecurities (maintaining their wealth and status in America society) against us to maintain their privilege and wealth.
White women have been consistent in helping the establishment stay established.
Voting doesn’t benefit me at all, not like my advocacy does. And definitely not like my learning how to work America’s biased systems to acquire the same monies White folks do to improve their communities. Black folks can’t even give you a good rational argument about why voting is important except the ones quoted by nostalgic old heads. They will gladly tell me my people have died for my right to vote. I will tell them we’re voting and we’re still dying. These are injustices a simple vote won’t make disappear.
Black people, please stop saying your vote counts, if you don’t understand the true value of your vote. If you’re thinking your vote is limited to your candidate winning each election cycle, you really need to study this system of things.
Black votes don’t count.
Remember the ways your vote doesn’t count collectively the next time you’re asked for it.
I’d like to thank Sam McKenzie Jr. for inspiring me to speak more on issues impacting people of color.