Every now and again Black stars use their star power to make a statement about the political conditions in America. We recently saw it with Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Chance the Rapper endorsing Hillary Clinton for president at mass concerts in Cleveland and Chicago. Similarly, this star-studded PSA includes folx like Cedric the Entertainer, Meagan Good, Chris Spencer, Tisha Campbell-Martin and many others who want to emphasize the importance of voting in this year’s general election, specifically where Black voters are concerned.
Chance the Rapper yet again showed out for his city by organizing and headlining a free concert in Chicago’s Grant Park to encourage people to vote. But the more impressive part came immediately after when he led hundreds of concert-goers through the streets, with the help of Black Youth Project 100 organizers, to an early voting facility. The event was dubbed as a “Parade to the Polls.”
I hate the term “privilege”. Its flatness allows it to facilitate spurious claims masquerading as the work of liberation, which is why it’s so overused in neoliberal social justice spaces. It promotes dangerous assertions lacking any sort of nuance whatsoever, like “third-party voting is the height of white privilege” or “refusing to vote for Clinton & risking a Trump presidency is a privileged choice.”
“Privilege” is often code for “something that someone with more (perceived) social capital than me does and I do not like, so will therefore disregard.” The charge is self-satisfying and cannot be argued against. At the same time, it ignores that there are many practices people with “privilege” partake in that they have not initiated, and many causes they adopt for which they are not remotely sole representatives.
This article was originally posted at Water Cooler Convos.
I am reluctantly writing this piece. Both because I am still unsure about my exact sentiments on Hillary Clinton as the preponderant answer to our nation’s lingering political issues and simultaneously dissatisfied with the notion that her candidacy has been reduced to what lies “between Donald Trump and the presidency.” But, I think its time to move beyond that.
Gwinnett County, Georgia is 53.5% minority, the most racially diverse county in the Southeast. The county’s minority population is comprised of a mixture of African Americans, Latinx and Asian-Americans. However, according to a lawsuit filed in Atlanta on Monday, August 8, no minority candidate has ever won a seat on the Gwinnett County Commission or Board of Education due to district lines and at-large voting rules that prevent minority groups from electing candidates of their choice.
According to the New York Times, counties across the nation are attempting to intimidate and prevent black voters from participating in elections. In Sparta, Georgia, the local sheriff’s deputies questioned nearly 180 individuals and demanded they prove their residence and summonsed them to appear in court. If they could not appear, they would lose their voting rights.
Last week, federal courts declared North Carolina, Kansas, and Wisconsin state voting laws to be unconstitutional and guilty of contributing to the disenfranchisement of low income and black voters.
The North Carolina law, particularly, was found to to violate racial discrimination in voting, as Republican state legislators enacted the laws specifically after receiving data on African American voting patterns.
As 2016 rolls on, the upcoming presidential election is shaping up to be a showdown between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and bigoted billionaire Donald Trump. For left-leaning voters who don’t find the prospect of another Clinton presidency appealing, or who are disillusioned by the entire two-party system itself, skipping the polls on November 8th appears to be a better alternative.
WORKERS WORLD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE’S LETTER TO REP. JOHN LEWIS:
“Standing on the Wrong Side of History”
Dear Brother John Lewis,
I am a Black woman, who, like you, was born in Alabama at the dawn of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement. My parents supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I, like millions of others, suffered through the indignities of Jim Crow, including watching, as an adolescent, my mother being “escorted” out of a white-only public bathroom by the police.
So I understand firsthand and respect your bravery and your contribution to the Black freedom struggle.
A new study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 50 Years of the Voting Rights Act: The State of Race in Politics, looks at the impact of race in voting since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
From the Joint Center:
- The black/white racial gap in voter turnout has decreased dramatically in presidential elections since 1965.
- Local election turnout is generally less than half of presidential general election turnout. As overall turnout declines in local elections, the electorate may become less diverse.
- Turnout rates among both Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans in presidential elections remain 15 to 20 points below white Americans.
- Since 1960, the party identification and partisan voting patterns of blacks and whites have become sharply divided.
- In urban local elections, race is a more decisive factor than income, education, political ideology, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, and political ideology.
- Based on available data from 1972 to 2010, blacks were the least advantaged group in America in terms of policy outcomes.
- Since 1965, the number of elected officials of color has grown enormously, but people of color remain underrepresented in elected office.
Read the study in its entirety here.
Photo: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies