Black voters: Don’t depend on the Democrats

The Democratic Party historically ignores Black people through ineffective, anti-Black policies.

NICOLE HWANG / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Please do not assume that, as a Black woman, I am a Democrat. 

Yes, I do like to discuss racial issues and disparities Black people face in America. Yes, I do discuss how the Democratic party can win the presidency in 2020 if the candidates would just shut their mouths about President Donald Trump — I have written about this before for The Temple News. 

Despite this, I identify as an Independent because I don’t believe the Democratic party is for Black people. 

Democrats do not value Black voters, as its historically anti-Black policies have shown. 

The Democratic presidential candidates are the same ones that furthered the system of inequality for Black people.

Joe Biden signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which established mandatory minimum sentences, increased funding for prisons and expanded some death penalty provisions, according to BBC. This led to a disproportionate amount of Black men incarcerated, Vox reported. 

Kamala Harris, as California’s attorney general from 2011-17, fought to release fewer prisoners, despite overcrowding in state facilities, Vox reported. This disproportionately affected Black people because they are incarcerated at five times the rate of white people, according to the NAACP.

This issue isn’t new. Democratic-led legislation has historically disregarded Black Americans. 

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was the pioneer of social security, but to get Republicans on board, he excluded agriculture workers from the program. At that time, Black people made up a large number of agricultural workers, according to the Social Security Administration.

With the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, FDR created redlining. Banks did not have to give mortgages to Black people, even though they could afford it at the time, NPR reported. 

It’s important to recognize that Democrats have historically ignored the well-being of Black Americans.

“If Black people do not know how their history was constructed, then they will not know how to tear it down,” said Sonja Peterson-Lewis, an associate professor of Africology and African American studies.

We should not aim to hold candidates accountable by asking what they can do for Black people, but rather asking how they will solve real issues that disproportionately affect Black people. For example, homes in Black neighborhoods are devalued by 23 percent nationwide as the result of historically racist housing policies like redlining, the Brookings Institution reported in July.

By addressing this issue, and plenty of others directly affecting us, Black people may be able to afford a nice home, setting them up for a sustainable life — not for prison. If they choose to ignore us, then we should not vote for them.

But in Pennsylvania, Black people can only choose between overt discrimination from Republicans or negligent policy-making from supposedly liberal Democrats because of state voting law that doesn’t allow registered Independents to vote in primary elections. So, we are going to vote for the party that acknowledges our existence, which tends to be the Democrats.

“Black people do not benefit from the Democratic party,” said Timothy Welbeck, an instructor of Africology and African American studies and a civil rights attorney. “The Democratic party has been notorious for championing the issues Black people face and then disappearing after the election cycle.”

Brent Murphy, a senior political science major and political action chair of the Black Student Union, is a registered Democrat, but not because he believes in the party’s dedication to Black voters.

“I do agree that for a long time, the Democratic Party has been extremely exploitative of Black voters,” Murphy said. “As African American voters, we fall into what they call political capture in that in the two-party system, Republicans don’t need the Black vote because as far as their party base goes, they’re white men.” 

“And then the Democratic Party, knowing that, already assumes that they automatically have the Black vote, so they don’t necessarily have to cater to issues that affect the African American community, which kinda leaves us sorted to one party that doesn’t really have our best interests at heart,” he added.

We need a candidate that actually practices what they preach, and we need to vote for them. Frankly, the Democrats aren’t doing this.

The answer isn’t simple. We could either vote for a third party, who isn’t recognized in the primaries, or demand more from the Democrats.

Don’t let your vote be dictated by party alliance, especially one that doesn’t care about the interests of Black people.

The 2020 presidential election could be the most important one of our lives. Don’t vote for someone just because they’re a Democrat, but critically analyze their policies and the impact they could have on Black people everywhere.

2 Comments

  1. Truth is the republicans do acknowledge and do things for blacks. For so long Democrat’s have labeled and placed people in a box. Blacks there, women there, disabled people over there etc…But republicans are about less government and giving people the ability to control their own lives and work hard to make a living. Whereas Democrats teach blacks that they are victims and entitled. But Republicans run for the American people. If you are born in the U.S. no matter your skin color you are American. People expect to hear the word black…black…black and when something like,”I’ll bring jobs to the American people.” It gets overlooked because I think a lot of blacks don’t realize they are American because they have been treated otherwise by the Democratic Party. Like they been conditioned to hear one word kinda like google or Alexa that listens for Hey google or hey Alexa then it responds. So it’s like they listen for a Democrat to say Hey blacks…Democrats are the party of division and labels. We have gay republicans, we have Asian republicans, black republicans, women republicans but we make up one party whereas Democrats are one party with many sub-parties.

    But that’s just me. I’m tired of the labels. I don’t fill out the dumb race/identity questionnaires. Why do anyone need to know my race or sex or identity? Either hire me or don’t. As a white republican I don’t even think about race. The only time race comes on my mind is when a Democrat brings it up. So don’t vote Democrat because you’re black. Heck you don’t even have to be Republican and you can be independent like Nicole here. Also amazing article by the way. Very well laid out.

  2. Very insightful article! Hope this message diffuses more throughout the nation.. keep up the great work!!

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