Not only has President-elect Donald Trump encouraged Russian hackers, disseminated fake news, and named Stephen Bannon (an unapologetic racist and anti-Semite who ran Breitbart News — a website that spouts white supremacy, racism, and Nazi-esque rhetoric) as his White House chief strategist, he’s also praising African Americans for not turning out the vote.
On Friday night (Dec. 9) during a rally in Michigan, Trump said, “The African-American community was great to us,” reports The Washington Post. “They came through, big league. Big league. And frankly, if they had any doubt, they didn’t vote, and that was almost as good …”
What’s more disturbing than having a man who’s a racist, homophobic, Islamaphobic, liar about to become the leader of the free world? Having him also be proud to snag a win all because supposedly not enough people (Black people, according to him) showed up to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
But let’s get one thing out of the way: This Trump monster is not Black folk’s fault.
We did not build a country that relied on white supremacy. We did not foster Jim Crow laws. We did not cause the privileged to believe that equality for all means oppression for them.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Black people clinched a win for Trump.
Just peep the exit polls, and you’ll straight up see that 88 percent of Black people voted for Clinton, while 58 percent of white people voted for Trump. Fifty-eight percent. More than half.
And that’s just facts.
But white people aren’t collectively being grilled about their voting choices. They aren’t being scapegoated and blamed for Trump’s win. Think on that.
True, Black voter turnout was slightly lower this year than in the previous two election cycles (Obama won 93% of the Black vote in 2012 and 95% in 2008), but to keep things really real, some reasons for the slight dip can be found in voter suppression and intimidation efforts in key states, such as North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, and Wisconsin, just to name a few.
(But no one wants to talk about that.)
The year after Obama’s reelection, the Supreme Court effectively struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, saying that until Congress can agree on new requirements based on current data for certain states and counties, they can no longer enforce the mandate that those places have to have changes in their voting laws cleared by the federal government. The Court’s reasoning was, to paraphrase Chief Justice Roberts, that our country has changed for the better, that practices like literacy tests and poll taxes have been eradicated. “In the covered jurisdictions, ‘[v]oter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels,'” the Supreme Court’s decision states.
And even though the Court says it realizes that these changes have been because of the Voting Rights Act, the Court seems to be living under the delusion that the U.S. is a post-racial society because we’ve had a Black president, lots of Black people vote, and Southern states and towns have Black governors, mayors, and representatives.
In real life, voter suppression has cropped back up, and less than 24 hours after Trump’s win, there was a spike in hate crimes.
Just add Trump’s claim that Black people not voting won him the presidency to his ongoing list of lies. The real culprit is the undercurrent of hate that’s been brewing for decades upon decades upon decades upon decades…
How can you help fight hate and ensure our democracy lives on? Stay woke + well.