Black People, This Election Proves We Are On Our Own

November 7, 2018  |  

election

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 05: Supporters await the arrival of Republican candidate for Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis as they attend a rally at Freedom Pharmacy on the final day of campaigning in the midterm elections on November 5, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. DeSantis is running against Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum to be the next Florida governor. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

It’s currently 10:38pm here in Houston, TX. My son should be in bed by now, I should be wasting away scrolling through my Instagram feed, but neither of us is following our regular routine this evening. No, this night has taken on a much more somber tone. About 34 minutes ago, I watched Andrew Gillum, one of the strongest candidates Florida Democrats have had on their ticket in years, concede to a man knowingly supported by white supremacists. An hour before that, I watched as Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke did the same, congratulating Republican Ted Cruz on his win. And with exit polls spelling out an unfortunate reality in this country by highlighting the fact that Black voters were the only racial demographic to vote overwhelmingly against blatantly racist candidates, it’s tough to cloak myself in blind optimism and expect a better America for my son. My Black, autistic son that is. I’ve never been totally oblivious to the realities of these United States. Growing up in a socially conscious household resulted in a radical tinge thats only intensified in my adulthood, one that’s become far more acceptable given the “woke” craze. But more recently, I’ve come to accept that I cannot save this country. Not alone, not with my community in tow, and likely not ever. Not because I’m unwilling to put in the work or to sacrifice,  but moreso because we lack the support. As we all sit stunned at the results of these mid-term elections, seeing other races vote overwhelmingly in support of candidates who’ve openly expressed their devotion to a racist imbecile, it might be time to accept the fact that we are completely in this fight alone.

Reluctantly I glanced at the voter breakdowns by race first and then by gender, first for Texas, then for Florida. I wanted to be disappointed in my community, I wanted to chastise Black non-voters and scream at the top of my lungs at all the ultra-woke individuals who couldn’t be bothered to get up and make their votes count. But then I thought about the Black voters that lined the streets waiting for hours to enter voting polls that were full of non-working machines, I thought about those of us who stood in the rain waiting to vote on machines that hadn’t been updated in years, I thought about those of us whose votes were mysteriously changed due to “humidity” causing machines to malfunction. I thought about Black voters whose assigned polls were inaccessible, locked behind closed doors on foreclosed buildings in states where votes can only be cast at designated locations. I thought about the Black voters who showed up to polls only to find machines without power cords. I thought about Black voters who cast provisional ballots because their names had mysteriously disappeared from the voter lists. I thought about the bus loads of elderly Black voters who were forced to abandon their trip halfway due to corrupt police targeting voting efforts in their communities. I thought about all the strategically placed obstacles set up by racists to deter and discount black votes during this election and decided today wasn’t the day to go in on my community. Today wasn’t the day to charge up the 18% of Black men who voted for Cruz or the 18% of Black women who voted for DeSantis. Today wasn’t the day to point fingers at Green Party voters who under other circumstances would be encouraged to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice, not guilted for it. I decided that for once, I wouldn’t blame my community for trying to solve a problem they didn’t create. I accepted that chastising my community wouldn’t change the fact that we couldn’t defeat white supremacy without the help of white people. Unfortunately for us, they’d proven time and time again that they had no interest in doing so. 

The exit polls were a reminder that the unity everyone had been ranting about since our most recent presidential election was a joke, nothing more than a talking point. It wasn’t actually unity the country wanted. If it were, Black people wouldn’t have been the only ones voting for it. With the Latino vote being split in each state’s Senate race, it served as a somber reminder that we cared more about the wellbeing of the other minority communities than they seemed to care about themselves. The Asian communities, the Arab communities, they too split their votes down the middle. Only further exemplifying that these minority communities, the same ones who demand our solidarity anytime an issue arises reminding them of their non-white status in this country, just as quickly chose self-preservation when expected to do the same. With Black people making up only 12% of the population in Texas and 14% of the population in Florida, I thought to myself how the hell were we expected to pull this off alone? Who designated us as the change agents in this country? A country that’s still dragging its feet to recognize our humanity as a whole. It was unrealistic to begin with. And furthermore, it allowed other communities to enter the polls guilt free, with only their nuclear needs on their minds. All while we entered carrying the weight and burden of an entire nation. I shouldn’t be surprised, but every election I sit stunned at the many communities who would demand black bodies at their rallies and call for black voices at their protests just so they can climb on our backs and prop up their own interests when it comes time to return the favor. This was the election for white women to make their voices heard against an administration that seeks to treat women like mindless breeders. This was the election for Hispanic men and women to make their voices heard against an administration that seeks to evict them from lands historically their own. This was the election for everyone to return the unity they’ve had on loan for the past 400 years and once again, we see that was asking too much. If we didn’t know we were on our own before now, this election certainly left no doubt. 

Today, Black people in America will step outside and be forced to look into the faces of the White, Latino, Asian and Arab men and women who hung them out to dry. Forced to maintain jovial composures while interfacing with people who have proven repeatedly that the needs of the Black community are less important than their personal proximity to whiteness. We’re constantly expected to explain our oppression with a gentle tongue as not to offend potential allies, we’re expected to take the imaginary high road, we’re expected to rally for any and every injustice because that’s what we’re good for, we’re expected to turn cheek after cheek and we willingly do all of these things with the hope that someone, anyone will empathize with our torment and stand with us to alleviate the load. Not by laying down their lives or acting as human shields, but simply by casting a vote that doesn’t result in our persecution and we couldn’t even get that. I won’t exert my energy in support of communities full of people I cannot trust. I’m done praising conditional and convenient ally-ship, in fact I don’t even want it. I won’t condemn the efforts of my community to use political processes to affect change nor will I praise people for behaving like humans at a time where humanness is at an all time low. I’m not a prop or a stepping stool and I could care less how well-meaning people outside of my community pretend to be. If their ally-ship only serves to boost their moral egos, then their ally-ship isn’t ally-ship at all. Black people didn’t let me down this election, it’s everyone else who did. The people who disappointed me are the ones who pretended to be flabbergasted every time Trump tweeted something outlandishly ignorant yet snuck behind a curtain to co-sign his understudies. It’s you people who will pretend to be just as shocked at the outcome of these elections, only to turn around in 2 years and back ignorance again. You do not deserve our solidarity, you don’t deserve our resilience and you can never smother our excellence. If I learned nothing else today, I learned that we are still very much in this alone, as history has proven we have always been. But to our non-Black minority brothers and sisters and so-called our white “allies” I say from here on out, so are you. 

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