An Urgent Message For My African-American Friends!

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Police: ‘Vote Trump’ vandalism, fire at Mississippi church a hate crime

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“Police are treating the burning of a black church in Mississippi — during which vandals spray-painted “Vote Trump” on an exterior wall — as a hate crime, saying it amounts to an act of voter intimidation.” – CNN, 2:20 PM ET, Wed November 2, 2016

The word, based on early voting, is that African-Americans are not coming out to vote in large numbers.  Now, I realize it is early days yet, with six days remaining until election day, and early voting may not be representative, but I still feel a need to address this topic.  The percent of African-Americans voting, based on early election statistics, is down some 16% from 2012.  There are two major reasons for this:

  • The turnout rates for African-American voters reached historic levels in 2008, and even more so in 2012, with Barack Obama on the ticket. There is noticeably less excitement this year, as there is no African-American candidate.
  • There are newly-enacted impediments to voting this year, such as curtailed voting hours in predominantly African-American neighborhoods and new voter I.D. laws in some states.

In an effort to re-ignite the enthusiasm of African-American voters, President Obama had this to say:

“If we let this thing slip and I’ve got a situation where my last two months in office are preparing for a transition to Donald Trump, whose staff people have said that their primary agenda is to have him in the first couple of weeks sitting in the Oval Office and reverse every single thing that we’ve done. And I know that there are a lot of people in barbershops and beauty salons, you know, in the neighborhoods who are saying to themselves, ‘We love Barack, we love — we especially love Michelle, and so, you know, it was exciting and now we’re not as excited as much.’ You know what? I need everybody to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things I believe in.”

Not only is President Obama’s legacy at stake, but so is much, if not all, of the progress that has been made in the area of Civil Rights over the past 60 years.  This election is too important to all minority groups to allow apathy to sway voters.  It is not only Trump’s rhetoric that is racist, but he has a history of racism:

  • After more than a decade of Trump Management refusing to rent property to blacks, in 1973 the Justice Department sued Trump Management for discriminating against blacks. Both Fred Trump, the company’s chairman, and Donald Trump, its president, were named as defendants. Trump responded with angry denials, character assassination, charges that the government was trying to force him to rent to “welfare recipients” and a $100 million countersuit accusing the Justice Department of defamation. Trump’s countersuit was dismissed by a judge who called it a “waste of paper.”
  • In 1989, Trump told Bryant Gumbel in an interview, “A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market…if I was starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really do believe they have the actual advantage today.“ As we all know, that was not the case then, nor is it now the case.
  • In 1991, John O’Donnell, who had been president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump as saying, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else…Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that’s guy’s lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks.” Trump never denied the quote, and even said it was “probably true” when asked about it several years later, though he has since denied it.

Trump’s congenital racism is not merely a thing of the past, but as his rhetoric shows, is yet alive and well.  At a rally in August, he said, “What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump? What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”  Most African-Americans were outraged, as was I.  Representative John Lewis, a historic Civil Rights leader, replied, “I don’t know what Mr. Trump is talking about to say that the situation for African-Americans is worse than it’s ever been. Is he talking about worse than slavery? Worse than the system of segregation and racial discrimination — when we couldn’t take a seat at the lunch counter and be served? Worse than being denied the right to register to vote, to participate in the democratic process and live in certain neighborhoods and communities?” A retired African-American postal employee who happened to hear Mr. Trump asked, “Who’s he talking about? I don’t know — most of the black people I know are educated and live in nice neighborhoods. Everybody in my family is required to have a degree.”

The next month Trump was proposing a vast expansion of “stop-and-frisk” policing policies that have proven to be explosively controversial in black communities for encouraging racial profiling. When asked to comment on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement earlier this year, Trump had this to say: “Certainly, in certain instances they are a fuse-lighter in the assassinations of these police officers. They certainly have ignited people and you see that … It’s a very, very serious situation and we just can’t let it happen.” Trump also called the group a “threat” and accused the group of “essentially calling death to the police.” When asked if Trump would order an investigation into BLM, he responded, “We are going to have to, perhaps, talk to the attorney general about it or do something. At a minimum, we’re going to have to be watching because that’s really bad stuff and it’s happened more than once.”

Sadly, racism in the U.S. never ended, but vast improvements have been made, thanks to men like Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Abernathy, the afore-mentioned John Lewis, and many, many more.  While I admit that racism is still alive and well, I also foresee that a Trump presidency would almost certainly lead to a resurgence of blatant racism with few, if any, consequences for the perpetrators.  Today, however, we stand at a crossroads where one single day, November 8th, can make the difference between marching forward in the fight for equality, or sliding backward by a half-century.  Look again at the picture at the top of this post.  I do NOT want to see more and more of this, but I believe that if Trump had the power, we would.  Already he has promoted violence and hatred, has told his followers that it is okay to hate people based on the colour of their skin, their religion, or their ethnicity, and his followers are taking his words to heart, as witnessed in the picture, in the shootings of unarmed African-Americans this year, in the racial comments we see on social media and elsewhere.  Each and every one of us has a single vote, a part of the key to stopping this man and helping our nation move forward to greater equality.  We must all do our part, and I am calling on every single African-American friend to get out there and vote!  You can make a difference … you MUST!

Here are a couple of interesting articles that provide interesting food for thought on the importance of the African-American vote:

The Black Vote: History Demands a Strategy for Change – Time Magazine, 24 September 2016

Five reasons why African Americans should vote this yearDaily Planet, 26 September 2014  (Note that although this article is 2 years old, it is as relevant today as it was 2 years ago)

 

21 thoughts on “An Urgent Message For My African-American Friends!

      • I’m not a fan of fear mongering to get votes. This post is addressed specifically to African-Americans, telling us everything wrong about Trump, but omitting the heinous past of Hillary. You are asking us to forget a lot of messed up stuff the Clinton’s were behind. Then I see under one comment you put, people died so we can vote. That’s not accurate, black people died for the RIGHT to vote. Blacks have historically been played by politicians, only to help them get in office and never to return back to their neighborhood. If they do return to a black community, it is usually in a church where they speak to us as inferiors, telling us about what we are doing wrong, instead of what they can do for us. This criticism goes for our current president as well. Bottom line: I’m not afraid of Trump or Clinton as president.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Jill and friends,

    Your words are so needed right now.So many have sacrificed, fought hard and have died so that today, the American peoples can have their right to vote, safe guarded.

    Right now, these safe guards are being challenged in many parts of the country because DT has been calling for his followers to monitor the voting booths, when the republican party is bound by a court order against organizing any of these types of activities.

    Then there is North Carolina where partisans have been arbitrarily deleting qualified registered voters from their rolls within 90 days before an election which is against the law. Yes, there have been lawsuits filed to correct for this.

    So, Dear Readers, Get in the game by fighting back with your vote.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, Eddie … I am not a politician, so I do not make promises unless I am 99% certain I can keep them. And this would not be my promise to make, but Ms. Clinton’s. But … I will tell you that I sincerely believe we will all suffer under a Trump presidency — especially African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and certainly Middle-Easterners. And I do NOT want to see more Freddie Grays, Trayvon Martins. I do NOT want to see more racial profiling. Already this election year, people who I never thought were bigots have shown their true colours, friends have made comments that I never ever would have dreamed they would say. I truly believe that Trump would set this country back 50 years if he had the chance. I do not want that. So no, I can’t guarantee anything, but I think Hillary is the better person and has the right values.

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  2. People need to vote. We are doing pretty well with the fourth longest economic growth period in our country, but not everyone feels that. Republicans claim that we should be doing better, yet a GOP led Congress has blocked the President from doing more things than he was able to early on under a Democrat led Congress with the stimulus, saving the auto industry, FICA tax temporary cut, COBRA premium supplements, ACA, etc.

    What has been denied is investing more in our infrastructure and downtrodden neighborhoods. Economic capital matched with social capital in key places where investment is needed. Infrastructure and ABCD (asset based community development) also creates jobs. With low interest rates, the ideal time has been present for over five years and the Chamber and Labor leadership were begging for investment. The GOP leaders denied it, until some funding, but not near enough came through last fall.

    The other reason non-white groups need to vote is Trump’s hateful rhetoric has allowed some of our 1,000 domestic white supremacist groups to come out into the open. It is more OK under Trump to express their hatred. No it is not, so we must vote.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I probably should have mentioned the white supremacist groups supporting Trump in my post, but just didn’t think about it. Am working on one now about David Duke, though, so I will definitely include it in that one.

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      • There was a great segment on the Diane Rehm show today on this topic. The guests were quite knowledgeable. In response to a caller from Durham, NC, where we had our voter suppressive voter ID law ruled unconstitutional this spring, he noted it was not well advertised you did not need an ID. Unless, you paid attention, you would not know. They guests spoke of the GOP and Trump using 1950s tactics to suppress Black votes, while the Dems are reaching out. They also noted the blocking in Congress of efforts by Obama, so it is unfair to blame him alone for not doing even more. Good discussion.

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        • I understand Eddie’s points, but I do fear a Trump presidency. Clinton is far from perfect, but will keep us between the white lines. My fears are multiple, but my greatest fear is we will backtrack on the climate change actions with Trump saying he will tear up the Paris accord and double down on fossil fuel. People in poverty bear the brunt of climate change and environmental inaction, which is a reason I see the same folks who are helping with poverty, economic equity also big into the environment. Clinton actually has a plan to build on our successes thus far, which have led to over 200,000 solar energy jobs growing at 10% + per annum, with coal jobs retrenching down to 60,000.

          My other fear with Trump is the empowerment of some very bigoted white hate groups. It is hard enough to improve upon the rights of all, when we have some who want to deny them to certain groups. Thanks for letting me throw my two cents in. Keith

          Liked by 1 person

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