Before the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election I would have considered myself a staunch liberal and supporter of the democratic party. But in that year I began to see fellow liberals and the democratic party as a whole in a new light. I felt that valid concerns Black democrats had against the party and it’s ineffectiveness to produce enough viable candidates were dismissed. Accompanied by an insolent expectation that despite this the party was entitled to the votes of Black people. In addition to all of this came the pervasive idea that the indignation many Black people felt arose not from genuine concerns that were unmet but from some outside source influencing our thought patterns.
The one that came up the most then and in the two years since is the claim that Russia was secretly behind racial tensions in the United States. I have seen this sentiment echoed in numerous publications, news reports, tweets, and facebook posts. Liberals believe that in addition to Russia meddling in the 2016 election that it is also responsible for racial tensions within the United States.
Behind this claim is the idea that before Russia began meddling in the election that everything was fine. That racism was a thing that happened on a rare occurrence but was something most of the country had progressed from. It’s not only tone deaf and condescending it is also a denial of systemic racism and state sanctioned violence. It reveals that white liberals who claim to be our allies are no better than republicans in their denial of our continued oppression.
This line of thinking has carried over into politics as well. More specifically as a defense against the growing number of Black people that are disillusioned with the democratic party due to its failures to meet the needs of it’s Black voters. It shouldn’t be too far fetched to understand how many Black people can be fed up with a system that only gives us two options. One is the republican party that openly calls for our oppression and the other is the democratic party that has a history of acquiescing to the demands of the republican party under the guise of keeping the peace. Many Black people have grown tired of giving our undying support to a political party that expects and often demands our vote then abandons us the chance it gets because they know that we have no other options.
When Black people criticize the democratic party or say that we will no longer vote for the candidates that are presented to us simply because they are dems we are met with accusations of being Russian trolls. Told that we are responsible for Trump winning the election. We are belittled as if we owe our support to the democratic party. The worst part about their behavior is that they don’t see the racist undertones in these statements.
The idea of Black people as autonomous beings with the capability of thinking and feeling on our own is so foreign to white people in this country that even the ones who see themselves as allies cannot conceive of Black people coming to conclusions that are oppositional to their own. So when we do oppose them we are met with their worst. This is perfectly exemplified by the backlash Black members in their own party experience simply for lending their support to democratic candidates that other democrats dislike.
For example, Nina Turner was kept off of the DNC stage in Philadelphia because she decided to advocate for Senator Bernie Sanders. But this was after she experienced harassment from democrats after it was announced that she had endorsed him. Nina recounted how after an event at Planned Parenthood a woman confronted her and told her that she was a disappointment and that she should be ashamed for betraying the Clintons.
Democrats seem incapable of reflecting on why many Black people feel like a democratic vote is only useful for harm reduction. That their candidates are only slightly less awful than republicans candidates. The blame for the loss of the democratic party is laid at the feet of everyone except prominent members of the party. Im reminded of the slogan many liberals tooted after Trump became president: “If Hillary had won we’d all be at Brunch right now!” It let’s me know that to liberals in the democratic party we are only valuable to prop up their votes. However, we are not valuable enough to have our anger taken seriously. Nor are we valuable enough for them to consider us as thinking beings.
White liberals hold the same racist opinions of Black people as right wingers, they just express it differently. For them racism comes in the form of not recognizing the autonomy of Black people. In my opinion liberals and right wingers are two of the same. The only difference is that one cannot see how much they dislike us.
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