Monday, February 29, 2016

Don't Tell Me Who To Vote For. And Don't Threaten Me Either

Imagine that you're sitting at your work desk listening to gospel music and a person with a little more authority than you comes and sits down next to you.

You've seen this person around the building throughout the years that you've worked there, but you really don't know a lot about them and they don't know a lot about you. Usually, when you see each other you exchange hellos or maybe a smile.

“How are you doing?” he asks.

“I'm good,” you reply.

“Why does everyone always say I'm good?”

You smile back at him. “Because I'm good.”

There’s silent for a moment.

“So, are you voting for Trump?” he asks.

You laugh. “I don't discuss politics,” you answer.

“Oh,” he says. “I'm not afraid to say no. No. I'm a Demo. Until I die.” He turns to you. “Don't forget where you come from.”

You smile, but on the inside, you're looking for a polite way to get up and walk away from this conversation.

This, my friend happens every two years in America to black people who refuse to toe the line.

Is common knowledge that at least 10% of black people vote either Republican or Independent and there are some bold black ‘Demos’ who have it as their mission to hunt that 10% down and get them in check.

That’s why black people who don't toe the line choose not to discuss politics. They stay silent at church when the pastor brings up politics. They stay silent when they're around other family members when they bring up politics. And they stay silent at work when their co-workers bring up politics.

The only time that they're willing to discuss politics with others is when the other person (or people) are willing to have a conversation. No name calling. No put downs. No shaming. Just agree to disagree if necessary.

Notice in the example above that the guy didn't ask, “Are you voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?” He should have just assumed that the person was voting for Hillary or Bernie because they’re black right? But he didn’t. He asked if the person was voting for Trump and I believe it’s because Donald Trump has a lot of people running scared because he's appealing to a lot of different types of  voters.

I remember during the 2012 elections all I saw on my Facebook feed was black folks telling other black folks that they needed to vote for Obama because if Romney became president then America would become like the movie The Hunger Games for all black people.

But I don’t think scare tactics like that are going to fly this time around.