Can You Hear Us?

The Democrats are running Hillary Clinton today. We all expect and hope Trump loses, I guess. If Clinton loses, Trump has four years to fuck up the country. *shrug* I don’t have any particular enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton’s campaigning, despite her best attempts to nae-nae into my heart. Having Beyonce, Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper endorse her didn’t move me. Seeing her pull hot sauce out of her purse almost got me, if nothing else for the laugh. A narrative is being spread that minorities, young black people specifically, will not turn out for Clinton in the same numbers as for President Obama. To that I say, DUH. At least with Obama there was symbolic victory. Clinton brings that as well (if not more so for white women). Not actually speaking to black issues has been the liberal jig for decades. Pander to us, and hopefully we turn out to vote, and when they pass social and economic reforms the rising tide will raise all ships. By default we can only benefit from their victories, right? The problem is slow-moving progress isn’t working for us. Especially not the young. Can you blame us, we grew up on broadband. Student debt is mounting, police are shooting down men and women who look like us at disproportionate and alarming rates, the prisons are running over with people who look like us and jobs are scarce for people who look like us. But as usual the GOP has nominated a racist, this time more open and dramatic, but as usual they don’t want our vote and won’t get it (see Trump’s 0% polling numbers with African-Americans). We can vote third-party to keep it interesting, but the likely result is Clinton is our next president. The American left (the real world’s middle) will do what it can to drag their feet to progress, and hopefully none of us will get shot, evicted or fired in the meantime.

America’s liberal politicians have a history of assuming they can figure out what black people need instead of just asking us. Then we tell them, and they still decide to work it out on their own. I opted not to include the dramatic conservative setbacks we received, as we expect them to worsen our condition in this country. However, those who claim to fight for us have also done little. This is a brief and vague history of our requests and their actions over time. Our history is deep and rich and I encourage any reader to do some Googles and look deeper into our role in this country’s political landscape. 

1776-1865: FREE US

Black People’s Actions: Running away from plantations via underground networks, inciting violent rebellions, purposefully destroying property/equipment, creating a culture of resistance.

Black People’s Words:

I’ve heard Uncle Tom’s Cabin read, and I tell you Mrs. Stowe’s pen hasn’t begun to paint what slavery is as I have seen it at the far South. I’ve seen de real thing, and I don’t want to see it on no stage or in no theater.” – Harriet Tubman

“The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery”. – Frederick Douglas

White Liberal Political Responses:

-Missouri Compromise in 1820 allows only slavery in the south

-1860 Republican Platform: No slavery in any new states (leads to Civil War)

-Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (this one is fun) tells the Confederacy they have 100 days to cease rebelling OR their slaves will be freed. Yes, Lincoln tried to levy our freedom for an end to the war, save the union sacrifice the slaves.

-Then finally as a war tactic, Lincoln signs the final Emancipation Proclamation, which only really counts if the Union wins because the Confederacy sees themselves as a separate country with their own president anyway.

Former slave Felix Haywood said “The War didn’t change nothin’. Sometimes you didn’t knowed it was goin’ on. It was the endin’ of it that made the difference.”

We ask for freedom for centuries, the liberals of the day fall into it by accident.

1865-1877: Have Our Backs

Black People’s Actions: Political participation, found organizations dedicated to social and economic advancement, sharecropping, wealth accumulation and cultural progress despite legalized racism

Black People’s Words:

“I stand today on this floor to appeal for the protection from the strong-arm of the government for her loyal children, irrespective of color and race, who are citizens of southern states, and particularly in the State of Georgia.” -Hiram Rhodes Revels, first African-American senator

White Liberal Political Responses:

13th, 14th and 15th Amendments outlaw slavery (except in prison labor, THE JIG), grant black people citizenship and given African-American men the right to vote. Most of these are not fully granted or imposed by the federal government because of:

-The Election of 1876, in which the (at the time liberal) Republican Party, the party of Lincoln that “freed” us, sold black people out for the presidency. There was dispute over the election, and the Republicans struck a deal to pull the military out of the south (black people’s only line of defense) in order for Hayes to take office. A century of lynchings, violence (Google Black Wall Street in your spare time) and economic disenfranchisement would follow.

We are promised equality under the law and citizenship, the Republicans sell us out and abandon us in the Deep South to fight for ourselves.

1877-1964: Stop Your Citizens from Lynching Us, Stop Giving Us Second Hand Education, Resources and Political Power

Black People’s Actions: Developed our own community and culture out of segregation, invented jazz and rock and roll, created our own Black Wall Street, got college degrees, established black schools and universities, served in the WWII, tried to buy homes, still denied access to full rights as Americans, spend two decades protesting (Civil Rights Movement) to end housing, workplace and academic discrimination

Black People’s Words:

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” – W.E.B. Dubois

“Knowledge is the prime need of the hour” – Mary McLeod Bethune

“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.” – Marcus Garvey

White Liberal Political Response:

-The federal government didn’t intervene in lynchings for decades because murder was already illegal. Multiple bills were presented and not passed. For context: From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people who were lynched 3,446 were black.

-1954 Brown vs. Board of Ed SCOTUS decision outlaws segregation in public education. Equal funding was not (and is still not) allocated to schools in majority black areas, instead bussing moves students out of their school zones to schools in other single-race dominated neighborhoods.

-Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 outlaw discrimination in employment and housing, respectively

We spend a century being lynched, excluded and denied our rights.

After decades of vocal and visible protest, we are given federal intervention to outlaw Jim Crow laws.

1964-?: Stop Using the Police to Kill Us, Still Stop Economically Disenfranchising Us

Black People’s Actions: Greater political action following death of MLK, found multiple organizations including Black Panther Party for Self Defense,

Black People’s Words:

“America preaches integration and practices segregation.” – Malcolm X

“In a sense the quest for the emancipation of black people in the U.S. has always been a quest for economic liberation” – Angela Davis

“And still [police] have been killing people at higher rates than even last year, for example. July was literally the deadliest month of 2015. And that’s a problem.” – Johnetta Elzie (2015)

“We should not have to protest.” – Deray Mckesson (2016)

White Liberal Political Response:

Nixon drags his feet on desegregation and uses busing to send some black students to white schools rather than providing equal funding and resources for black schools

-The federal government starts Cointelpro via the FBI to infiltrate and destroy black power movements, particularly the Black Panthers

-Bill Clinton passes ’95 Crime Bill, arresting black and brown people at historic rates for non-violent offences

-The police continue to kill unarmed black men and women

-Our first black president, Barack Obama signs into law a Blue Alert bill (albeit it has no teeth to this point)

Statistics show black people receive fewer opportunities for employment, harsher sentences in the judicial system, have less access to quality education and continue to have their culture socially stigmatized by the white majority. Same shit different decade. We ask for our rights as citizens under the law, and our black president tells us to respect the police. His successor in Clinton opts to (attempt to) culturally relate rather than promising to fix the issues plaguing our communities.

Now, another generation of young black people are still demanding the same rights our white counterparts have had since America’s founding. Some of us will begrudgingly vote for Hillary out of fear of Trump. Others of us will withhold votes or vote third-party in rebellion of the usual two-party system. What we will do enthusiastically is protest for equality under the law or look for other options as our rights promised to us by the Constitution continue to be violated on the local, state and federal level. It took months for Clinton to say Black Lives Matter. Why? Because she, like every other liberal politician in this country’s history has a fundamental misunderstanding of what we need and want, despite our best efforts to vocalize them. Be angry if we don’t vote as expected, but don’t you dare fix your mouth to ask us why.

“The black experience is black and serious. Cause being black, my experience is no one hearin’ us. White kids get to wear whatever hat they want. When it comes to black kids one size fits all.”

-Childish Gambino, Hold You Down

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Trump’s Rebellion

The election is Tuesday. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. We all know how we got here, no need to carry on about what a crazy year, because we’re here now. Much has been said of the “Deplorables” who are carrying Trump here. They’ve been labeled xenophobes, racists, misogynists, assholes and ignorant. I’m not here to dispute any of those claims, or even humanize them, not knowing you’re a racist doesn’t excuse your being a racist.

What I am intrigued by is the historic role of the group that has become the face of Trump’s campaign: the poor and white, the oft-ignored subgroup of the American political landscape. Often left to make their choice (Republican for the last 5 decades) based on conservative social values because nobody really cares about their economic existence. The reason is because in America’s white-centered society, if you’re white, and especially a man, your poverty is “justifiable”. Translation: there’s jobs for mediocre white people. If you’re white and unintelligent or just not driven, you can settle into a decent middle to lower class life without much strife. It is worth mentioning that the way economic mobility is set up (or not set up), if you’re poor and white, you’re likely to remain poor most of your life unless you’re exceptionally intelligent and can figure out how to use those damn bootstraps to pull yourself up (the jig for minorities is that we don’t get bootstraps). So Democrats cater to the rich liberal who feels sympathy for the disenfranchised minority and Republicans cater to the rich with a passing social appeal to the (likely Christian) poor and white. Trump has gone a step further, he’s speaking directly to the poor and white.

Donald Trump has used their language, he’s acknowledged their (irrational) fears and he’s promised to revive the dream they were promised, a blue collar union factory job to live a decent middle class life (special shoutout to Republicans for destroying those unions and still keeping those voters*). Now, the problem is the poor and white are often the relatively uneducated. The relatively uneducated don’t often participate in safe and peaceful political action. It’s not the rich man who burns down a city or takes up arms when he needs to get a point across, he has too much to lose. In the Civil War, the plantation owners weren’t doing the bulk of the fighting. State pride got the poor white man to serve in his army. It isn’t not hard to get a poor man to fight in a war (against his economic interests, as slavery took jobs from poor white people) for his state. Now, I by no means expect the fallout (or continuation, who knows honestly) of Trump ideology to lead to Civil War, definitely nothing so dramatic. I do expect civil unrest.

Shay’s Rebellion happened shortly after the Articles of Confederation were ratified and the United States began. Before we had a Constitution, we had the Articles. Super short version, not

enough federal power, taxes weren’t being paid, poor white people suffered the most when it was time to pay up on debt during an economic downturn. In comes Daniel Shays, a former soldier from Massachusetts who saw his fellow veterans returning to nothing. He participated in the armed Northampton uprising and began to be more vocal in the violent protests. They began in August of 1786 and weren’t fully quelled until February of 1787. Only a few thousand people were involved, and it by no means tore the country in half. It was eye opening though. The federal government knew it needed dramatic change to address the country before them. When Trump loses Tuesday, I expect some hotbeds of his support to react. I would never advocate for violence, but I won’t deny the possibility. Trump has the usually ignored and disenfranchised feeling like this is a make or break election (continue on with lol “Obama’s America” or make America great again). They also happen to be the most heavily armed, and have been told by their leader Trump that the election is rigged implying the federal government is invalid if he loses (!!!). America traditionally doesn’t usually take big steps unless violence is involved. While everybody keeps waiting for Black Lives Matter “thugs” to start killing cops and burning down grand ol flags, Trump is stirring up a group much more inclined to political violence to partake in whatever political action they feel appropriate. Shay’s Rebellion led to the scrapping of the Articles of Confederation and writing of the Constitution. I don’t think we’ll hit reset on the entire government, but it will inspire dramatic and swift action in a way only white tears and violence can. That’s all assuming he loses. I won’t even write into the universe what happens if he wins.

Oh, and to every Republican politician and party member who has not disavowed Trump, even though we KNOW you know better, whatever happens is also directly your fault.

“Human beings in a mob, what’s a mob to a king, what’s a king to a god, what’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything? Alright, alright, no church in the wild”

-Jay-Z and Kanye West (feat. Frank Ocean), No Church in the Wild

*did a Google for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/30/ronald-reagan-middle-class_n_6578130.html