The Struggle to Vote in A Country That Hates You: A Need for Political Literacy and Less Judgment
So far, 241 black people have been killed by police in 2020. Despite making up just 13% of the country’s population, we make up 28% of fatal police-involved shootings. Despite being just 13% of the population; despite our lives meaning nothing to this country, we’re expected to save this country one vote at a time. We’re inundated with countless ads to go vote and “make our voices heard”. Ads targeting black people featuring strippers and well-known black actors pushing an agenda that some of us just aren’t sold on. These ads are often pushed without pushing for political literacy and facts about candidates.
Why are we willing to send uninformed voters to the polls? Another option is to push voter guides both in print and virtual. Many have an elitist way of thinking that most people have computers. 33% percent of people in Rochester live below the poverty line, half of the children under 18 live in poverty. Yes, we’re talking voting and you have to be 18 to do so. But think about how many 17-year-olds don’t own a computer and then when they reach the magical birthday of 18 are told to go vote, with no guidance and no information on candidates.
“Despite our lives meaning nothing to this country, we’re expected to save this country one vote at a time”
A piece of literacy also usually missing is information on local elections. This could also be on the candidate’s part, in making sure their message reaches those who are often underserved. And if you are informed then you might realize that neither of the two national outcomes benefits us. With less than a week until the 2020 Presidential Election and early voting underway, our choices are grim. On one hand, we re-elect a racist, ableist, homophobic man who has done nothing but ignite hate in fellow white men. On the other hand, we elect an out-of-touch, inappropriate man who is nothing more than a moderate. Neither make it a point to address the countless murders of trans women across the country. Neither has gotten behind defunding the police and refunding the community.
A spokesman for Biden’s campaign once said, “As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded.”Biden has also called for more funding for police in the disguise of reform. We have two terrible options for who will lead this country come January. I don’t blame black, queer, and trans folks who stay home for election day and early voting. When black people saw an option in President Barack Obama they showed out. However, four years later, when we faced a similar situation that we do now, many chose to stay home.
According to the Pew Research Center, “The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012.” When black people could see themselves in a candidate, they had no problem voting. In 2012, the black voter turnout rate was higher than white people for the first time. See it’s not that we don’t want to participate in Democracy. But when there is no hope then it is hard to vote for a future that doesn’t benefit you.
“White people voted Trump in. It’s not on black people to fix white peoples’ mistakes. Don’t shame those who choose to stay home”
About Brianna Milon
Brianna is local media professional who loves writing, watching Netflix, and playing with her dog, Weenie and her cat, Fancy. She studied Journalism and Broadcasting at SUNY Brockport and was heavily involved in the campus radio station. Brianna also co-hosts a radio show, “Fat, Black, and Femme”, on 100.9 WXIR. You can find out more on Facebook and Blogspot.