by C5Damani (Old Head of the Movement)
The Breakfast Club – May 22, 2020 :
Charlamange tha God: “It’s not about Trump, it’s about who is going to present the best deal for black people… to fix the systemic wrongs that have been done by the black community, you have to create legislation and policies and plans to counter that, and I’m on board with whoever is offering that. I vote my interests, and my interests are black, period.”
Joe Biden: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
There has been much outrage from all corners of the internet about these recent comments from Democratic Presidential Candidate Former Vice President Joe Biden. But there is no such outrage from me. I see Biden’s statement as well founded and basically correct. Although, as a white person he has no standing to articulate an assessment of who’s black and who is not, he was not wrong in our larger understanding of what being BLACK means to us, especially at this time.
Blackness has been defined as comprising three elements!: COLOR, CULTURE and CONSCIOUSNESS. (more on this in my next post!!) Obviously, Biden wasn’t talking about COLOR or CULTURE, but CONSCIOUSNESS when saying “you ain’t black” if you vote for Trump. Notice he didn’t say “you ain’t black” if you don’t vote for me, that would have been indefensible even though that’s the implication. Nor did he say if you vote for someone else or don’t vote at all “you ain’t black. He was specific in his criticism.
That brings us to two distinct questions: 1) Was he wrong to equate being black and voting for trump, or better yet, is it wrong to equate voting for trump and being black? 2) Why the outrage from black people of consciousness or as it’s said “woke” brothers and sisters?
Let’s unpack these questions. Is it wrong to equate being black and voting for trump, negatively? The answer is a resounding NO! Given trump’s history of anti black attitudes and actions…
from housing and employment discrimination…
to advocating for the “lynching” of five black and brown innocent teenagers (who he still has not apologized to)…
to his 8 year long “birther” campaign against President Obama…
to his calling black kneeling protesters of police abuse and murder ‘sons -of -bitches ‘ (but, he called tiki torch marching “jews will not replace us” very good people and confederate flag waving “open up the country and the economy for white people to beach, bar and “bingo”, – very patriotic)…
to his labelling African and black Caribbean counties, “SHITHOLES” while asking why we can’t get more people immigrating from Norway (a white country)…
to his disrespectful attack on black female reporters for asking tough questions…
to telling black congresswomen to “go back to where you came from” (how many times have we heard this before?)…
to his totally like of empathy for black and brown people suffering and dying from COVID 19 virus.
Given all of this and more, it is not an unfair critique of a “black” trump voter to say he or she is not “black” in the sense of CONSCIOUSNESS. Voting for trump is voting against our own best interest.
Now, why the outrage from the “woke”!? Is it because it’s Biden who is saying it? Yes – to a degree. We know black folks have employed the “you ain’t black” numerous times against other blacks who don’t exhibit prevailing racial consciousness, sometimes without merit. Comedian and social critic, Richard Pryor, said it humorously about blacks and our elaborate handshakes, “you ain’t black mothafucka, you don’t know how to do “whatever handshake ” is in vogue. We use to say black people who speak property and only hang with whites as not being “black”. These were CULTURAL evaluations of what being “black” means . But that still doesn’t completely explain the outrage.
I think that Biden’s pronouncement brought to the forefront long simmering antagonism about who’s acting in our best interested and who is not. Integrationist vs Separatist, blacks who vote and belong to the democratic party vs either blacks who don’t vote or vote republican or third party or dream of developing our own “black independent party”. This seems to add the most fuel to the enraged response to what was really just an off hand remark.
“In considering a problem one must grasp its essentials and not be misled by superficialities”.
found in Nigga Notes & Quotes
The Biden comment was no big deal in comparison to what’s at stake in this election, and to use this as a reason NOT to vote AGAINST Trump is just a misreading of the grave political consequences of four more years of an open and avowed white supremacist.
Also, let me plainly state that the assessment of grave political consequences of four more years is not based out of fear, being scared or being blind or sheepish to Democrats. It’s not so much about fear as it is about progress.
Of course, we have survived worse and of course we haven’t made all the progress toward equality that we desire, but President Obama had us going in the right direction. The enhanced dignity and self respect of the masses of black. people with the election and re-election of President Obama gave us that “yes we can” attitude to pursue our goals. That attitude is being diminished under Trump and his re-election will further destroy that spirit. This is most important for people “where there is no vision, the people perish” an old but true adage.
There are other issues at stake in this election, as well. The materialistic issues like economics, politics, social mobility, the Trump cabal has done everything to make it worse. Trying to repeal the healthcare President Obama enacted, as well as dismantling the social safety net. Politically, erecting obstacles to voting with voter I.D. laws, voter purges, gerrymandering, voter suppression tactics, such as diminished early voting and mail in voting. In Milwaukee, people, mostly black or brown, had to risk their health and safety to vote, because of Republican opposition. Economically, no forgiveness of student loans, no advocating for increased minimum wage, and no outlook for future realities of universal basis income.
What we are voting Democratic for, is to put us back on the path of progress. As it stands right now, Biden is the best man for the job.