If you’re Black, 18 or older, and don’t vote- or, even worse, are Black, 18 or older, and tell other Blacks not to vote- I have two things to say to you.
One- Thanks for nothing. Black presidential voting participation decreased from 17.2 million, equaling 66.7 percent of eligible Blacks, in 2012 to 16.4 million, equaling 59.6 percent, in 2016. You’re a key reason why Donald Trump “won” in 2016. You’re a key reason why racist Republicans controlled the House and Senate during Trump’s first two years. You’re a key reason why the Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeal, and the federal district courts have become more anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Latinx, anti-women, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-poor people beginning in 2016.
Two- Since you’re too indifferent or too “woke” to vote, then you’re too indifferent or too “woke” to reap the benefits of what voting has provided for Blacks and others. Therefore, you must now reject every benefit you’re offered that has resulted from the work of Black voters of the present and Black voters of the past.
For example, stop being a greedy hypocrite and immediately start rejecting the following (and all other) governmental benefits:
1. The Social Security Act of 1935 (with amendments in 1939, 1946, 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1965), which in Title I provides for you if you’re elderly, Title III for you if you’re unemployed, Title IV for you and your household members if you and they are in need of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (e.g., food stamps), Title V for your children’s welfare, Title VI for your public health services, and Title X for you if you’re vision-impaired. By the way, it was the 1939 amendment that provides your non-voting ass with that check you rush to cash on the first of every month.
2. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides you with the ability to work at white-owned businesses, ride on public transportation, eat at restaurants, shop at department stores, and stay at hotels- all without getting your head bashed in by white cops enforcing Jim Crow laws.
3. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which ended whites-only primaries, whites-only grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and poll taxes imposed upon your recently emancipated ancestors following passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.
4. Medicare and Medicaid Services, which began in 1966 and provide for you medically if you’re 65 or older and had paid into the services through your payroll taxes.
5. Minimum Wage Laws, which- after coming into effect in 1912 in Massachusetts after activist women in New York began relentless protests against sweatshop labor in 1890- provide you with at least some modicum of relatively fair payment.
6. The Workers Compensation Laws, which began in 1911 in Wisconsin and provide for you financially when you’re injured on the job.
7. Everything you use from libraries to recreation centers provided by candidates elected to city councils, from traffic lights to driver licenses provided by candidates elected to state legislatures, and from federal tax laws to affirmative action policies provided by candidates elected to Congress.
8. The elections during the past few years of progressive District Attorneys throughout the country who make sure you and especially your 15-30 year-old Black sons, nephews, and cousins are no longer judicially lynched by the racist and mass-incarcerating so-called criminal justice system.
9. The hopeful- and likely- election of progressive Stacey Abrams in Georgia as the first Black and the first woman governor of that state.
10. The hopeful- and likely- election of progressive Andrew Gillum in Florida as the first Black governor of that state.
Colloquially speaking, you non-voting Blacks better not accept no benefits or take no credit regarding any of the ten items listed above (or anything else) because you ain’t done nothing to help.
In fact, you remind me of the type of people the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey was referring to when he said, “I have no desire to take all Black people back to Africa. There are Blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.”
In conclusion, the photo in this week’s column is that of ex-Tennessee cop Clayton Hickey wearing his Confederate lynching T-shirt while voting in Mississippi on November 6. Now tell me again why you didn’t vote.