Interesting Talk at a “Black Lives Matter Action Lab” in Arlington. Last night in Arlington, Va., at a meeting hosted by the National Urban League’s Young Professionals, an interesting conversation broke out. It was: Does voting matter? That the question popped up during a meeting with a group of young mostly Black professionals in a purple state during the end of the second term of America’s first Black President is not what many would predict. But it did.
“Get out the vote” African Americans are told. “This is the most important election ever” Black voters hear over and over. Be sure to vote. But some voters are wondering outloud whether or not it does. And that question is being asked even more almost seven years into the Obama presidency that started its first two years with Democrats in control of both houses of Congress.
In Virginia, where the top five offices in the state are held by Democrats, the question was also asked. That a group of young professionals held a “Black Lives Matter Action Lab” where the question was vigorously discussed is noteworthy.
The very question “does voting matter” is likely to shock many Democratic party establishment figures and elected officials. Black voters are the most loyal voting Block in the Democratic party and Black women vote at the highest percentage than any other group. Yet we still see stats and data that indicate that the economic situation for Black Americans is either stuck in neutral or getting worse.
Income inequality between Black and white is the worst in 25 years. The subprime mortgage crisis followed by a decision to bail out bankers rather than individuals solidified those numbers. As the housing crisis became worse, poverty has expanded for African Americans in the U.S. and over the last six years the poverty rate grew. Currently, 28 percent of Blacks in America live in poverty.
Now the question is coming up: Does voting matter? Even though voting is connected to so much power in society, some point out that no matter who is in power, whether Democrat or Republican, the outcomes are generally the same for Black communities. Now with many young activists asking for change on justice reform and specifically policy brutality — a very specific issue set — many are pointing out how grumpy white progressives are as young Black activists push the issue. Meanwhile, Black voters will be asked by Democrats to show up big at the polls.
This week in Clutch Magazine, the question was openly asked: “If Democrats Don’t Take #BlackLivesMatter Seriously Should Black Voters Withhold Their Vote?”
Many say the systemic problems in Black communities are beyond a government fix. But some also argue that a nation that spends billions on so many other priorities has simply chosen to ignore Black issues. Ta-nehisi Coates once pointed out that many problems African American have were caused by the government and should be fixed by it. That more African Americans are asking questions about a Democratic Party it supports almost 100 percent and specific policy is long overdue.