White Democrats: Black Alabama Voters Aren’t Your Magical Negroes

BESSEMER, AL - DECEMBER 12:  Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones (L) greets voters outside of a polling station at the Bessemer Civic Center on December 12, 2017 in Bessemer, Alabama. Doug Jones is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in a special election for U.S. Senate.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

White Democrats: Black Alabama Voters Aren’t Your Magical Negroes

After the unexpected Senate victory of Doug Jones, it’s time for the Democratic Party to stop taking Black votes for granted and start giving us more influence in politics.

Published December 13, 2017

Fact: Had it not been for the Black vote, Democrat Doug Jones would have not pulled off the historic Senate victory win in Alabama.

Black voters have always shown up and showed out in the polls for the right candidate. Jones’ GOP opponent, an alleged pedophile named Roy Moore, gave him a run for his money despite the damaging allegations because white voters — especially white female voters — can’t help voting against their own interests.

But our community, despite all of the racist voter suppression laws that could have held us down, still made history in a big way:

This election victory was personal for me because my family currently lives in Huntsville, Alabama. My mother is a manager at a call center that employs a ton of Black and Latino workers. She made it a point to encourage all of them to take advantage of a two-hour break given to them to vote so they wouldn’t have an excuse not to. What often is ignored in discussions about elections are the barriers some jobs often create for those who want to vote. My mother didn’t want such cycles to continue and others followed suit. Like most Black women, her #BlackGirlMagic helped save America from itself yet again.

But I was not ready for the instant gratification online.

All over social media, there are white liberals pouring out there worshiping of Black voters, especially Black women, for “saving America.” In pure white politically incorrectness, some are stepping it up a notch by naming their favorite Black female celebrities and showing memes of Beyoncé "Formation" clips and treating this as a fetish of some sorts. What should have been a simple “Thank you” has turned into another example of white people losing their damn minds. Once again, we have been reduced to the exotic “magical negro” whose sole purpose is to cater to the needs and desires of white people.

To be extra clear: Black people didn’t vote in high numbers to save America, we did it to save ourselves. White people, we are not here to save, serve or fix the politics you’ve broken on your behalf. After a Trump administration that has gone haywire, more than the majority of white voters in Alabama still were down to elect Moore. So no, I’m not here for any of this fake love. Not one bit.

If white liberals really love Black women and value Black voters as much as they do on Election Day, then they should let go of some of that Democratic Party control and invest in races that support more Black women in office. The backbone of the Democratic Party has always been Black women and yet they are extremely underrepresented in major political races. For example, California Democrat Kamala Harris is the only Black woman currently serving in the U.S. Senate. There are only a handful of Black female mayors, U.S. representatives, but no governor or major party chairwoman.

For a demographic that has stayed loyal despite not getting much from either side of politics, it’s about damn time we start calling out how “progressive” our political system should be towards them. It’s not enough to keep asking for Black voters to show up to the polls and vote Democrat if they aren’t ever going to see that power magnify into something else. It’s exhausting to keep saving a country from itself that in return makes you an option and not a priority.

The midterm election cycle is 2018. This is enough time for the Democratic Party to start showing how much they care about Black women and voters by putting them in charge of key states that we need to flip in order to secure major victories across the board. Black women should no longer be subservient, but key players. It’s time to start acknowledging their undeniable talent and value not just after a victory, but before it.

Black women been got this, it’s time we all catch up.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

Ernest Owens is the editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly. He has written for USA Today, NBC News, The Grio, HuffPost and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and ernestowens.com.

Written by Ernest Owens

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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