I am one of the black men who voted for Donald Trump. Apparently we represent 13 percent of the black male vote. I actually find the number refreshing. It shows we are not a complete monolith in thought. We fall squarely out of the mainstream media’s idea of a Trump supporter mostly because it makes little sense to construct us as racist (although I’m not saying we can’t be).
The blog Verysmartbrothas took it upon themselves to categorize us. The gist of the article says a black man would vote for Trump “because some niggas is stupid.” These “stupid” niggas have had their brains fried by whiteness, the article says. A glance at the comments will show further offensive descriptions, including a hypothetical older black man who is wedded to misogyny and “keeping women in their place.”
Because I am neither stupid nor old, I feel as though the voice of a real black man who voted for Trump should be heard.
Stop Politicizing Black People
My stance on the role politics plays in the everyday life of black Americans was so aptly described by Walter Williams just this week. That role is very little, and politicizing black people is mostly fool’s gold. The issues that plague our community, as Williams pointed out, have not been assuaged by years of Democratic rule in predominantly black cities.
Black people often hold high political offices in these cities, like mayor or police chief. Some will point to this as all the evidence necessary to conclude that politics is not enough for us. If the overarching perspective is that black people are not in control of their own destiny, it suggests that anything short of black people holding 100 percent of high political offices is not enough.
Even then we still have to accept that a few will inevitably be infected by whiteness. This ludicrous notion, often used to brand people as race traitors, turns being white into an ideology that might take over someone like the enemy from invasion of the body snatchers. It effectively suppresses any opposing view from minorities so the loudest race hustlers can operate with little scrutiny from what would be their greatest adversaries.
Let’s Ask Ourselves the Hard Questions
Turning whiteness into a Marvel villain is not a battle that can be won. Black Americans’ collective problems are really individual problems, and until that is understood, there can be no moving forward. Like any other group in America, black Americans are in control of their own destiny.
The school district in which I went to high school has had an all-black school board for many years, but that has done little to improve the performance of the predominantly black student body. Blacks elected or volunteering to act in our interest can no longer be given a pass. The pain of facing reality by looking in the mirror might be too great a burden for many black people to bear, but for those who do, it can be a way to finally allow old wounds to heal.
Shelby Steele has written what I consider the most eloquent arguments in favor of reframing the black-white race issue in order to address what is actually going on today. Before insisting racism is an institutional problem instead of an individual problem, one should consider his own experiences.
This requires asking tough questions like “How much racism have I faced personally? Have I experienced debilitating physical or emotional harm as a result of the actions of someone of another race? Were that person’s actions really guided by racism? Am I doing everything I possibly can to ensure that my own personal goals are met?” When facing themselves this way, everyday black people often express the capacity to move forward and hope for the best.
We Need to Hold Our Leaders Accountable
The real issue lies with the so-called black leadership, like the NAACP that condemns rather than welcomes charter schools despite charters’ positive effects on many black children. This preaches a divisive message that further obscures how politics might actually help black communities.
The most egregious offense these anachronistic leaders commit is poisoning younger minds. These leaders ensure their continued survival by recruiting younger blacks into their ranks. The very individuals that might have the capacity to actually influence politics in a manner that might be to our collective benefit are given the tribal Kool-Aid to drink long before their brains are even fully developed.
Recent generations of black Americans have faced much less manifest racism and even far less discrimination than those of the past. Unlike them, though, we have been indoctrinated into identity politics. It is no coincidence that many Black Panther members were college-educated and that radicalizing individuals’ black identity still happens on college campuses. The contemporary term for this is “woke.”
The Woke Gospel
There are two types of black people: those who are woke and those who are not. This awakening does not have to occur in college; all college-educated black folks are not woke. Becoming woke now includes accepting a hodgepodge of contemporary theories like privilege theory and radical feminism.
This co-opting is a result of the mishmash that is identity politics. The proverbial grab bag that comprises the oppression gospel preached at contemporary colleges and universities makes being “woke” a standard for all students. I praise students and faculty of all backgrounds who push back against this message. Being told by an individual that you’re being racist or sexist can be a wake-up call. Being told by your institution of higher learning that you’re racist and sexist due to coincidences of birth is downright deplorable. It is also the greatest threat to the type of free thinking a higher education is supposed to foster.
It is a great irony that a mark of black authenticity is so deeply associated with liberal ideas and theories formed at elite higher ed institutions, often by people who are not even themselves black. These notions have now permeated the mainstream, and a failure to adopt these views can leave a black person on the outside looking in.
A View from the Outside
A white person who is not woke will simply be branded a racist and perhaps a misogynist, since the two so easily go hand-in-hand. But a black person doing it is a cardinal sin. I happen to have become woke in reverse. I attended a predominantly black high school and college. In spite of a few glaring issues, some related to racial homogeneity and others not so much, I received a fine education.
My recent conversion came only when I finally attended a predominantly white institution. In graduate school, the so-called wokeness I had been subject to finally faced real scrutiny. The scrutiny did not come from racism or the mass of white people that surrounded me. It instead was my first experience being in an environment with overt leftist political leanings.
This can often be avoided in a predominantly black educational environment because a great benefit of racial homogeneity is allowing for students to pursue educational goals unimpeded by identity politics. Politicization feels truly optional in a racially homogenous setting, but at a big, racially diverse university, it feels like an imperative.
In the process of negotiating a real relationship with politics, I happened upon Thomas Sowell. Like him and a few other black conservatives, I started out as a Marxist socialist. To be honest, I had been woke as long as I could remember. I had to eat a big piece of humble pie and accept that I had also been wrong. On the surface, I voted for Bernie Sanders in June and then Trump in November. Underneath all that was finally a real reconciliation of myself.
Why I Voted for Trump
There wasn’t a whole lot to like about Trump as a candidate, but there was less to like about Hillary Clinton. Whether or not the great panderer has hot sauce in her bag is of no concern to me. Whether she compromised the security of our country is important to me. My father and brother have considerable high-level military experience and both agreed anyone else would probably be serving jail time right now for committing the same offenses.
Despite this, I made it a point to try and drown out the nonsense and vote based on the issues. The most pertinent issue for me was Clinton potentially appointing an activist judge to the Supreme Court, of which the ramifications would most likely be felt long after she is gone. The next was if she would continue President Obama’s legacy of increasing the role the federal government plays in just about every aspect of American life, from how we’re educated to how we make our cars move. I did not want to be complicit in electing a woman I thought would run roughshod over Americans’ constitutional rights (although I did think she would win).
Maybe we members of the 13 percent think Trump will be more open to governing the type of America we want to live in once he’s actually in office. His actions as president-elect have been quite comforting. It seems that expecting he would put people around him like Gen. James Mattis to make up for his shortcomings was a good bet.
The recent first 100 days email Trump’s camp sent out asking his supporters to rank the importance of certain issues is also quite reassuring. The ones that stuck out to me were No. 3, about appointing a strong constitutionalist to the Supreme Court, No. 23, about bringing an end to Common Core, and No. 24, about bolstering school choice and using education dollars to empower parents.
I voted for Trump because once I drowned out the media circus my personal inclinations led me to believe the best-case scenario for his presidency was that he just might facilitate a government that would provide the path of least resistance to prosperity for not only black Americans but for all Americans.