The black community is not being heard. I would argue that this is an immutable fact. African American children have a harder time succeeding in life and nobody seems to care. They are outspoken and engaged. They care greatly for their families, but can’t seem to convince the officials in power to enact real, substantive change.
For decades, the black community has been the largest consistently Democratic voting bloc in presidential elections. Out of all races, Republicans consistently receive the fewest amount of votes from African-Americans. According to the Roper Center at Cornell University, in the 2008 election, Republican candidate John McCain received a total 4% of the black vote. Meanwhile, the black vote consisted of 13% of the entire voting population. In 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney received only 6% of the black vote. This trend can’t be solely attributed to the first black president running for office. In the last 30 years, not a single Republican candidate has received more than 17% of the black vote.
Through voting history, blacks have created a precedence that projects the idea of a Democratic vote being a vote for the betterment of the black community. The consequences of this invariability can be seen in the current election. The black vote is so predictable that all it takes a Democratic nominee like Hillary Clinton to secure the vote is a few empty promises to help minority groups. Black voters should not be loyal; they should be outraged.
During a speech at Vanderbilt University last year, Stephen A. Smith called out the black community for fighting against their own cause. In his speech he addressed black voters: “[…] you have labeled yourself ‘disenfranchised’ because one party knows they’ve got you under their thumb. The other party knows they’ll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest.”
It is wholeheartedly unproductive to blindly support a specific party, or individual, without considering the entirety of what they are doing to address your interests. It is equally unproductive to dismiss, out of hand, another party or individual. Nonetheless, I am not here to say that conservatives always have the best agenda to benefit the black community. In fact, it is just the opposite. When any particular group is so remarkably consistent with party favor, that group requires nobody to hear their voice. Black voters have established a system in which nobody has any reason to support their needs.
African-Americans, as a collective, need to stand independently in pursuance of real recognition. When the Republicans know that the black vote is impossible to gain, and the Democrats know the black vote is guaranteed, nobody truly cares about black issues. This is the definition of disenfranchisement. A disenfranchisement of their own demographic’s creation.
The only true answer lies in the ability to listen and assess differing points of view with an open and receiving mind. It is only in this acceptance of ideas that a true resolution can be found.