Like the 77 million Americans and counting who voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to replace the failed Trump administration, seeing them finally declared the winners of the 2020 Election late Saturday morning on November 7 was a huge sigh of relief. However, the work to dismantle the interlocking systems of domination that were heightened during Donald Trump’s presidency needs to be at the forefront.
The moment Joe Biden was announced as the 46th President-Elect of the United States, I was at work in the expo window waiting for my food to get ready to be taken to my table. I hear one of my coworkers say “Terrence look at the TV”. I turned to look at the TV and after four days of waiting, CNN had finally projected a Biden-Harris victory.
My reaction was very subdued.
While I was happy that the candidate that I voted for won, seeing the abundance of joyful reactions from my white coworkers and clientele reasserted this internal fear that I had of white people’s advocacy for groups like Black Lives Matter, or the thousands of children ripped away from their parents at the border, or the millions of people of color incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana and other drug offenses, or insert any other systemic issue going on in the United States right now, would take a back seat. When in reality, the pressure to make change needs to be amped if we’re going to dig deep into this problem of systemic oppression.
This fear materialized into anger because in midst of the champagne being brought out and people taking to the streets to celebrate the dictator being elected out of office, throughout that work shift and the rest of my day I rarely heard anyone give credit where credit was due as to why Biden and Harris even won the election. Black women.
Black women like Stacey Abrams saw the amount of voter suppression in states like Georgia and used her agency to act on it. Never in my life would I have predicted to see the state of Georgia go blue during a presidential election.
If it weren’t for Black women like Stacey Abrams and the countless other Black Americans who put in the groundwork to make sure that Black folks got registered to vote in predominantly red states, this election could have easily been a repeat of 2016. Especially, when looking at the pre-election polls.
As many know, polling is a way for news outlets and political analysts to notice certain trends, get an idea of where different demographics of people lean when it comes to voting, and who they voted for.
I say this could have been a repeat of 2016 because almost all of the pre-election polling numbers had Hillary beating Trump, yet here we are.
According to the initial exit polls taken by The New York Times this time around, about 90% of Black women voted for Joe Biden, followed by 80% of Black men who also voted for Biden. It is no secret that the Black community has carried the Democratic party for decades. This is why voter suppression is so ingrained in American culture. It lies at the intersection of race and politics. As the saying goes, “If your right to vote wasn’t so important, people wouldn’t be trying so hard to take it away.”
Like instances in Georgia and other southern states where Republicans tend to win and win decisively, the overwhelming voter turnout of Black Americans changes the narrative. Forcing us to once again have conversations on how to fix a system created to only serve the rich white male elite.
When looking at this same exit poll taken by The New York Times, 61% of white men voted for Trump, with another 55% of white women also voting for Trump. Honestly, I am not surprised. Asking white people to put aside their whiteness for the advancement of minorities was a reach. This statistic feeds into the notion of white people not taking it amongst themselves to have the tough conversations and to do the work.
The exit polling is another reason why I am not a fan of the overt spectacle of this election’s outcome by white people specifically. It’s the celebration of the hard work at the expense of Black people and people of color that rubs me the wrong way. It’s the biggest slap in the face. As if they were the ones that saved democracy. If anything, white liberals and progressives need to do much more in order for this nation to see the change and equality it deserves to see. The last time I checked, Republicans still have the Senate. A Senate where the majority leader has openly confessed to making it hard for any progressive legislation to be passed. Democrats also lost a lot of seats in the House. That’s not something to celebrate. If you are celebrating the outcome of the only presidential election and not paying more attention to local and state elections, then you need to be doing a lot more homework.
During these times where some families might be getting together for the holidays, the universal argument of not talking about politics or religion at the dinner table needs to change. Especially to those with a platform that can perpetuate that much-needed change.
When I walk into a room, my Blackness and my queerness enter the room and exist together at the same time. Always. They are both a political statement and a religion where dominant mainstream culture constantly strives to question and obliterate my and many others’ very existence. Until we can realize and grasp this concept, do not make a spectacle out of the grueling labor of those whose voices need to be heard the most.