Recently someone posted on a website their observations about black Americans, and was curious and frustrated at how black Americans, religious and hard-working and future-oriented, would so often and so blindly pick the Democrats when they went into the voting booth. Frustrated that black Americans were so lazy and uneducated, so “urban” and so exotic.
I responded with the following. I don’t expect the person to read it, much less take my advice. But I thought it a useful summary of how to educate yourself to understand other people without having to do much work except read and think a bit.
Do you know any actual black families? Go to any actual black churches? Talk to any actual black parents?
Because you’re describing nonsense. Absolute and utter nonsense.
Black Americans make intelligent choices about what party best meets their needs. For a long time black Americans supported Republicans because Republicans had a slightly less racist approach to black Americans and slightly better performance on civil rights. That began to slide in the 1930s and 40s, and became a rout under Goldwater. Black Americans don’t get the benefit of their support of Democrats, to be sure–but it is simply an astronomically better option for them than to support Republicans. The attack on the poor and the needy by Republicans rings loudly in the ears of black Americans, who historically have suffered economic catastrophe under the heel of the elite and the rich. Calling poor people “moochers” and trying to cut off aid to families with dependent children gets their attention.
Black Americans comprise the same kinds of economic statuses as any other group. There are wealthy blacks, middle-class blacks, and poor blacks. There are highly educated blacks and some that are poorly educated. They are not all the same, just as any other group of Americans are not the same.
The reason that black Americans tend to support Democrats far more than they support Republicans isn’t because of “freebies.” If you really want to figure out why, you can investigate on your own.
Start with this book. It’s well-written, and an easy read: “The Warmth of Other Suns.” It says a lot about black Americans pulling themselves up and moving to better economic opportunity, even though the opportunity is only better, not great. It will perhaps open your eyes to the very real fact that black Americans are simply as human as you are and are trying to live just as you are, but are trying to live within a much narrower and more restricted range of economic and social opportunity.
When you’re done with that, pick up “Slavery By Another Name,” by the Wall Street Journal bureau chief Douglas Blackmon. In it you will find described how the South used the courts and the social system to re-enslave black men for the betterment and enrichment of white southern men. It is all there in black and white, and will help you understand, I think, what “Jim Crow” comes from–Jim Crow as the social tip of the iceberg representing the utter degradation forced upon black Americans by a complicit state government and a weak and incurious federal government.
Just those two will give you plenty of insight as to the character of black Americans, their actual lives here in America, and how utterly normal their dreams are for their lives and their children’s lives.