The white conservatives aren’t friends of the Negro either, but they at least don’t try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the “smiling” fox. (Malcolm X’s God’s Judgement of White America aka The Chickens Come Home to Roost)
The very outspoken American television personality and radio host Steven A. Smith never holds his tongue. Smith has angered people on many occasions with his unpopular views. Not too long ago, Smith was suspended by ESPN for controversial comments he made regarding the Ray Rice scandal. Recently he’s been coming down hard on Black America and blames the black community for many of its woes.
Back in March of 2015, in front of a large audience at the Impact Symposium at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Smith stated that the Black community disenfranchises itself by being too loyal to the Democratic party. To quote Smith;
“My point is, when you go buy a house, do you look at one? When you go buy a car, do you look at one? When you wanna buy some clothes–when you wanna buy some shoes–when you wanna buy anything–you’ll shopping around… Do you know what you are saying to somebody? Let me see what you got to offer. WE DON’T DO THAT WITH POLITICS!”
Therefore, Smith proposed that, “for at least one election, every Black person vote Republican.” The ESPN host believes that this would send a message to both parties that the Black demographic is not under any one party’s control. (Click here to see full video)
In my opinion, many Afro-Americans and Progressives took what Smith said out of context. Many of us don’t see how mixing things up a bit will help us get our voices heard. From Smith’s perspective, he feels as though the Dem’s control too much of the Black vote and his proposal would loosen the Dem’s grip on Black politics as a whole. Also, it would create a seismic shift in the political landscape that would result in political parties focusing more of their attention on Afro-American related issues than ever before.
Smith isn’t suggesting that every Black American should join the GOP. He is simply suggesting that Black America should start thinking more strategically when playing the:
All Smith is doing is applying an age-old military strategy called: DIVIDE-AND-COUNQUER. In other words, Black America should use the Republican party against the Democratic Party to FIGHT EACH OTHER for our votes. By both major political parties fighting for the Black vote, it forces BOTH PARTIES to pay more attention to Black American issues. However, when Black America continues to consistently vote for one party during every major election cycle, overtime one party will neglect our needs, while the other party will take our needs for granted. To quote Smith:
“What [voting for one political party means], is that black folks in America are telling one party that we don’t give a damn about you. They’re telling the other party, you’ve got our vote. Therefore, you have labeled yourself disenfranchised because one party knows they got you under your thumb. The other party knows that they will never get you. THEN NOOOOBODY COME TO ADDRESS YOUR INTEREST!”
Lets put Steven A. Smith’s comments into perspective. What are OUR needs? We want more jobs, better pay, better schools, better safety and a better quality of live overall. Guess what? OUR NEEDS ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM 90 PERCENT OF AMERICANS. Whether they deliver or not, both political parties do have a vested interest in improving ALL their constituents quality of life. What each party fundamentally disagree on is how to properly do it. These disagreements are usually based on silly ideological views that go along the Right-Left political paradigm.
Many of us already know that politicians on the Right end of the spectrum have more conservative views, while politicians on the Left has more liberal/progressive views. Each party typically creates legislation along these philosophical lines. However, the only way bills make it out of Congress is when both parties come to the CENTER. Nevertheless, many politicians are usually pulled away from the center by their larger, more EXTREME conservative or liberal factions. Thus, makes it becomes more difficult for politicians from both sides to get anything done. This is the depressing political landscape ALL Americans are under at this moment.
While the Right and the Left are fighting over the little things, they are leaving millions of Americans behind. If most Americans are left behind Black Americans are usually kicked to the curb. Therefore, where do Black America fit with all of this Left-Right nonsense? The truth is Black America will never get their voices heard with these stubborn-ass politicians playing these childish-ass games. If we continue to wait on each party to squash their school-yard beef. we will never get our voices heard. Therefore, while our beloved democrats continues to go back and forth with Republicans, how about we start going behind their backs and see what the other side has to offer?
Before you continue reading, think about any political issue and ask yourself these questions: Do my beliefs go along liberal or conservative lines? Are my overall views more liberal, more conservative or neither? Regardless of political affiliation, does this candidate have my best interest? Black America’s best interest? And even America’s best interest?
In a previous ItsBiggerThanRacism article, titled “Is Gay the New Black?” I made case for why it should be in Black America’s best interest to separate the gay rights agenda from the Black agenda. The separation of Black and gay rights would be in Black gays best interest because they too need a platform to address their needs as Afro-Americans. The gay community couldn’t possibly address Black cultural issues effectively. With that said, it also is in the best interest that the Black agenda separates itself from the liberal agenda because they too are really incapable of addressing all of Black America’s needs.
I’m not suggesting that Black America should completely cut ties with the Democratic party and jump on the Republican. What I’m suggesting we do during each election cycle is place each one of our issues on the table and see which party will serve our best interest. Maybe conservatives have a better political solution for some of our issues, while the liberals may have a better solution for other political issues. If neither political party is capable of helping us, then we should start looking more inward for the solutions.
Why continue to push OUR agenda with the broader Liberal agenda when we have our own problems to worry a about? The Liberal agenda is too broad and cluttered with other voices for OUR voices to be heard. Therefore, we shouldn’t keep putting all of our eggs into one basket.
We are classified as a minority, but WE ARE NOT THE ONLY MINORITY. The Dem’s serves other minority groups, women, gays, handicap, and etc. You cannot possibly expect Liberals to answer everyone’s grievances. Whose needs are met first? More importantly, why are their needs considered more important to tackle than others? Therefore, lets start giving ourselves more political options and stop closing the door to other political power-players who may be able to actually get something done.
Political party and a political ideology are two different things. Black America’s political ideology should be different from our political affiliation. And the entire fate of our race/culture should not be in the hands of outsiders who don’t understand our problems. Therefore, the Black Agenda should be its OWN POLITICAL PARTY that goes along its own philosophical paradigm. This will help to open up a new door that will help to better serve our people’s interest. Plus, our leaders will have MORE OPTIONS- political allies and more tools to their disposal that will help better address the people’s needs.
Lets look at Smith’s comments from a more strategic perspective. With Black America only being 13.5% of the population, we are a large minority, but still a small fish in a large ocean. If you look throughout history, the only way a smaller army can beat a larger army is through divide and conquer. Black America is primarily being used to strengthened the Dem’s number and push away more conservative/moderate democrats further to the right. As a result, Black America’s undying loyalty to the Dem’s only serves to strengthen both political party’s. If we want our voices to be heard, we are going to have to separate ourselves from the Democratic party. Therefore, instead of using OUR voting power to strengthen one political party, we should use it to weaken both political parties.
We can’t continue cater to one political party and exclude the other. It will only serve to strengthen the segregated side. In a previous ItsBiggerThanRacism article titled, “What went wrong with integration?” I explained that segregation overtime only strengthens the segregated factions and forces them to come together under one radicalize umbrella. Therefore, when Black Americans, who has historically been isolated by Southern white conservative, start isolating ALL conservatives and conservative thinking people, we only move them further and further to the right and swell the Republican party’s numbers. We also drive away many of our conservative brothas and sistas to the right as well.
This argument can also be made for Conservatives. The more conservatives isolate gays, abortion rights advocates, atheist, global warming supporters and…well…BLACK PEOPLE, the more they force these factions move further and further to the left.
Nevertheless, as I mentioned in a previous article titled, “What Exactly Is Black Enough” I made the argument that Afro-Americans are more than just a race or a color, we are a FULL-FLEDGED CULTURE. Like most cultures, all of our problems can’t be solved politically. Yet, we rely too much on politics and government to solve most of our issues. I know this may sadden many Progressives, but the GOVERNMENT DOES NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE ANSWER! Therefore, relying totally on government for everything only works against us because it closes the doors to potential allies outside of government. Ergo, our reliance on only one political party only makes things worse.
From a political perspective, Black America is a reliable Democratic voting bloc. However, from a cultural perspective Afro-Americans have conservative and liberal opinions on a variety of national issues such as separation of church and state, taxes, gay rights, education, unions, crime, welfare, the war on terrorism, etc. The reason why many of us vote Democrat is because, as Steven A. Smith previously stated, we are under the false belief that the Democrats were the only party who supported the Civil Rights movement and Republicans were against it.
In reality, both parties center around the idea that an independent Black movement would jeopardize both parties (the Dem’s in particular). In the article I mentioned above titled, “What Went Wrong With Integration?” I explained my reasoning behind the push for integration by liberal politicians (from both parties). I came to the conclusion that the push for integration was an attempt to cripple the growing Black nationalist movement that was growing more and more independent. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at this documentary, in which former FBI agent and provocateur, Darthard Perry, spoke on how it was his mission to break up this growing independent movement in the Black community.
In the end, politicians weren’t trying to divide the black vote; their intentions were to CONTROL THE BLACK VOTE through voter consolidation. This actually makes it easier to use divisive political tactics such as gerrymandering. To get a better understanding of what I’m talking about, listen this speech by Malcolm X.
Nevertheless, Smith is right, if Black America wants to stop disenfranchising ourselves Black voters need to stop being so predictable every time we go to the polls. To quote Smith:
“ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS UPSET THE APPLE CART BY NOT DOING THE PREDICTABLE AND IT WILL FORCE EVERYONE TO PAY ATTENTION TO US BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS WILL BE AFRAID TO LOSE OUR VOTES AND THE REPUBLICANS WILL SAY, ‘wait, we might have a chance to get it. Then, all of a sudden, everyone will cater to OUR needs like the cater to Jewish folks, to White folks, and to the young and suddenly we won’t be disenfranchised anymore. “
We can argue all day whether Smith’s tactics would work or not, but reality is that we have to be more strategic with our vote if we plan on getting anything from our politicians.
Politics is not a game of chance, its GAME OF STRATEGY. Politics is Chess, not Checkers. It’s poker on a world stage. You don’t win with votes alone, you win with a strategic game-plan and a damn good poker-face. The less predictable you are, the harder it is for your opponents to figure out your next move. However, if our political opponents know that all we do is march, protest, rally and start a million-man and continue voting Democrat, then we play right into their hands. What I and Steven A. Smith are really trying to say is, like any game of strategy YOU NEVER LET YOUR OPPONENT KNOW YOUR NEXT MOVE.
———————————————>STAY TUNE FOR PART TWO<—————————————————-