Stacey Abrams recent comments regarding the Democratic Party’s seeming avoidance of the term “black” versus the use of other ethnic or demographic references such as “woman of color”, “people of color” or LGBTQ+ has raised a bit of a row among the members of the “New Black Media.” A recent YouTube video depicts the 2022 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate explaining why the term is not used by herself or by other Democratic surrogates.
Ms Abrams explains in the video that proposing policies that would benefit black people in particular would not be wise given that, on a national level, blacks make up approximately 12% of the population. Discussing distinct policies aimed solely at helping blacks given their proportion of the population would get black candidates in trouble with non-black donors. Using terms such as “minorities”, “poor people”, “woman of color” or “people of color” keeps references to ethnicity vague and palpable for non-black donors.
Observers of political media can’t help but notice that non-black surrogates, political media strategists, and non-black candidates rarely if ever use “black” when describing that portion of the electorate that could benefit from intentionally designed income transfer programs. Progressives rather push the “We’re all in this boat together” diatribe than focus on, for example, serious programs for closing the household wealth gap between blacks and whites.
Such policy action plans would require specific recognition of the black racial group and discussion of the economic, financial, and legal components underlying discrimination against this group. Fortunately for Georgia and national Democrats, Ms Abrams appears willing to tow the “We’re all in the same boat together” line to ensure non-ruffling of feathers while bringing a heaping spoonful of black votes to the polls this November.
Georgia’s black voters should bear in mind the inconvenient truth of Ms Abrams’ observation; that the proportion of black voters in Georgia does not provide blacks with the leverage necessary to produce policy outcomes of their liking. What good is a “black slate” of voters if each voting cycle produces an empty plate?
Ms Abrams and any other member of the black political class that uses vague ethnic and class references to describe blacks should reconsider whether running for office is an effective mechanism for channeling benefits to black people. If you cannot even mention them by name, then you are less likely to properly denote and channel benefits to the recipients you claim to want to help.
Do blacks really need electoral candidates whose mission is to run for office so that they can represent everyone else? Ms Abrams and other members of the black political class may want to design and deploy another political power mechanism that allows them to focus on the electorate that shares their heritage, lineage, and ethnicity while not worrying about offending people who don’t share their history.
27 May 2022
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