Voting While Black: 4 Reasons We Get It Wrong


First and foremost, I do not believe that the African-American community is monolithic, and I am not generalizing about all persons.

Why Blacks mostly vote in blocs and against their own interest puzzles me. Hence, I thought to blog about it. First, I have no pony in the political process. I vision both (i.e., Republicans, Democrats) purposely inept, greedy, and corporate controlled. With this blog post, I look at African-Americans and their voting in a major metropolitan city (i.e., Chicago). As you well know, Chicago is one the most corrupt municipality in the world, hands down. In the city of big shoulders, most everything is decided by a backroom handshake or payoff, you can’t get anything worthwhile without paying up front. Thus, the city is saturated with cronyism, nepotism, and favoritism at every level of government. Suddenly I feel the need to clean myself with an elephant brush. Yikes!!!

Back to the lesson at hand, the city has a large African-American citizenry; yet some Blacks remain in disadvantage neighborhoods, underemployed or unemployed for the previous three decades. Hence the rub, why do African-Americans vote against their own self-interests and what are some reasons. I thought to put together (4) possible explanations on this phenomenon. This is neither scientific nor empirical research. It’s just something I wondered about. Being a native Chicagoan,  and African-American, I wondered how we got it wrong for so long.

1. Vote Democratic, They Care

African-Americans tend to vote in large blocs mainly behind Democratic candidates, I’m not completely sure why but they do. However, be warned, it is a misnomer that Democratic politicians care more than their Republican cohorts. One reason why Blacks tend to vote exclusively Democratic, I believe the Democratic Party somehow high jacked the civil rights movement and took credit for it. Hence convincing Black people that they care about their progress and welfare, nothing could be further from the truth.  As a reminder, more Republicans voted for the civil rights act than Democrats; also, Republicans supported ending slavery more  than Democrats. In fact, Nixon did more for the civil rights than Senator Kennedy at that time. Again, remember, politicians do things for themselves, then and now. Nevertheless, just take a look at Chicago and follow the money and you’ll clearly see who gets taken care of and who gets thrown under the bus. The Democrats crippled Black communities with large dosages of learned helplessness and “The Savior Syndrome”. I refer to this theory as the lone deliverer waiting patiently on the mountain top waiting to save us. On the other hand, shutting down over 50 Black and Brown neighborhood schools and shifting public money to private entities provides all the evidence one need. We must let go of foolish dreams and become critical thinkers and move away from politicians that work against us.

2. Blinded by Darkness: Blacks Vote by Race

Voting based on skin color is racist at best, and stupid at the very least. Simply because someone shares your phenotype or ethnic culture is not a reason to select him or her to political office. I suggest, most African-Americans in Chicago voted for President Barack Obama based solely on his skin color and the theory of vindication. For example, I’ve spent nearly five decades in Chicago, yet, I never heard of president Obama before his presidency run. Never, and I mean this, I never heard of him, not once. Thus, I did not vote for him. But although he wasn’t vetted the Black community they stormed to the polling booths by the thousands. Yet, not once, investigating who this former nobody was. Even so, this was our time; finally, the intellectually inferior complex will disappear from the consciousness of proverbial White and Black racists. However, we were bamboozled again, as you know, politicians cannot change their strips. Sadly, the president like all politicians followed the corporate money, donations, grants, or church tides while leaving many looking for meaningful employment.

3. Political Illiteracy

I suspect a viable explanation for the continued Democratic support resides in our political illiteracy. As a result, we lack an operational cognitive process that vet and select candidates who support our interests. Not surprisingly, some Blacks don’t pick candidates based on their records but how that candidate makes them feel. For example, in Chicago, the African-American communities helped elect Mayor Rahm Emanuel, why? From all accounts, he has only shown disdain for communities of color people (i.e., Black Americans and Chicano Americans), closing down schools, and stripping poor neighborhoods for gentrification. Yet, he was blindly elected to office because he worked for Barack Obama, now some scream and cry about social and political injustices. Our injustice was providing our blind vote behind the fictional nepotism that some believed that had become a part of. Yes, some imagesBlacks, I would say many, lived vicariously through the president and closed their eyes on this shady character (i.e., Mayor Emanuel). I wonder, how and what did he do to deserve anyone’s vote. In closing, as long as education and critical thinking remain opaque our literacy deficiencies will fail us.

4. African-American Churches: Inactive and Docile

Black churches ineffectiveness is revealed at the polls when a legion of uncritical and enslaved thinkers vote as pastors says so. There is a large percentage of African-Americans affiliated with Christianity, in fact, 83% of Black Americans are of the Christian faith. Thus, being a portion of the 17%, I find some Black churches useless for the liberation of Black folks. In fact, like the Democratic policies that inspire us to say, “Just hold on, don’t push it”, some Black preachers are solely in it for the money. They neither have the courage nor knowledge to challenge parishioners to think and read critically for themselves. Notwithstanding, some churches like political hustlers need sleep walkers who do not question authority. They need and demand blind obedience. Sadly, some African-Americans become socialized into the belief of “Later”.  In essence, they wait on deliverance while scoundrels and crooks get paid now. A warning, if your liberation is in the hands of your oppressors you will never be saved, never.

In short, I have no beef with any institutions or political parties. I look at things and wonder why, and then I write my mind on paper.  This blog post does not condemn politics, religion, or African-Americans, it’s only a loud thought.  Again, I’m amazed at how African-Americans follow a political party to their ultimate marginalization and demise.

The Invisible Dragon

Boy 1

In the Dead Zone of Capitalism: Lessons on the Violence of Inequality from Chicago

“What is taking place in Chicago is a window into a savage form of capitalism that transfers public wealth into private hands, believes that individuals have the right to profit from the loss of public goods and dissolves public considerations into private troubles.”  Read full article here: In the Dead Zone of Capitalism by Henry A. Giroux





Best and Worst Things about Living in a 1970′ Black Ghetto

“The lack of confidence of the Negro in himself and in his possibilities is what has kept him down. His mis-education has been a perfect success in this respect.” The Mis-Education of the Negro, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, 1933

give me a dam education

I grew up Black, poor, and mis-educated in a ghetto inside Chicago, Ill, in the 70’s. These horrific conditions created particular challenges for both my consciousness and my self-awareness until this day. I wonder, if the Ghetto is stuck in me or am I stuck with it. Its presence fits like skin yet I know it is a social construct created by human decisions.  It only exists in my subconscious, I think, well…I hope.  Occasionally, its hurricane force winds toss my (fragile) mindfulness around as if it were a doll. Its depraved memoirs rush in leaving me clinging to a board.  I hope against drowning from its dreadful episodes. Yet, as the tide subsides, so does the Ghetto’s harsh discrimination and sunlight reveals itself momentarily. Thankfully, I am pardon and this bring some joy, not much, but some. This is a familiarity, the nightmares and pain of the ghetto.

Who Dat Boy

In the 70’s, I lived in a Chicago neighborhood segregated and isolated by race, class, and hate. If you were poor, you lived in these isolated areas with other poor people. There was no race and class mixing, at least not from my point of view. You experienced everything through one lens, your race or class, and its culture (i.e., religion, ethnicity, privileges). There was vast episodes of intra-racial prejudice and discrimination that existed in the ghetto.  In fact, it exist today as it did yesterday with similar intensity.  For example,  middle class Blacks wanted nothing to do with lower class poor Negroes.  They conceptualized this group as lazy, shiftless, and not worth their time. I discovered this phenomenon as a child on weekend sabbaticals with my uncle and aunt.

My uncle and aunt were middle class in the 1970’s.  I can say they were a bit ‘uppity’ and had done well for themselves.  They were the American dream, they were what all Negroes wanted to be, well off. They lived at 9542 South King Drive, Elizabeth and Raymond Johnson. On some Saturdays, they would arrive in the hood and pick up my siblings and me for cultural reprogramming lessons. They wanted to get the laziness out of us.  Teach us which fork to use for a salad and being proper.  The first lesson was the ethics of hard work, my older brother and I would handpicked weeds and dandelions.   In the searing heat of the Chicago’s summer we baked bending and pulling weeds for hours. I hated this exercise with all my heart.  My aunt and uncle watched with judgment making sure each weed was uprooted properly or they would stare till you get it right.

Our second lesson was learning proper manners at the dinner table.  Although, I hated them telling me how to sit at table or use the proper fork, I believed they loved us.  I understood their love, but animosity had settled into my tiny consciousness. The hate of survival, which is the worst hate was already flourishing in me.  Survival hate makes you arrogant, mis-understood, and scary.  I was mad that my Uncle Ray and Aunt Tee were Black, educated, and well off; everything Ghetto occupants were not.  I did love them for what they attempted to do for my siblings and me however.  They taught me to never relinquished a work ethic or the motivation to do my best.  I instruct my grandchildren on table manners and tell then too ‘sit up properly’.  Thanks to Tee and uncle Ray.

Ghetto Hating

The worse condition is being born a Black child in poverty. It is more zombiesevil than cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Children of color (i.e., Latinos, Native Americans, and African-Americans) are not perceived, as…I do not know how to put this. Well, living in poverty seems to be viewed as a choice and thus you deserve it. This is a popular American’ perspective on urban inhabitants.  You see, colored children can starve from a lack of food, education, and resources in America without a social movement.  Our children are important but they are not viewed in a similar light as White children.  This is no secret.  We have always received less than our White counterparts (i.e., employment, housing, education). It was that way in 1970,  and that way now.

I am a bit concerned saying this lest I receive the label of a racist.  It has become common today, to charge African-Americans as being racists if they discuss racism. No kidding. I have inexplicably felt tension in my college classrooms when I speak about racism, and hegemony. You would think that we could have the discussion, but somehow, the subject has become taboo.  So, if you violate this unspoken treaty you are a race agitator. Sadly, it has become a part of the postmodern American society routine.

I remember eating sardines, tons of process lunch meats, and canned everything (i.e., spam, corn, peas).  My mother was a darling trying to protect us from the reality. While she rarely admitted it her howling for some Savior was always ignored. She like most Blacks had been sold a bill of good about a White Jesus.  He will be there, yea right, I was disgusted with her relationship with this damn myth.  We were poor and the Ghetto was filled with others like us. I would say angrily, where in the hell is this Jesus and what is taking him so damn long. Nothing made me more sad than the cries of my mother for this fictional character. This mythical belief creates a horrendous disorder for poor Blacks, it gives them patient.  And if it is one thing you do not need in the ghetto is patient.

The people in my community essentially hated their situation like I did. You see, hate is a disease like capitalism it needs to expand to stay alive. Our neighborhood eventually went from livable poverty to unsustainable despair. With the subtraction of industrial jobs living condition decreased overnight.  As a result, the Ghetto grew angrier and more vicious in the late 70’s.  I celebrated the fact it was not always externally bad, I mean we were hard on each other at times. For example, if you received something new by chance, say like a new bike.  Some of your friends were not just envious; they abandoned you for days.  I mean, they disappeared from the block, playground, and the candy store’s stoop.  Vanquished, M.I.A.  Why?  Because they hated that you got something new, most of us hated signs of progress or achievement by fellow ghettosmites.   We were most happy when we all lived equally, this means as fucked-up as the other family.  The pain of graduating or doing well received harsh rebukes, people would say, “Oh, you think you’re special” anybody could have done that”.  I heard this quite often, or ‘you think you’re so damn smart’.  I hear it today from Blacks peers behind close doors.

chicagoIn our community, the most hate went to the families who had two parents, and lived in a new constructed house. My vagabond cohorts and I hated these families with all our mediocre hearts. Some of the new inhabitants had the nerves to have “good hair” and nothing was worse than having good-ass hair in the Ghetto. This would fuel more hate than anything at least that’s what I thought. However, light-skinned Blacks were hated with even more strong feelings.  Who gave them the damn right to look White and speak proper, damn fake Honkie.  We need to have a lynching in the hood today. Hate and the ghetto, like bread and butter, Jeri curls and juice, they lived side by side.  Black history is self-hate in America.  Englewood was no different, neither was its occupants.

You faced hate every day, folks charged you with ‘acting white’ or the being better than us bullshit. The constant violence changed you whether you realized it or not. You became something that must only survive by any means necessary.  I do not think Malcolm X meant this shit when he said this.  There are countless untold stories of stuck consciousness as a result of the ghetto. These layers, when peeled back, unveiled unspeakable violence because of our culture of hate.  Incest, sexual abuse, rape, drug abuse, mental illness, and physical violence all resonated from hate and self-hate.  We hated ourselves and covered it with manipulative behaviors.  You see these things as a child and copy some of these ill-behaviors for life.  You know its wrong.  But hey, “If you do not tell, neither will I”. The worse secrets on earth lived in the ghetto.  We are aware of our decadence but we’re afraid to reveal them.  It would cause us to seek psychological help.

Hate is a blanket laid upon the consciousness, the heart, without our knowledge, in the ghetto. As a result, some poverty-stricken children have turned into hateful adults, unaware that their cognizance are corrupt. As I have discovered of my own consciousness, there are things I need to discard.  Bad things, things from the ghetto, they still exist in my psyche, I am ashamed at myself.   The things that are on my mental and spiritual hard drive need deleting. Indeed, it is highly likely that my mainframe is infected by ghetto malware from the 1970’s. I suggest such a thing because I lived in the ghetto too long, I caught a disease, hate.

to be continued…(Really)

The Ghetto Worst (Part 2)  Upcoming…

I cannot forget entering Dunbar High School in 1976 from the ‘low end’ (i.e. Englewood). I was now attending a school with students who grew up in communities like my uncle and aunt, the nice hoods (i.e., Chatham, Morgan Park, and Kenwood). Yet, I was still dirt poor, one pair of shoes, struggling to keep my slacks up, and wondering what the fuck. I could see a difference in the students; I knew who was poor and who was well off. Growing up in poverty, you possess a keen sense of details, hell your life depended on it. Dunbar Vocational High School was a flagship institution, unlike my community’s high schools Tilden and Englewood for which I refused to enroll in either. The ‘Bar’ was uppity’. The school was surrounded by condominiums, close to the lake, and minutes from ‘The Loop’. There was plenty intra-racial discrimination and prejudices’ bullying going on in the ‘Bar’. If you were a student not from one of those nice neighborhoods, it could be tough. Now the ‘Bar’ alumni’s get together pretending these cultural and sociological differences did not exist, Bullshit. Students from the projects and communities like Englewood were treated different. Some of us were poor and from the other side of the tracks. We felt the class divide as other impoverished Blacks has throughout our history in America…(to be continued)

Robert a Williams

Strangers Live Inside

Well, hello, long time no see. I would say so,

Where have you been spending your time? Here and there, working at the school…

(The Tao is an inescapable torch that does not burn.)

The early morning possess supernatural powers. I absorbed the darkness in the winter and spread the sunlight in spring. How does one find himself in himself? How do you begin a journey on a road that has ended? I love being in a transit state of nothingness…where I walk in silence and stillness. I struggle to explain the concept and thus I mumble incomprehensible with text.

I love text in many forms written, verbal, or imagination. However, mostly; I love text alone deep within the bottomless pit of reflection. I do not want to argue or develop discourse where it’s rejected nor considered. No, my superpowers are not great at all, in fact; one would not even notice my presence without a shout. I live and die daily within a formless world as I assess my evolution to my originality. Does this make sense? I think it does, surly a kindergartener understand the quest for eternal play.

What type of musing is this? I don’t know. I discovered it while asleep as I was awake. By the way, I think a quest is not about discovery as much as, wait a second…I had a thought. “Anyhows”, (Yes, a phrase used in many cultures) damnit…, I lost my thought again. Hmm, I was going somewhere but without failure I’ve arrived. How does one find what is not missing? I’ve tried several times to leave the Tao behind.

Will life be defined? No, I think not, only the individuals who need form to explain the unexplainable remains searching.

Hey where have you been, long time no see.  I would say so,

(All grammatical errors are purposeful)

The Invisible Dragon