African-Americans to the Democratic Party: We’re Still Here

As an African-American Democrat, I share the core values of my political party.  That is why I am a Democrat.  Like me, most African-American Democrats do not want to see the mass deportation of undocumented citizens and families broken up.  That said, we would be completely within our right to give the side eye to political leaders who are falling over themselves to get on the ‘sanctuary state’ PR bandwagon.

When thousands of Blacks left Los Angeles County as a part of the Black flight into San Bernardino County and other far away cities in search of more affordable housing and better schools for their children there was no campaign urging us to stay—in fact some would argue cities paved the way to the freeway leading out of city limits. It is not lost on us that no one introduced legislation to help reverse the journey of our grandparents and great-grandparents from the west back to the South.  When the number of Blacks in California dipped below 10 percent there were no emergency meetings to confer on how cities could better meet the needs of their Black residents and provide sanctuary to those living in areas rife by gentrification to keep them from leaving.

Living in California—in particular Los Angeles County—there is no shortage of “sanctuary cities” with political leaders offering their residents promises of safety from arrest, detention and deportation based on solely on their citizenship status.   President Donald Trump has wasted no time in making good on the very same controversial campaign promises around immigration laws enforcement that many would agree put him into office.

To date Trump has signed orders to start construction of a border wall, expand authority to deport thousands, increase the number of detention cells and punish cities and states that refuse to cooperate—giving new meaning to the phrase ‘the ish is about to hit the fan.’

Most African-Americans abhor Trump and the Republican Party, but privately agree with Trump’s assertion that “illegal immigration” has harmed the Black community economically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that at the end of 2016, 7.8 percent of African-Americans were unemployed compared to that of 5.9 percent of Hispanics, 4.3 percent of whites and 2.6 percent of Asians.

With Blacks making up a disproportionate number of low-skilled workers, they find themselves more likely than any other group to be competing with undocumented workers for work in the construction, service and hospitality industries—areas where Blacks have traditionally been able to find work.

I know it’s politically incorrect to point this out but that doesn’t make it any less true.  And knowing this, when push came to shove, African-Americans still weren’t willing to let the possible security of their own economic welfare take precedence over everything else that’s wrong with Trump and the Republican Party. In other words, even though Trump told us that we have no jobs, horrible education and no safety or security, we did not buy into his ‘New Deal for Black America’ or the idea that in order for us to succeed others had to leave the country.  No, that is what disaffected white voters did last November—not my people.

But what have we gotten from the Democratic Party after decades of loyalty besides knowing that ethically we are on the right side of history?  What has our silence and ‘go along to get along’ attitude gotten us?   The Democratic Party expects (and usually receives) our blind allegiance election after election but what is really our return on investment as African-Americans?

Too often when it comes to the Democratic Party as a whole, we hand pick our battles based on which way the wind of popularity is blowing on an issue.  It’s no secret that African-Americans have been both the conscience and backbone of the Democratic Party seemingly ever since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and today we are just taken for granted right along with our issues.

I’m not sure which is worse.  The Democrats continued assumption of the Black vote or how most members of the Republican Party refuse to acknowledge the passage of the 15th Amendment granting Blacks the right to vote.

When Democrats fight for a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave, childcare, paid family and medical leave it means nothing if you can’t get the job to begin with.  Now is that all the fault of undocumented workers—absolutely not. But when you factor in a job market that demands more and more bilingual employees, employers who want to hire cheap labor, a workforce with generations of Blacks who are not prepared to meet the demands of 21st century employers, a lack of real educational opportunities as well as the highly exploitable position of the undocumented you have a recipe for disaster.

Instead of ignoring or talking around the issues that plague both Black and Brown people, Democrats need to sit down and talk through them as a Party and figure out how we can all come up—together.

Rebuilding the Democratic Party to meet the needs of everyone and not just some means acknowledging and addressing the unequal economic impact that exploiting the undocumented has had on African-Americans in the workforce—and not just the impact on the undocumented worker.  It also means being honest about the situation and not simply labeling those who dare to talk about it as racist.  It is not racist to want to figure out how all workers—both Black, Brown and otherwise—can work together to further everyone’s cause.  On the other hand, acting like what is happening to Blacks is not happening and hushing the voices of those who try to talk about it could be considered as such.

African-Americans know what it means to fight for human and civil rights and probably better than most—hence the constant replication of our tactics from the 60s Civil Rights Movement by various groups in the fight for theirs.  In 2017, the Democratic Party stands at a crossroads. We win elections by bringing people together and working together—not by taking each other’s support and votes for granted. As a Party we can do better.  Our core values demand it and the future success of the Democratic Party requires it.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • Observe

    I’ve been struggling with these same feelings all day and how to express them as eloquently as you have here. Beautiful, Jasmyne! <3<3<3

  • bluethru1994

    Wow, Jasmyne actually sounds a little like a republican. This is what several of us have been saying for years. Trump said it best about the Black citizens of the United States, “What do you have to lose in voting for me?” After I heard that, I thought to myself, how true is that. My suggestion to all that read this is to give him a chance. I am a middle of the road moderate myself. I want what is right for ALL United States citizens. Trump is not going away, so instead of fighting and protesting, lets see if we can work together. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

  • As an African-American Democrat, I share the core values of my political party. That is why I am a Democrat.

  • Harriet

    Hello Jasmyne. I found your article very interesting.

    I am an African American female Republican. A decedent of runaway slaves who escaped Democrat slave owners. One of my ancestors joined Republican President Abraham Lincoln’s Union army (Republican party was founded to help blacks, that’s why it was the most hated third party of it’s time). My grandfather fought in WWII serving in the segregated U.S. Army. The military was segregated under Democratic Presidents FDR & Truman. It was a Republican President named Eisenhower who ultimately desegregated the military. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow south and it was Democrats who stopped them from going to a white school. It was Democrats who blocked them from voting. President LBJ had a predominately Republican House and Senate. The predominately Republican House & Senate are the reason he was FORCED to push through civil rights laws. After realizing how much the Democratic party needed the black vote to survive LBJ famously said I’ll have those Ni***rs voting Democrat for the next 200 years. Good God he was right.

    My question for you is do you think African Americans who continue to vote Democrat are suffering from Stockholm syndrome? They clearly have identified with their captors. The pimps in the pulpit called Al Sharpton & Jessie Jackson with the help of the NAACP have sold our people back to the Democrat slave masters for money and fame. This is why black inner cities have not changed, some for 100 years. Why would a party that owned slaves and forced segregation all of a sudden one day want to help minorities. Dr. Martin Luther King’s entire fight was with the DEMOKKKRATS every step of the way. History tells us Democrats love nothing more than cheap labor. Since the Republicans abolished slavery they want the next best thing which is low wage illegal aliens, who will outnumber us and be more valuable to the Democrats someday and the Democrats wont need the black vote anymore. Don’t even get me started on the baffling reasons Mexican Americans vote Democrat. Most of them don’t know their history much like the blacks. They don’t know it was Democratic President James K. Polk that invaded Mexico and took their land. Why? because Democrats took over the schools in minority communities.

    Democrats will NEVER do ANYTHING for blacks when they know the community vote is automatic. This is why the black communities are a mess. We get excited Hillary Clinton says she carries hot sauce in her purse.What?The very definition of insanity is voting the same way for 100 years expecting different results, begging for it, never getting it, going right back to the voting booth to do it all over again. Why is it that every African American Republican family I know is doing really well. They produce the Ben Carsons’ of the world. Other African Americans call us black Republicans Uncle Toms and sell outs but WE are the ones who stuck by the party that freed our ancestors, desegregated our communities and gave us the right to vote(Can anyone say Selma?). We didn’t join our oppressors just so they can win elections.

    Imagine if there were a new Nazi Party and the new Nazi party told Jewish people ‘We now accept you. We’ll fight for you by giving you welfare, section 8 housing & free phones. This will take away your dignity & drive to do for yourself because we need you to rely on us for all needs you know, BIG government. However you need to stay in the ghettos because keeping you thuggish and stupid makes us more powerful. Yes this will make you the Jewish people less important politically & socially but we don’t care, we are the new Nazi party and you’re going to vote for us anyway to get all those freebies! Yes we the new Nazi party figured out away to continue to oppress you while taking your votes because you’re too stuck on stupid to notice”. Do you honestly think the Jewish people would ever go for that? Of course not! They would never put all their trust into the party that not only oppressed them but tried to destroy them.

    Most black Democrats are Christians. However they never heard of the Democrat Margret Sanger the KKK sympathizer who founded Planned Parenthood. She believed blacks were having too many babies and wanted to exterminate the low class race she abhorred by calling abortion ‘women’s health’. Democrats kill millions of black babies a year and female black Democrats march right along with them to protest for it and not against it. Meanwhile Republicans try to save black babies because God is a big part of being a Republican. YouTube has a speech by Malcolm X. He says in the speech “Blacks who vote Democrat are chumps and traitors to their race”. Many African Americans are starting to wake up and realize Trump was right “What do we have to lose”?. Many blacks ARE living in a ghetto nightmare. Created by who? Oh yes, the very party that enslaved our ancestors, DEMOKKKRATS!! You know the Party that founded the KKK.

    Question? Why did Black Lives Matter take form under President Obama and not Bush? Why does Chicago have 1,000 murders a year under the first black Democratic President? Obama was from Chicago, what did the Democratic black President do for his people? Nothing, because he’s a Democrat first and historically they do NOTHING for blacks. Can’t blame him for sticking to that Democratic script.
    African Americans cannot blame Republicans for ANYTHING because they largely never vote Republican. The African American community use to be ta MAJOR swing vote but we’ve sold our vote to the Democrats years ago. Why? because most of us are still stuck on that Democratic plantation. Fredrick Douglas use to say “I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress”.

    Apologies for any grammatical errors,
    Your #1 fan,

  • The “core values” of the Democratic party the last 25 years is to raise regressive taxes in order to give away the farm to public employees. That harms the poor, and harms minorities exponentially. The Democratic party of today is NOTHING like it was 25+ years ago.

  • Alice Izquierdo

    I disagree when you showed the statistics of unemployed you use hispanics as in u.s. born citizens just like you ,instead latin american immigrants.I have always believed that the opportunity is there for those who fight to have it.that job was always there if afican americans truly wanted it they should have worked hard for it.these illegal immigrants arent lazy at alll and thats why they get jobs.Btw it actually is very hard for an illegal immigrant to get decent jobs because almost all require social these people actually do all the jobs no one else wants to do.Or know of any u.s. citizen who would like to clean houses or be in the sun all day building houses.Think about it.