This week the South Carolina primary and black voters was the most discussed topic for our readers. We share your letters for “Fear Pervades Black Politics, and Makes Us Agents of Our Own Oppression.”
In “Fear Pervades Black Politics, and Makes Us Agents of Our Own Oppression” Glen Ford analyzing the South Carolina Democratic primary results, argues that fear is largely driving black voters support for Joe Biden in the race.
Paul Billings writes:
“Some of Joe Biden’s ‘accomplishments’- 1) As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden subjected Anita Hill to very aggressive/hostile questioning, during Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings; he subsequently expressed ‘regret’. 2) Championed the ‘Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act’ (1994 crime law), which increased incarceration of African Americans, 3) Supported Bush II’s war on Iraq in 2002, which has now cost taxpayers circa $6 trillion (Costs of war; Link: watson.brown.edu/costsofwar), 4) Enthusiastic backer of the ‘Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act’ (BAPCPA), backed by Banking industry, made it harder for people (primarily working people, students) to declare Ch 7 bankruptcy.
“By engineering a Biden ‘victory’ on Super Tuesday, the DNC and their corporate backers have effectively blocked Bernie Sanders from getting the Democratic nomination in July. Not surprisingly, we are now seeing a Joe Biden ‘makeover’ by the DNC and corporate media who are busy promoting him as ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist.’ The reality -- Joe Biden never saw a weapons system, war or corporate interest he did not support. Following his ‘wins’ on Tues, Dow was up > 1000 points, driven by healthcare stocks, who correctly anticipate there will be no changes in the health industry -- these companies will continue making $ billions in profits from working people, whoever wins in Nov. Unfortunately, of all of the potential candidates, Joe Biden is the weakest, barely able to put together a coherent statement. Thus, the biggest winner from Tuesday was Trump.
“You conclude your piece stating ‘Black youth see the truth, and will act on it, we are certain.’ Lets hope youth of all races and ethnicity will ‘see the truth and act on it’ as well.”
Sarah Mckee writes:
“I’m white, 80 years old, a former federal prosecutor, and I value the Black Agenda Report. Yesterday’s primary results had flummoxed me. One reason was that I’d done a standout for Sanders near our neighborhood polling place in Western Massachusetts.
“Seeing a Sanders sign, at least a quarter of the passing cars had people who smiled, waved, gave fist pumps, honked, or any combination thereof. At least half of the cars turning in to the polling place did the same.
“The people responding favorably were black, brown, white, male, female, young, middle-aged, old, bearded, clean shaven, South East Asian (an immigrant I know pretty well), apparently Pacific Islander, apparently Native American. In nearly 3 hours: 4 boos, 3 thumbs down; some overlap there.
“But where was many voters’ memory of how Biden had treated that brave, brave, woman, Professor Anita Hill? That’s burned into my synapses. How he silenced the other women willing to testify to the same effect? Biden and the Crime Control Act of 1994? The Act is ancient history now. But it's devastating communities of color still. Biden and student debt undischargeable in bankruptcy -- hardest on women of color, because of their double -- triple if they’re mothers — discrimination whammy in the workplace?
“I could go on. But you know the list, and doubtless know many more such items than I. Your article makes sense of the results for me. It’s both because of that disastrous debate — I lasted 38 minutes — and because of the fear, the inherited fear, the bone-deep fear, the grievous fear, that you describe.”
Matthieu Caldwell writes:
“Your article very eloquently summed up exactly how I feel about what is going on with the Democratic primary. As one of two black male educators in a predominately black and brown school in Aurora, Colorado, I understand the battle that is going on within the black community and the Democratic party. The corporate democrats that run Colorado politics have done a disservice to black and brown youth by insisting on privatizing education and hoarding the enormous tax revenues from the legal marijuana industry. As a Biology teacher, I also point out the objective fact that many of the Democratic politicians speak out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to environmental justice. They publicly claim to stand up to the fossil fuel industry but privately cower to fossil fuel industry since they fill their campaign coffers. The students I teach are between the age of 14 and 16 and are beginning to grasp the conflict occurring within the Democratic Party and unfortunately many of the black students echo their parents fears about the electability of Sanders. Conversely many of my Hispanic students who tend to be more socially conservative see through the lies of the Democratic establishment and are ardently pro Sanders. The media’s narrative about Biden being an ally of Black America is only throwing flames on this fire. Thank you for maintaining your integrity in these trying times, Black Agenda report remains one of the most reliable sources of commentary on issues that matter!”
Sharon Coleman writes:
“What a sad characterization of a people, whom did you poll to reach this assumption? As if all of us were polled, as if we were not educated about politics and policy. To relegate our political concerns to fear is suggestive and ludicrous. Many of us are weighing the benefits of this process and our slow progress. Don't imply that we are afraid, maybe we see no difference in the parties or have lost faith in this process.”
Mark F. Buckley writes:
“Watch the first two episodes of American Lives by Ken Burns on Amazon Prime, about the women's suffragette movement of the 19th century. It was only after decades of betrayal by supposedly sympathetic white men that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony realized that the women's suffragette movement was exactly that, a women's movement. They kicked all the men out. Similarly for racial minorities, the struggle for economic inclusion and freedom from police brutality must always be led by minorities themselves. Joe Biden does not care about you. (He doesn't care about me either, but that is both the same and a different discussion.)”
This election season is bringing new contradictions to the fore of American politics. Our struggle will be to understand and use them in our movement for peace and justice.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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