I hope the title got to Democrats because there is some self-examination needed. The Democratic Party Platform and Democratic values are unquestionably the best for people of color and whites alike. But there is a dirty little secret. The Democratic Party and Progressives are not immune to the prejudices we like to attribute to Republicans.
I remember the response from a large percentage of white Progressives when Black Lives Matter interrupted O’Malley and Bernie Sanders at the Netroots 2015. They apparently forgot that change, including internal change, sometimes require discomfort lest the status quo remains. Why did they so readily buy into the Right’s extrapolation of Black Lives Matter into the assumption that it is excluding the lives of others? How difficult is it to see that Black Lives Matter is affirming, especially, since it is evident given the treatment of black lives systemically is abhorrent? Would adding in a more pleading and conforming form, Black Lives Mater TOO be more palatable?
The fact is that Democrats have a lot of work to do where race is concerned as well. After Doug Jones won Alabama because of an overperformance or the black vote Charles Barkley had a most prescient statement for the Democratic Party.
— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 13, 2017
“This is a wake-up call for Democrats,” said Charles Barkley. “The Democrats and I told Mr. Jones this, they’ve taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It is time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor. They’ve always had our votes, and they’ve abused our votes. And this is a wake-up call. We are in a great position now. But this is a wake-up call to do better for black people and poor white people.”
Democrats have a problem
The Intercept’s Shaun King wrote a piece titled “CHARLES BARKLEY GOT IT RIGHT: DEMOCRATS NEED TO RESPECT THE BLACK VOTERS PUTTING THEM IN POWER” has a damning reality that should embarrass Democrats.
Consider these facts: The United States does not have a single black governor of the 50 states; only one of the 50 states currently has an African-American attorney general; just two African-American Democrats serve in the United States Senate — two!
And it’s not just the politicians themselves, these imbalances are built into the power structures politicians have built around themselves, too. Every United States senator has a chief of staff. Guess how many of those are black? Two! And both of them are Republicans! Each U.S. senator has a communications director; only one is black, and he also works for a Republican. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez recently posted a photo of the last crop of interns to work for the party — and almost all the faces were white.
The problem runs from the rank and file all the way to the top of the national Democratic Party. The House minority leader is white and so is the Senate minority leader. The disparity between the loyalty of black voters and Democrats’ efforts to bring them into the circles of political and financial power extends to the way the party spends its money. Of the $759 million the Democratic Party spent on contractors back in 2010, a dismal 1.5 percent was spent on African-American groups.
King was even more explicit on this in his article in the Daily News titled “Senate Republicans continue to blow away their Democratic counterparts with hirings of new black staff members” that is a must-read. This reality sadly shows that Democratic Rhetoric is not always matching its actions.
It will do the Democratic Party to stop its grudge, strategically purging of Bernie Sanders proteges from leadership, and start working on its real problems. Reward your most loyal supporters. Be flexible to encourage independents who share your values. A whole lot is simmering that will bite them in the butt just when a blue wave should be materializing.