America Will Focus On Russia As Long As It Doesn’t Have To Talk About Black Voter Suppression

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Here’s how the last 365 days of American politics has worked:
  1. White people are terrified that the country is racist enough to elect Donald Trump as President. Black people are not. We tried to tell them.
  2. White people stares directly at Bernie Sanders’ headass face decide that the best recourse is to stop talking about race and embrace white people who voted based on their whiteness and disdain for everyone who isn’t white.
  3. Black people ignore that stupidity.
  4. Black people remind white people that Donald Trump is president pretty much solely because white people voted for him. White people still spend the whole year doing profiles on White people who voted for Trump. Each of those profiles has some sort of racist aspect of the White person’s reasoning. White people are still befuddled.
  5. Instead of reminding fellow White people that it’s their doing that has caused this political climate, White people largely preached to choirs and/or told Black people that we were resisting wrong.
  6. White people continued to vote exactly how they voted last year and Black people said, “f*ck it we’ll do it ourselves” and continued show up and show out to the polls. And on Tuesday night, the Democrats swept Virginia and New Jersey elections.
  7. Now White people on the left can pat themselves on the back and focus on Russia and its role in getting Trump elected last year.
The end. But wait. Let’s pause right there at the seventh point. The underlying story of the past year has been trying to decipher just how much Russia impacted the election. The story is appealing for a few reasons. One, Russian collusion is the quickest route to a Trump impeachment without having to do any work to change the country. Second, and most importantly, focusing on an outside reason for Trump winning the election allows the country to dismiss its own role in denying black people the right to vote – which played as much of a role in Trump winning the election as any fake news Facebook article. What America doesn’t want to talk about is the fact that without a racist prison industrial complex that has disenfranchised millions of black people. Or how gerrymandering’s main purpose is to minimize the impact of black votes. After all, Gerrymandering – and the Electoral College – became the reason Trump won an election in which he lost the popular vote. Let’s not forget that the 2016 election was the first election without protection from the Voting Rights Act. These aren’t coincidences and these are just as important reasons Donald Trump is President. Because, unless Russia ran an ad on Facebook I didn’t see saying Outkast was coming back if Trump won, I’m not sure how Russian collusion and misinformation impacted the black vote. The suppressed Black vote is only going to be further buried now that the Democrats won on Tuesday. Just like how America couldn’t wait to declare racism over after Obama was elected, White folks just can’t wait to pretend like gerrymandering doesn’t matter because black people overcame for one night and shook up the country.

And now we have to fight even harder to fight for voting rights because the country would rather pretend the issues doesn’t exist especially after a big political win. Instead they will focus on Russia because this country is masterful at pretending its problems are external and not part of systemic issues ingrained into the American way of life. Yes, it’s important to think about Russia, but one important way to neutralize their influence is to offset votes they’ve changed by allowing as many black people to vote as possible. And then we’ll see if America values their votes more than our freedom.

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