At this point it’s no longer a secret to anyone but Democratic politicians that their way forward is to reinforce the voter franchise, the undermining of which has primarily affected black and poor voters. In the wake of Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama, however, commentary has largely seem to have taken the franchise for granted. Black voters were lauded for tipping the scales against a literal pedophile, but hardly any ink has been spilled to talk about the importance of the franchise.
As Talynn Kel notes, this isn’t the first time this has happened, and won’t be the last.
Over the last few months, we watched white supremacy work overtime to disenfranchise voters and advocate for a known racist and alleged sexual abuser to take public office. And now that the election is over — and we see from the exit polls that Black women played a pivotal role in electing Doug Jones, the first Democrat Alabama senator in 25 years — we must, in typical fashion, watch as white supremacy skews the narrative to minimize and erase the impact and importance of Black women.
“They saved us,” white people say, erasing our personal motives and structuring the narrative to prioritize whiteness. As usual with white supremacy, our votes aren’t being viewed as designed to save us — they’re being viewed as designed to save white people. To save the country.
And meanwhile, this country we saved? It will inevitably continue to turn its back on us. “This is not just a question about African American voters,” Doug Jones said. “This election is about everybody in the state.” But somehow, that American “everybody” seems to rarely, if ever, include Black women.
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