Black youth want progression, not just reform in order to protect their future.
At an October town hall, college student Cedric Humphrey asked Biden, “Many people believe the true swing voters in this election will be Black voters under 30 – not because they’re voting for Trump, but because they won’t vote at all. Besides ‘you ain’t Black’, what do you have to say to young Black voters who see voting for you as further participation in a system that continually failed to protect them?”
With anti-racism protests raging across America, Black youth organizers and resistors have an idea of a progressive government that is not achieved by settling for incremental reforms.
In fact, one of the main ideological forces behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, is the idea of completely rejecting the broken status quo. Progressive Black youth want to dismantle these unequal practises and institutions altogether. Young people are the future of the nation’s body politic, so it is essential that their views are both understood and accommodated, and that they feel encouraged to participate in the process.
For many, their only real incentive to vote this time around is for the sake of those directly endangered by Trump’s reign, including themselves. These Black voters, some of which also fall under other minority groups such as queer or non-binary, are exceedingly aware that it is not safe living under Trump’s endorsement of white suremisict factions and gay rights opposition.
As the battle for the White House intensifies in the final days before the election, Black Americans are facing an unprecedented crisis – one in 1,000 have died of the virus and Black people are twice as likely to have lost their job.
Lauren Adams, (22) who will be voting for Biden, talked about how participating in any political election as it stands vastly compromises her moral views. “Any candidate running for a position within our political system as it currently exists, on stolen land, is inherently illegitimate and not ideal to me,” she says. “But I believe that harm reduction is a real, important thing, and I just feel like if Biden is nominating a Supreme Court justice and choosing his cabinet, I can at least expect that less-evil human beings will be chosen for those positions.”
Darnisha Hale, a 24-year-old woman from Austin, is also casting a harm reduction vote for Biden. “Biden is the perfect example of someone who we can’t trust to make any progressive decisions,” she says. “He’ll probably end up more like an Obama lite, pun intended, than anything close to even a Bernie Sanders, let alone anyone I would call ideal.”
Regardless of who wins this year’s election, people like 22-year-old Xavier Mason from the South Side of Chicago, are looking forward to continuing the fight for progressive change.
“I don’t want us to get complacent if Biden wins,” Mason says. “He does not represent the things we’ve been in the streets protesting for. They will still be killing black people. They will still be separating immigrant families.”
According to Wisconsin state representative David Bowen, the pandemic, economic recession and horrific racial injustice have sparked a “righteous anger” that should be “a wake-up call” to Democrats.
“We can’t piecemeal our way out of the problems that have accumulated over decades, or make small incremental changes to give people hope that this system will be accountable to them”.With young people historically having been less likely to vote in an election, Democrats are now pushing to get the future of their party to show up. With 4 in 10 eligible Black voters being a millennial or part of generation Z, young people are crucial.