Democratic Underground

A Question from an African American
July 10, 2001
by Desiree Lindsay

A Question from an African American

I've written here before. I've spoken of my dad's terrible experience with the 2000 Election. So it should be no surprise that I have paid close attention to every move the GOP has made against blacks nationally and in Florida.

As far back as I can recall, we as a people have never been as embattled as we seem to be since this administration stole its way into power. And I find myself torn apart about it. We have the 2000 election, it's aftermath, and now the call for all out war against us by the Florida Republican Chairman.

Today, in response to this fact, I had one of the most wonderful experiences in my life when a friend of mine, Steve, who's white, was one of a panel of recipients receiving an award for their constant work since the coup.

Our circle of friends showed up to support him, and when his name was called we all were so proud. When Steve got ready to go on stage, he grabbed me and our friend Jose. We both tried to pull away but he had a steel grip on us and dragged us to the stage with him.

The first thing he did after he said thank you was to take my hand and tell the audience "this lady here is my best friend." With the other hand he grabbed Jose, a Hispanic, and said "and this man is my best friend."

"When they hurt, so do I, and they are being tossed around big-time these days. Jose's people are being used like they are some commodity by Republicans, jockeying to get their votes. And my friend Des's people are being badmouthed and tossed away because the Republicans can't seem to break the hold Dems have on this group and they are a solid voting block. So they have decided to just write them off and go on the attack - a tactic that is being done because they anticipate getting a large Latino vote because they know the newer ones are not going to know better. It's annoying to me that they are as blatant as they are, but one main reason for it is because there was no public outcry from other Americans, whether they are black or not. They think that no one from the their core base, white Americans, really cares about how African Americans and other minorities were and are treated. All these months, Bush pretty much just ignored us and stuck to reaching out to Hispanics. But what changed him? The poll that said Americans believe that he and the GOP have a bad problem with blacks and that they view this largely as Bush's fault. So he plans another scripted photo-op with inner city kids and plans a July 4th celebration filled with Black choirs.

"None of this is sincere, though. He simply wants to please those moderates that are uncomfortable with overt racism. But there is a way to make sure Bush does not take this charge lightly; we have got to speak up!

"I cannot argue if the African-American electorate says that no one cares unless they are black, considering what's been thrown at them, and the silence over this thing. This is what we have to change; our voices should be not be silent.

"Remember, the Abolilionist movement didn't really take off until whites combined with blacks to end slavery. The same has to happen here if we are to get this administration to listen. Their struggles must be ours. These are my people as well, and their pain is mine. Next time, it could be me or you that they target, and if we don't care now, no one will care then. Color me black or brown if you want to, but I won't sit passively by and let the GOP kick my friends around just because their party is unwilling to do the real work needed to make amends and try to build trust between them.

"Instead I'll say, when Des and Jose are in pain, then so am I. And so should you be."

I was in tears by the end of his speech. It was truthful and very moving. Also, it made me think.

Is that true? Do many Americans blow off this situation as simply irrelevant?

It is bothering me. So much so that I had to write, just to get some feedback from people. My last best hope has always been that there are decent Americans out there, that oppose this assault on the African-American community at large.

If there are, they might be prevented to speak out about it. But my hope has been that if they did have the chance, they would complain to the mountain tops about the injustice. If I can't hang on to that, I have nothing.

So now I ask, did I have that wrong? Is this as important to the majority as it is to the minority? God, I hope so.


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