It seems so simple. People love the idea of not electing a racist. At least, on paper, they do. Then, they walk into a booth and elect one.
But right now, for a limited time only, you can remove the problem!
“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy. It’s a pretty easy mistake to make: People are in our faces. Policies are distant. We are particularly poor at seeing the policies lurking behind the struggles of people.”
— Devin Etcitty (@dncedev) July 24, 2021
A quick aside about racists.
Earlier today, David French of the Dispatch sent out a newsletter that sparked this fire. He said that the prevailing structural racism that invades our politics isn’t a weakness. Instead, he says, it’s reality.
“But even in the midst of all this complexity,” French wrote this Sunday, “some things are still clearly true. We still live with the legacy of the discriminatory structures our forefathers created. Our obligation to seek justice does not depend on a finding of personal fault. “
So this isn’t very easy. No person is inherently racist, and racism isn’t linked to who you are. You tend to know people who do anti-racist and racist things in the course of their day.
Even the indelible Ibram X Kendi would not call any single person a racist. However, he would acknowledge racist and anti-racist acts. Some legislators are doing racism in the course of their work. Some of those same legislators put their votes behind anti-racism.
A council member in Tarrant, Alabama, is facing calls to resign after blurting out a racist slur to refer to one of his Black colleagues. pic.twitter.com/pwDWTJ9CKR
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 21, 2021
This councilman might run for mayor. And could win just based on partisan stripes.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The audience and framework of Politicus are shaped by “real liberal politics.” However, that doesn’t mean that real liberal racism doesn’t exist. Politicos of all stripes make errors and commit racism.
Recently, however, we have seen objectively more conservative racism. An overwhelmingly white GOP has seen more incendiary language that finds its way into statehouses and school board meetings.
This language is telling not just of who the representative is but of the community. If he wins reelection into his local seat, what will that speak to? Is the community forgiving, excusing, or emboldening the council member? We don’t know.
If you ever wondered if Senator Lindsey Graham was a racist, take a listen as he qualifies segregation as “the good ole days of segregation!” African American Jamie Harrison is trying to win Graham’s South Carolina U-S Senate seat. pic.twitter.com/f3V1ReiPgw
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) October 14, 2020
Yet, we can be sure that no one who parrots racist language needs a microphone. In fact, someone using such language may not need a job in government. Instead, they can build a law firm or acquire a different role that doesn’t represent a diverse community.
Unfortunately, these jobs see the kind of tenure that Nikole Hannah-Jones should’ve seen from UNC.
Incumbents who want to keep their job or progress to better offices need a challenger who can win. That challenger can be you or literally anyone else in your community.
If you care about claims like this, look at the number of uncontested statehouses and local offices that saw elections come and go. People run unopposed all over the country.
If you’re reading this, remember that you can be a challenger. If you feel upset by the racist language and actions that bubble up from an office holder in your district, let them know. And if they don’t change, vote them out.
22,544 more LGBTQ+ elected officials are needed to reach equitable representation in state legislatures. And @runforsomething and @Sister_District want to help LGBTQ+ candidates run and win. Learn more here👇https://t.co/teG8BjmOfl
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) July 22, 2021
Also, remember that if they don’t change and remain unchallenged, someone needs to be that challenger. There is no way of combatting a problematic legislator if no one is pushing back.
No matter your party affiliation, color, class, creed, or identity, you can change and side your community. Still, you read this and asked yourself, “how do I get racists out of office?”
Maybe you went one step further halfway through this post and asked how to unseat an incumbent.
With a little planning, a few donations, and some community goal setting, I think your answer may be simple. It’s you.
Maybe you are the person who can finally get that one bigoted individual out of office.
I’ve enjoyed being an excitable “Gen Z Themfluencer,” working in politics, writing as a student journalist, and discussing what matters most. I currently produce and host podcasts, contribute to hyper-local news outlets and continue my education as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.