Why Stephen A. Smith Suggesting Blacks Vote Republican Proves We Still Have a Long Way To Go

It doesn’t speak well of the supposed progress made by black Americans when, a half-century after passage of the Voting Rights Act, it is deemed “controversial” that a black man would dare to suggest that black Americans vote Republican during an election cycle.

The black man of whom I speak is sports journalist and television and radio commentator Stephen A. Smith.

I will acknowledge up-front that Smith is no stranger to controversy, having made headlines previously on such topics as the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the domestic violence incident involving recently-retired NFL running back Ray Rice and inferring that black voters are being taken advantage of by the Democrat Party.

In this case, however, to describe Smith’s remarks as “controversial” is not only inaccurate but sad.

Why?

Because in 2015, despite decades of struggle and sacrifice on the part of black Americans to obtain the right to vote, the mere proposition that we break from generations of electoral tradition and vote Republican for once, instead of Democrat, still engenders reactions that border on stunned amazement.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong but, for a while now, I’ve been of the understanding that as a citizen of the United States, though I happen to be black – and conservative, I possess the right not only to vote but to cast that vote for whomever I choose  without regard to political party affiliation. Or has the Voting Rights Act been amended since 1965 and I missed it?

It is extremely disheartening that black Americans remain the only voting bloc that is presumed and expected to share a common political ideology based solely on the fact that we share a common racial identity.

This assumption is not only shared among non-blacks, but by blacks as well, many of whom will not hesitate to chastise you for exercising your right to not only vote as an individual, but also to think like one.

Trust me. Being a conservative who is black, I speak from experience.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of black Americans traditionally vote Democrat during major election cycles, to reject out-of-hand that a break with such tradition might actually be of benefit to black Americans, as Smith suggests, is not in keeping with the spirit of those who sacrificed so much to be viewed as individual human beings, created in the image of God, not monolithic robots programmed to instinctively think, vote and act alike solely on the basis of the color of their skin.

I appreciate Smith’s perspective, not because I concur with him necessarily, but because I’ve long believed that for one political party, in this case the Democrat Party, to be able to lay claim to possessing nearly 100 percent of black voter support is not healthy for the political process as a whole.

Corporate monopolies are never good. Political monopolies are even worse.

To suggest that black voters remain loyal to only one political agenda is nonsensical, myopic and self-defeating.

If black Americans are to truly benefit from our democratic (small ‘d’) electoral process to the fullest extent, we must be actively engaged in shaping the identity and agenda of both major parties – Democrat and Republican. That it still makes headlines when black voters volitionally decide to exercise their God-given individuality by debunking a stereotype (which, by the way, has gone unaddressed for far too long) is not progress.

What Stephen A. Smith has reminded us of is that when it comes to blacks and voting, it’s not only about providing access but changing attitudes (yes, even among blacks.)

We have a long way yet to go, folks.

A long way.

DBH

Related

Stephen A. Smith Wants All Black People to Vote Republican in 2016. Um, ok.

Blacks, Democrats, and Republicans

4 thoughts on “Why Stephen A. Smith Suggesting Blacks Vote Republican Proves We Still Have a Long Way To Go

  1. JoanE Holder

    Hi, Darrell!   I wondered if/when you would be weighing in on this particular item.   When I first read the article, I immediately wondered what your take on it would be.   It got me wondering – and I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts in actual words – if perhaps he stated things the way he did so that he would be seen as not quite so controversial. 

    In other words, since he’s a public figure, and since his salary relies heavily on his popularity with sports-viewers, he would be less likely to call it for what it is at face value, which is what you do.  You tell things like they are without sugar coating.   Since his profession is what it is, could it be possible that he thinks the same as you, but has to be more careful in how he approaches things because of his position?  The way he stated things makes it obvious to me that he is trying to keep up appearances as “one of us”, as opposed to “one of them”.   

    Just my thoughts.   And I always love to hear your take on things.    JoanH

    From: Just Thinking…for Myself To: jholder2@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2015 2:52 PM Subject: [New post] Why Stephen A. Smith Suggesting Blacks Vote Republican Proves We Still Have a Long Way To Go #yiv3059988002 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3059988002 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3059988002 a.yiv3059988002primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3059988002 a.yiv3059988002primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3059988002 a.yiv3059988002primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3059988002 a.yiv3059988002primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3059988002 WordPress.com | Darrell posted: “It doesn’t speak well of the supposed progress made by black Americans when, a half-century after passage of the Voting Rights Act, it is deemed “controversial” that a black man would dare to suggest that black Americans vote Republican during an election” | |

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    1. Hi, Joan, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it. to answer your question, in a word, yes, I do believe Smith and I are in similar ideological camps but, given his public persona, he is less free to make known his political alliances as it could be detrimental to his career. And that’s sad. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say Smith is a Republican, however, I think it is clear he is not a Democrat as, given this and other similar comments he’s made, if I had to “categorize” him, I would say he is an Independent.

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  2. Reblogged this on THE WATCHMAN MENTOR and commented:
    Stephen A. Smith Suggesting Blacks Vote Republican: Should not be just a suggestion, but rather seen as prophetic declaration of impending doom. Its our duty to vote Republican and to select wisely those conservatives that remain true to the principles that have made America Great; love for God, love for family, love for country and Love for the constitution. To do anything less would be proof to the world, that Negros, facing total destruction were indeed “Stupid.” Instead Let us say,in the spirit of Nehemiah as he labored to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, in opposition to the enemies of the Jews: “set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows; said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:13-14)

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  3. Stephen A. Smith Suggesting Blacks Vote Republican: Should not be just a suggestion, but rather seen as prophetic declaration of impending doom. Its our duty to vote Republican and to select wisely those conservatives that remain true to the principles that have made America Great; love for God, love for family, love for country and Love for the constitution. To do anything less would be proof to the world, that Negros, facing total destruction were indeed “Stupid.” Instead Let us say,in the spirit of Nehemiah as he labored to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, in opposition to the enemies of the Jews: “set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows; said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:13-14)

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