GARNER: We must vote

Welcome to the first ever issue of SarahSays! SarahSays, named after me, Sarah-Renee, is a column dedicated to giving students a way to discuss what is happening in our community as young black collegiate students.

SarahSays will allow weekly submissions from students across GSU’s campus: here you can ask questions, or voice your concerns. Then, I will give my opinion and/or advice for whatever you’re going through, or whatever our community is going through.

For this week’s issues, “Voices” is dedicated to voting: a student, who wanted to remain anonymous, voiced his opinion on the matter, and whether or not we as young black people, should vote.

“I believe that we [as black people] should not vote because our vote does not matter. I think that it is a form of [white people] playing mind games with us. I feel like by them tricking us into believing we have the power, we believe the illusion of being powerful, and that we are not actually powerful. Really, the [white man] has the power all along.”

His opinion is extremely loaded because it brings in the power dynamics that white people try to instill in black people, which would take us back to Willie Lynch letters, but it is also understandable.  White people have historically attempted to mentally control black people for centuries: whether that be by creating a division internally by separating us by skin tone, or whether that be removing the black man out of the family. It is no secret that white people have tried to control our minds, so I understand why anyone would be hesitant in allowing oneself to vote within a system they did not help construct.

However, if our vote were not powerful, politicians would not try to disenfranchise communities of colors. Keeping us from voting keeps our voices repressed, and halt social progression.

In that same breath, why are we voting in a constructed system that was designed to suppress us? If we as black people have never benefitted from this system, why are we still actively participating in it and not rearranging the order?

The justice, political and financial system, was not set up in favor of black people, and white people still benefit from that oppression to this day. Furthermore, no matter how hard we have worked, only some of us are privileged to achieve that same stature.  

Now, a lot of black people attribute that mentality to a defeatist attitude, but it is imperative that we as acknowledge that even though it is somewhat defeatist, it is also our reality. We can recognize that we are many steps behind in achieving the same luxuries that are allotted to white people, and while some of us are able to accomplish those luxuries, there are psychological and systemic oppressions that keep a lot of us from receiving such luxuries.

For example, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, black people make up the majority of impoverished people in the United States (22%), despite us only making up 13% of the U.S. population. This is reinforced generationally through education, socioeconomic placement and of course… disenfranchisement.

Not educating poor black people on the power of their vote, keeps a lot of people from voting in their better interest, which a lot of the times, is not the Republican candidate.

Even if our right to vote is an illusion of our power, we should exercise that right because it still affects change. When we vote, and this has been proven, we leave an impact.

Republicans are now running Congress, and with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court is far more conservative than liberal and conservative ideologies have been proven more harmful to black people than liberal.

This is why we need to vote, we need to work to end the cycle of social inequity.

That’s it this week for SarahSays! Do not forget to submit your questions, comments, concerns, or opinions to the newspaper’s Instagram @gsunewspaper.