Ryland Staples | Staff Writer
With some members of the black community – celebrities and regular citizens alike – expressing their support for President Donald Trump, black conservatives’ voices have gotten louder on social media platforms.
To others, it seems these minorities are supporting a conservative leader who is seemingly against everything that would benefit them.
However, it is important to know this occurrence is not anything new.
Directly after slavery, the black community stood more with the Republican Party. As time progressed and the political parties started to shift, there was still a conservative hub within the black community.
Fast forward to 1972, and multi-talented celebrity Sammy Davis Jr. was viewed as a “traitor” after he endorsed Republican President Richard Nixon during his campaign for re-election.
Davis hugged Nixon during the Republican Convention in Miami, blogger Drew Friedman noted.
“This proved to be pretty controversial and Sammy received hostile reactions from his friends, Democrats, blacks and southern Nixon supporters,” Friedman wrote.
According to the Washington Post, Davis’ support of Nixon led to death threats.
When famous minority celebrities such as Azealia Banks, Candace Owens and – until recently – Kanye West put their support behind conservative politicians, a significant amount of the black community is usually very surprised.
That’s because usually, in recent history, the majority of blacks side with the Democratic Party.
According to a Pew Center Study in 2012, 76 percent of African Americans who were registered to vote were Democrats, and 16 percent were registered as Republicans.
That means 8 percent of black people who were registered did so as neither Democrats nor Republicans.
One Hampton University student has some thoughts on why that is.
“As black people in America, neither political party has the best interest for us as a people,” sophomore journalism major Dylan Bruton said. “They will campaign for us and boast about the change that they will institute once they get into office. Once they are there, they will slide us under the rug and go about their business.”
This has been the attitude for a significant amount of the black community for a while, feeling as though their vote doesn’t matter.
As a result, the percentage of black people who actually go out and vote has decreased.
According to Pew Research Center, the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6 percent in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6 percent in 2012. The 7 percentage-point decline from the previous election is the largest on record for blacks.
It does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, left or right, liberal or conservative, it is important to exercise your right as a citizen to vote.
As a people, blacks need to stand together and be able to get those who help us on the ballot.
We must settle our differences and create a comfortable environment for black people where they can voice all their concerns without scorn or judgment.