Friday, November 03, 2006

Outcome May Rest On Black Turnout

Outcome May Rest On Black Turnout - Washington Post

As we approach yet another election day, what is brought to mind is the disparity of approaches that Blacks take in exercising their hard-earned right to vote.

The Webb-Allen senate race in Virginia illuminates an important dynamic in Black voting that describes the marginal position, relative to their absolute voting potential, that Blacks hold. Regardless of what is in their hearts and minds, both men evoke concern about current and former positions on race, highlighting the often-ignored reality that racism can and does exist in virulent forms on both sides of the isle.

However, this concern translates ultimately into whether or not Black voters will 'show up' at the polling stations on election day. Are there not other issues which those voters should care about that would motivate their participation? Surely there are a host of Propositions and other contests that matter as well.

Virginia Democratic and Black leadership concerns of turnout tracks back to the empirically fed, and accurate, stereotype whereby Blacks tend to vote for people ahead of the issues. If something about the lead personalities of the election turns them off, they turnout in lower numbers, with the disastrous impact this can have on the host of other critical issues of their region and influencing the plight of the group.

History is not saying that Whites are not similarly influenced, but rather that the influence is greatest in the lower socio-economic levels where Blacks are disproportionately represented, reflecting the Catch-22 problem the group is caught in.

For Blacks, as with all citizens, if they believe in anything about their better future, they must show up and vote, even if they abstain, as is also their right, from particular contests and issues.

James C. Collier


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