It has never been a more important election for People of Color to vote

Don’t let apathy win

I’m not sure what good this is going to do. If you haven’t made up your mind about who you are going to vote for, or if you are going to vote at all, at this point I’m not confident that my words will do much to persuade you one way or the other. But at the same time, I can’t not write them because what we are facing is too important for me not to. People of Color, I’m talking to you.

It may seem like I’m being dramatic with all of this. But after reports of low African American turnout during early voting, I don’t think I am. And for those People of Color who have decided not to vote, I ask, respectfully, what the fuck are you doing?

Do you not understand what we as People of Color are facing in this country at this very moment? We are currently more likely to have interactions with law enforcement than any other demographic in the country. We are also more likely to be a part of the criminal justice system and we are more likely to face violence, especially deadly violence, at the hands of the police. Many police departments have endorsed the more clearly authoritarian candidate in Donald Trump because they want the status quo to continue being the status quo. Not voting is a vote for the continuation of the way we are treated when it comes to law enforcement and the criminal justice system. But if you are fine with that then stay home.

Your vote counts

Your vote counts

Also not voting may usher in an age where we see much of the progress that we have achieved over the past few decades significantly rolled back. Already parts of the voting rights act have been struck down by the SCOTUS and states raced to reinstitute new voter ID laws. Most egregious of which, in the state of North Carolina, was said to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” Not voting is a vote for stacking the bench with conservative justices who are most certainly not interested in seeing the progress we’ve achieved continued, and would most certainly ensure that People of Color do not see any more of that progress for a long time to come. But if you are fine with that, then stay home.

Lastly, not voting is a vote to validate and legitimize this new, yet all too familiar (in this country at least) wave of White Nationalism known as Trumpism and the Alt-Right. Now, not everyone who votes for Trump is a White Nationalist, but you bet your natural Black ass that this new resurgence of White Nationalism is due in no small part to the Trump candidacy.

It has given energy and courage to racists and bigots who have been forced to hide in the shadows, inside of secret chat rooms, and in their parents’ basements. It has brought about a new younger generation of computer savvy White Nationalists known as the Alt-Right who among other things are using decades debunked scientific racism like eugenics and phrenology to justify their views.

I, for one, do not want them to have their cause validated in any possible way. Not in the slightest way do I want them to achieve even the smallest moral or psychological victory. Not voting is a vote for their legitimacy. Voting is making your voice heard and ensuring they suffer a demoralizing defeat and they crawl back inside the basement or pick-up truck bed that they came from so that they can wrap themselves in the Confederate flag, curl into the fetal position, and cry their white tears every night for the next twenty years. But if you don’t want that, then by all means, please stay home.

But, if you haven’t voted there is still time! In many places, polling is open until 9pm. And if you’re unsure where you are supposed to go vote, go here and find your fucking polling place!

Also if you haven’t figured it out, #ImWithHer. Now stop reading this and get your ass out and vote!

Columbia University