It’s not just in the United States, folks.
I got into an argument the other day regarding protesting and choosing which political candidate to protest. I mentioned that it is unfortunate that the Black Lives Matter movement happen to protest Democratic candidates more, especially since it’s the democrats who are at least willing to have minorities in the room in this election cycle. The logic behind protesting Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, aside from the recently made-viral statements of Hillary Clinton years ago using racial-tinged comments (taken out of context), has been that the Democrats, especially under President Obama, have taken the black vote for granted. Barrack Obama hasn’t really done anything to help black people. Protesting Democratic candidates will at least have a chance of being heard, as opposed to protesting Republican candidates where protesters will not only be ignored, but also have a great chance of being met with violence.
The problem with protesting Democrats the way the Black Lives Matter movement have done is that it makes it appear that the candidates themselves are actively oppressing minorities. One can say that Bill Clinton hasn’t been really good to minority populations and that the Obama administration has been really weak in pushing progressive agendas, but the Democrats are not actively vilifying minorities and suppressing their rights. They are not actively relying on racial hatred to keep their campaign alive. The purpose of protests is to push an issue, to create dialogue. The Black Lives Matter group does not need to protest the Democrats as much when the candidates are willing to engage in a dialogue. You yell when you’re not being heard. You don’t yell when you already have a seat at the table.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Protests shape policies, and the United States and many countries have a history of protests affecting unjust systems. But in this election, I feel that the Black Lives Matter group is trying to find a perfect ally instead of working with the ally they already have. Bernie Sander’s core fight, to take money out of politics, would benefit minority populations and touch on so many issues without specifically taking on the cause of race. However, because the Black Lives Matter group protests Democrats, I believe it makes for a poor visual and discourages minorities to get involved. It sends a message that these politicians are not there for your interests, that they are not willing to listen, when in fact, the reason that they’re being protested is because they’re more likely to listen. It’s just bad politics.
Now, in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton wins big against Bernie Sanders. She won a bigger portion of the African-American vote than Obama did. Hillary Clinton would mostly likely do better for African-American communities than any Republican would, but she is a corporate creature the same way Barrack Obama is. Nothing will probably change under her administration, which will almost be like another term for Obama. I believe it is in the best interest of minority populations to vote for Bernie Sanders, someone who’s prescribing dramatic political change. But instead of engaging and participating in campaigns to try to shape policies, the protests make the Democratic candidates look like out-of-touch crooks, discouraging voters. This leaves both candidates running on popularity. And really, who can be more popular among Democrats than someone with a Clinton name?