Efforts to build a truly beloved community in America require more than the vote but can only truly begin in earnest with free and unfettered voting rights for all Americans.
But what voting rights advocates characterize as voter suppression doesn’t begin to do justice to the moral and political turpitude underway, nor does it reflect the cascading reverberations that such naked racism against Black folk has on our larger body politic. By forever placing Black people in the position of having to defend their fundamental citizenship rights, the racism behind these political assaults helps to — in the eyes of the public and institutions in our democracy — negate the very idea of Black humanity. Black people remain, as ever, the ground zero to a national discourse around race, identity, and whose lives matter, whose lives don’t, and why.
How can Black folk expect dignity and citizenship in a nation that permits continued attacks on their fundamental right to access the primary vehicle for social, political, and economic change?
That unanswered question continues to haunt America. It deserves special and sustained attention this week as we grapple with commemorations of Selma as a signpost of premature racial progress and celebration, rather than a significant chapter in America’s still unfinished national political saga.