The meme that black people will vote for President Barack Obama just because he’s black is seen by many as offensive and overwhelmingly false. But that hasn’t stopped it from picking up traction on the internet especially among conservatives, who believe blacks have a blind loyalty to public figures of the same race.
History has proven that couldn’t be further from the truth. From Herman Cain to even Clarence Thomas, political public figures of color have never been guaranteed support from black people based on race alone.
Toure examines this phenomenon for Time, writing:
“Instead, the idea that blacks support Obama just because he’s black is itself racist because it suggests a lack of political sophistication and brain power, as if blacks would vote for anyone who shares their skin color [...] And the question ignores the nuances of reality. Yes Obama’s blackness is part of why many blacks support him. Another reason is Obama’s policies: saving Detroit, supporting universal health care, and fighting to protect the social safety net and a woman’s right to choose will win lots of black votes.”
Though his points are valid, writers like Huffington Post’s Jesse Washington bring up the backlash black supporters of Mitt Romney experience as support for skin color-based politics:
This week, when a black actress who tweeted an endorsement of Romney was subjected to a stream of abuse from other African-Americans, the politics of racial accusation came full circle [...]. On Twitter, [Stacey Dash] was called “jigaboo,” “traitor,” “house nigger” and worse after posting, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.” The theme of the insults: A black woman would have to be stupid, subservient or both to choose a white Republican over the first black president.
It’s ignorant to assume that all of black America will vote based of race, without considering President Obama’s policies. The meme that black people vote solely based on skin color assumes that blacks aren’t politically savvy and/or educated enough to make informed decisions about which candidate they support.