April 2, 2013

Tips to Win the Black Vote#1 Lose the Democratic Party as Plantation Metaphor

Among the political rhetoric which has become obscenely overused by white conservatives (and all too often parroted by black conservatives), the "democratic plantation or slave" metaphor ranks right at the top of rhetoric which should be urgently retired. I'm like as not to find myself guilty of using this egregious analogy if I peruse my prior posts enough.  But it should be banished from the rhetorical dictionary.

Let's get it straight here and now:  Voluntarily casting a vote in support of Democratic Party candidates or policies is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like living under a racist terror state where your labor is stolen from you by violence and your family can literally be sold to punish you.  Choosing to vote for and support the liberal agenda of the democratic party DOES NOT REMOTELY resemble being owned by another person, brutalized at whim, forbidden to marry, bred like an animal, tortured, raped,  being sold away from your family or forbidden to learn to read & write on pain of death or torture.  Slavery was horrific.  Comparing the free exercise of the franchise in support of democrats to it is beyond offensive and stupid.

This metaphor is moronic and ignorant in the extreme and it is beyond unfortunate that it has become a standard rhetorical trope of the right.  If you are a white conservative and you use it, you immediately brand yourself as someone who is more interested in pummeling black folk with your political ideas than engaging them.  If you are a black conservative  and employ this metaphor, you show yourself to be not only ignorant of your history, but dismissive of it, for the sake of being provocative.

UPDATE: Because I have this debate repeatedly with white conservatives and too many black conservatives, I'm going to use some comparatives illustrations to help make my point.  This isn't rocket science.  Have you ever seen Pepsi market its product to Coke drinkers with a campaign that suggests they are stupid to buy Coke? No, for the obvious reason that you don't insult the customer you are trying to win.

Things you should not and would not say or do to sell the conservative political message to voters you were trying to persuade to support you with their votes:
  • Tell a woman who is a rape survivor that voting for democrats is like making herself a rape victim
  • Tell a Jew that voting for democrats is like voting to experience the Holocaust
If you can understand and agree that the two things above are really stupid, insensitive and more likely to repel the voter you are attempting to win a vote from than attract them, then it should be very easy to understand that likewise, you should not
  • Tell the actual descendants of slaves that exercising the voting rights the generation before them actually had to fight and die for in favor of a democrat is like voting to be a slave again.
If you don't get why this is really, really bad messaging, why its really offensive and insulting, then I would say you don't want to get it.  I would say that if its the persuasive argument you insist on using with black voters, you're not actually interested in winning their votes, you are simply demonstrating that you have contempt for them because they don't agree with you politically.  And if you spend a lot of time using this metaphor when talking to white voters, in my opinion, you are trading in racial stereotypes and endorsing and fostering contempt towards black voters to curry favor with white voters.