In modern America, one of the worse accusations anyone can receive is of being a racist. We have come to a place where the majority of Americans have a disdain for racism, and many are overly cautious to make sure they never do anything that could give them this title.

If you have followed modern politics you have heard for years about how the Republican party harbors and promotes racism. The Washington Post called Trump The most racist president in modern history. Mitt Romney was accused of stoking racism. Even today CNN is reporting that Younkins win was in part because he was dog-whistling racism.

This leads me to wonder why racist republicans would ever vote in Winsom Sears? How could the same group of racists that helped Younkin win Virginia’s governor race have elected her? She is a black woman! A strong, bold, American-loving black woman!

Just in case you missed it Winsom Sears was elected yesterday as the first woman of color to win a statewide election in Virginia. She will soon become the new Lieutenant Governor. If you have a few minutes check out her amazing speech!

“In case you have not noticed I am black, and I have been black my entire life. But that’s not what this is about. What we are going to do now is be about the business of the Commonwealth. We have things to tend to. We are going to fully fund our historically Black colleges and universities… We’re going to have safer neighborhoods, safer communities, and our children are going to get a good education.”

Winsome Sears

Against popular opinion, history tells a very different story about the Republican party. Republicans have a rich history of supporting the freedom and prosperity of minorities. The party was founded out of the abolitionist movement with the desire to see slaves freed. After the Civil War Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first black senator in 1870. It was a hard fight as Democrats tried keeping him from serving by pointing to Dred Scott and the 14th Amendment.

From 1870 through 1935 the republican party elected black men 45 times. Around 1935 something starts to shift. Historians would say that this was the time the Democrats became less racist and Republicans became more racists, but I’m not convinced.

Winsome spoke of her father coming to America in the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement. One of the highest points during that movement was the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights bill. Although the work of the bill is largely accredited to the democratic party, a larger percentage of the votes came from republicans.

R-YesR-NoD-YesD-No
House136 (80%)35 (20%)153 (61%)91 (39%)
Senate28 (76%)9 (24%)44 (68%)21 (32%)
Source

Although I’m not an expert and still have so much to learn, I have grown to resent when people call the republicans racist. Both parties recognize the horrible blemishes on our nation’s history because of slavery and racism. Both parties seem to want to see people overcome. The difference is the policy prescription. Democrats believe the government can solve the problem with rules, regulations, and reparations (we call affirmative action). Republicans focus on lowering crime, creating safe communities, and allowing the market to correct itself. Both views have their own benefits and dangers. But we need to stop screening racism.

From where I sit most of the time when I see a Democratic calling a Republican a racist is a heartless political move. It villainizes people with different policy believes no matter how they feel or treat people who look different from them. It waters the word down so when true racist acts happen it’s easier for Americans to write them off. It drives a wedge between some of the brightest minds in our country and holds us back from walking forward in a more perfect union.

So back to my original question “Why would racist republicans vote for a black woman?” Maybe the question is flawed. Maybe Republicans aren’t racist after all.

I can only hope we have amazing candidates like Winsome Sears win in Pennsylvania in next year’s election!


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