It’s time for another unpopular opinion.
There is a term that has become increasingly popular among conservatives when discussing the black community. The term is “Democratic plantation,” and it’s used to describe blacks that vote for Democrats. That’s right. People are using a slavery reference to convince black Americans to withdraw their support for the Democratic Party.
Apparently, reminding blacks
I’ll be blunt. This term is insulting, condescending, and ultimately not effective, and conservatives who use the term are not doing the movement any favors.
Before I go forward, I’ll give the disclaimer: I am not saying that conservatives who use the term “Democratic Plantation” are racist. My name isn’t Al Sharpton. But nevertheless, it is a misguided approach if we want to win over more Americans. Are we good? Okay, let us proceed.
The Democratic Plantation is a euphemism used to illustrate how the left has used welfare programs to make blacks and other minorities dependent on the state. They contend that the Democratic Party has won the black vote by offering “free stuff” in return for their votes. Under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, he enticed blacks with offers of government assistance. There is certainly truth to this argument, and it is why I’m not a Democrat. But, when you look closer, it’s easy to see that this analogy does not stand up to scrutiny.
It’s also worth noting that blacks are not as crazy about the Democratic Party as some
1. The left has successfully convinced blacks to believe that the Republican Party is full of racists.
2. The GOP allowed themselves to be portrayed as such.
Is there more nuance to this? Sure, but the main reason blacks support left-leaning politicians is that they view them as the lesser of two evils, not because blacks are socialists. In an appearance on The View, Michael Eric Dyson, an author, and world-class race-baiter admitted as much in a roundabout way. He said: “If the Republicans weren’t so racist, they could encourage black people, who are morally conservative, to be on their side.”
Obviously, I disagree with Dyson’s contention that the GOP is racist, but the point is still apt. If blacks did not perceive Republicans as racists, more of them would vote conservative. Indeed, I would argue that if you asked average blacks why they do not vote Republican, they will tell you just that.
The plantation metaphor relies on the misperception that most black Americans are living in poverty. This assumption is demonstrably false; the majority of black Americans are not living in crime-ridden communities or suffering from poverty. But there is a reason why this belief exists. Many Americans might know that the majority of blacks are not poor, but the media constantly bombards the public with images of poor black men and women living on the government’s largesse.
In 2016 22% of blacks fell below the poverty line. That’s a troubling statistic given the fact that about 8.8% of whites were living in poverty. However, the fact remains that the rest of black America is not destitute. While black Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of people using welfare programs, the majority are still not reliant on government assistance and for this reason, the slavery metaphor does not work.
Singling out blacks by evoking images of slavery doesn’t quite seem like a persuasive tactic in this context. It’s like trying to convince Jews to vote Republican by telling them that they are trapped in a Democratic Auschwitz. Historically, blacks were the victims of slavery, so claiming that modern-day blacks are on a plantation comes off as condescending. It is similar to Joe Biden’s ill-advised statement that Mitt Romney and Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains.” Conservatives who use this term might mean well, but they are unintentionally insulting the person whose mind they wish to change.
When we address blacks who disagree with our views, we must persuade effectively. As with anyone else, you want the other person to be open to what you’re saying. If we want to influence black Democrats, we have to understand that words matter.
Yes, I realize that nobody is intentionally trying to insult blacks. But the effect is the same nonetheless. Think about it. When someone on the left calls you a racist/sexist/homophobe because you disagree with them, does it make you more or less likely to hear what they’re saying?
Case in point.
Blacks are no different. As a conservative who happens to be black, many on the left have referred to me as “Uncle Tom,” “coon,” and other ignorant pejoratives. Do you think for a second that this makes me want to engage with them? Of course not.
Leftists who use these terms are arguing that I am a slave to my white masters in the GOP. So if they are using that term to call me a slave, what do you think we are saying when they are telling black democrats that they are stuck on a plantation? We’re saying the exact same thing — whether we mean to or not.
Instead of insulting the people we wish to influence, conservatives should approach blacks just as they approach anyone else. Instead of relying on tired old metaphors we should discuss the issues that affect the black community. We need to talk about how the Democratic Party is destroying their cities. We should point out that the Democrats are keeping many blacks poor while blaming racism for the conditions the left has created. And, most importantly, we should talk about conservative solutions to the problems facing the black community.
Let’s stop with the plantation talk and focus on the issues.