Did you know that voting third party is a sign of your white privilege?
This is a common theme in the progressive tactic of vote shaming.
The argument goes that depriving Hillary Clinton of your vote is most certainly a wasted opportunity to stop the divisive, brown-shirted fascism of Donald Trump. Doing so opens the doors to mass deportation, the defunding of the social safety net, the reversal of Supreme Court decisions, and a myriad of social injustices that disproportionately impact non-white, impoverished households.
It is apparent that those who are voting for Clinton are actually enabling some of the most damning examples of white privilege.Those who vote third party apparently have nothing to personally risk by allowing such a political scenario to play out.
“When we risk only moderate annoyance — and in so doing risk actual harm to other people — that’s white privilege,” writes Robert Chappell of Madison365.
“[Voting] means possessing enough self-awareness to consider your station in life, your privilege, and how your vote could affect those who are more vulnerable,” writes Gretchen Kelly of Scary Mommy.
In addition, Trump’s open courtship with white nationalists and the alt-right leave many to worry about the possibility of future racially-related polarization.
“Voting for a third party based on your own sense of moral superiority while ignoring the very real peril of minorities is not my understanding of maintaining a clear conscience,” writes Charles Dunst of Paste Magazine. “By putting your own selfish moral superiority first, you allow for the possibility of an America in which anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and misogyny are normalized and expected.”
Enabling White Privilege
Understandably, a Trump presidency should raise eyebrows for those who value civil liberties – such as those who ponder the logistics of deporting 11 million immigrants or how one goes about banning an entire religious group. Trump’s casual embrace of some rather troubling policy positions should give any sensible person pause.
However, by applying the same logic used when leveraging the “white privilege” article, it is apparent that those who are voting for Clinton are actually enabling some of the most damning examples of white privilege.
Furthermore, only third party candidates, such as Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, offered principled stances on a number of these very same issues – ones that would theoretically reverse the effects of white privilege.
The Racial Injustice of the Drug War
American blacks, who comprise 13 percent of the general population, represent 40 percent of those incarcerated for drug law violations.If there is one set of policies that has resulted in the most disproportionate distribution of justice in the United States since slavery, it is our failed attempt to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate non-violent crime – and a vote for Clinton could be seen as a vote for the War on Drugs. In fact, neither candidate has offered an inkling of ending this failed, four-decade long, overly-militarized, trillion-dollar boondoggle.
Research indicates that there isn't much discrepancy in drug use when race is factored into the equation. In fact, some research shows heavier drug use amongst the white population.
But the story changes drastically when incarceration rates are compiled: American blacks, who comprise 13 percent of the general population, represent 40 percent of those incarcerated for drug law violations.
In addition the mass incarceration of racial minorities, the use of civil asset forfeiture – the extrajudicial seizure and sale of property by police without even conviction – is applied disproportionately along racial lines. In Oklahoma, approximately two-thirds of law enforcement seizures of property came from black, Hispanic, and other non-white suspects.
This pattern of over-policing tactically and purposefully targets communities of color – and the results are often tragic.
Consider the death of Kathryn Johnston. Johnston, a 92-year old Atlanta resident, was shot 39 times by police after they broke into her home using a no-knock warrant. Finding no actually contraband, the officers planted drugs in her house after they found none in their botched raid. (These officers are serving jail time for this heinous abuse of power.)
Clinton’s commitment to the drug war cannot be outdone by her hawkish credentials, which includes a continuation of the expanded use of unmanned drone strikes.This heartbreaking story is a common occurrence found in the pattern of over-policing of the drug war. And this pattern is more than anecdotal. If you are black, you are three to five times more likely to be killed when confronted by a police officer, according to research.
The Foreboding Skies of the Drone War
Clinton’s commitment to the drug war cannot be outdone by her hawkish credentials, which includes a continuation of the expanded use of unmanned drone strikes that proliferated under President Obama.
During his address at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park marking the anniversary of the deadly attack on Japan, President Barack Obama opened with the following: “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed.”
Obama’s depiction of the sky – both its color and its deadliness – is the exact same tragedy that those in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and several other countries are enduring as a direct result of American drone strike campaigns.
In 2013, a young Pakistani boy named Zubair testified in front of Congress about surviving a drone strike, one that killed his grandmother. The attack, by his account, took place during a cloudless day, when the sky was a vibrant color of blue—“the color of sky most beloved” by his grandmother.
After providing excruciating details about the event, he stated, “Now I prefer cloudy days when the drones don’t fly. When the sky brightens and becomes blue, the drones return and so does the fear.”
A vote for Clinton is a vote for the further pulverizing, dismemberment, and death of these underprivileged people, while remaining safely removed and insulated from the horror.Zubair’s accounts are not one of an isolated incident of collateral damage. The argument that drones are strategically placed – only killing the “bad guys” – is one of pure propaganda.
Leaked documents obtained by The Intercept detailed a troubling ratio: For every individual assassination target “neutralized” by a drone strike, nine unintended targets were also killed. That means American drones kill innocent civilians and non-combatants more often than they do terrorists.
Couldn’t one argue that the liberty to celebrate marital bliss without fear of a Hellfire of missiles reigning down upon your ceremony is one of privilege? The only thing that Americans worry about the skies of their homeland involve the weather.
A vote for Clinton is a vote for the further pulverizing, dismemberment, and death of these underprivileged people, while remaining safely removed and insulated from the horror – therefore, one of privilege.
Vote Shaming is White Privilege
Applying the same logic leveraged by those who invoke white privilege whilst vote shaming, anybody who is statistically less prone to be the victims of crime because of their race or geographic location is theoretically the benefactor of white privilege. If you are not likely to be shot during a routine traffic stop, if the door of your home is not likely to be kicked in during a no-knock raid, if your wedding is not going to be interfered with by a barrage of unmanned missiles, then you should consider yourself to be privileged too.
And if you belittle the votes of others while perpetrating many of the same social ills you claim to oppose with your very own vote, then you should consider that an act of privilege also.