What’s Race Got to Do with It? Considerations for the Antiracist Voter
If you’re like me, when you are discerning how you will vote on different ballot initiatives or for different elected officials in the upcoming elections, only rarely do questions of race, racism and racial justice rise to the surface, and usually, only when race is an explicit component of a candidate’s platform or an initiative’s impact. As a person of European descent, I’ve not had to consider racial implications or develop a racial analysis in the same ways as my kin of non-European descent have had to, just to survive. But as I’ve grown in my practice of antiracism, I’ve come to recognize that every vote that is cast, every circle that is filled in on a ballot this November, will have implications for how racial justice lives and grows in our towns and cities, our states, our country, our world. Every political issue and policy will either contribute to racial equity or inhibit racial equity in some way. As a racial justice activist and advocate, I have often been “accused” of making everything about race, but the truth I’ve come to understand is that everything really is about race, because no part of our society or politics is separate from our understandings and practices of racism or antiracism.
So as you’re approaching the voting booth this fall, I invite you to intentionally consider the implications for racial justice of the different decisions you are making with the votes you are casting. Here are a few questions to consider to help guide your discernment and deepen you racial analysis:
- In what ways does the foundational issue addressed by this initiative (education, poverty, housing, healthcare, etc.) have disproportionate negative impacts in communities of color and how is it addressing those impacts?
- Are the voices and experiences of those most impacted by this issue shaping the initiative or platform to address it?
- How is this initiative or platform related to historic lineages of racial discrimination and does it address or further those harms?
- Does this initiative or candidate’s platform conserve or increase the power and privilege held by those of European descent?
- Does this initiative or platform contribute to sustaining institutions and policies built on racial injustice or does it create something new based in a vision of racial justice?
At the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he offers a prayer of gratitude for their partnership in ministry and for their sustaining in the hard work that is ahead. It feels to me like a good prayer for all of us this election season. May these words guide and keep you as you strive to move toward racial justice with your voting:
And this is my prayer,
that your love may overflow more and more
with knowledge, discernment and full insight
to help you to determine what really matters,
so that in the future that is to come you may rest assured,
having produced the harvest of justice
that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:9-11
–Sharon R. Fennema is the Curator for Join the Movement
We want to hear from you! Would you like to share how you are engaging in the election process in your congregation or community? Email UCCTakeAction@ucc.org and share your story!
If you’re like me, when you are discerning how you will vote on different ballot initiatives or...Read More