With all of the months of protests against racism and an overall racial reckoning taking place across the United States, one could be forgiven for expecting to hear from more Black voices at this year’s Democratic National Convention (DNC). But a closer look at the list of speakers scheduled to address the nation on behalf of Democrats beginning Monday night suggests we will all hear familiar messages from familiar sources that arguably does not fully reflect the diversity that 1) is currently being embraced in America and 2) has been pledged by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
And it’s not just a case of racial diversity as much as it has to do with rhetorical diversity.
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We all know the end game here is to beat Donald Trump, but the questions are whether the usual suspects should be the ones to deliver that message or if the reins should be handed to — or at least include more — Black folks who can offer more personal testimony about what this historic moment means for America’s politics moving forward.
By this writer’s count, there have been 11 Black people scheduled during the prime time hours of the DNC, including musical performances. Among them are voices that America has typically heard from for years now. But this election is far from typical and likely could use further injections of not just the aforementioned rhetorical change but also tangible change in order to really demonstrate a commitment to diversity beyond the optics of a Biden-Harris ticket.
Instead, the names of the Black speakers are those that are all too familiar to the American people, something that could turn off some of the younger voters who Democrats are still trying to get on board with their platform. According to one estimation, the average age for DNC speakers is 61.
To be clear, this is not about ageism. Older and experienced voices are needed to push any movement forward, but that doesn’t mean youth should be excluded. Especially considering the fact that the average age of DNC speakers doesn’t gibe with the data showing how much the youth vote mattered the last time America elected a Democratic president.
That is also not to discount the OG Democrats’ messages, which undoubtedly will all share the common denominator of voting out Trump. But it is to say perhaps using new messengers to deliver that same message in different terms could have the kind of resounding effect that 2016’s DNC clearly did not.
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So while people are rightfully waiting with bated breath to hear from the likes of President Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle Obama as well as Kamala Harris, it is unclear how effective addresses from the Capitol Hill mainstays like Jim Clyburn and Cory Booker will be since America has been hearing from them discuss the election on a regular basis for many months now.
Yes, the DNC did include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a relatively new voice on the national Democratic landscape. But why stop at her? Keep reading to find a brief list of other Black folks who were not scheduled to speak at this year’s Democratic National Convention but probably should have been.Follow @Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ92qjamsbmoreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢
MIA At DNC: Black Folks Not Scheduled To Speak At The Democratic National Convention was originally published on newsone.com
1. Stacey AbramsSource:Getty
Perhaps the most notable omission from the list of DNC speakers is Stacey Abrams, a woman who for months was rumored to be Biden’s top choice for his vice-presidential running mate. The two of them frequently made veiled references to their potential political union … until they didn’t.
But considering how Abrams was dubbed a rising star by Democratic leaders and even delivered a rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union address on behalf of the Democrats, her exclusion from the slate of DNC speakers was conspicuous at worst and unfortunate at best.
2. Black Lives Matter founders (from left: Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi)Source:Getty
Let’s be real. Black Lives Matter, the phrase, at least, is as ubiquitous as it’s ever been; especially following the police killing of George Floyd. The movement for Black lives has never been as popular as it is right now heading into the Democratic National Convention. Democrats, in particular, have made a noted commitment to seemingly incorporating those three vital words into their everyday lexicon.
So it was strange to see that none of the three women who founded the booming Black Lives Matter movement were scheduled to speak at this year’s DNC, which is serving as a prelude to perhaps the most consequential election in modern history.
To be sure, Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi have all supported candidates for president who are not named Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. However, the gesture of extending some speaking time to the BLM founders at the DNC could result in some additional electoral dividends in November.
3. Ben CrumpSource:Getty
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been at the forefront of what seems like a nonstop flow of case centered on police violence against Black people, something that helped prompt America to the precipice of an all-out racial reckoning. It is through work like his with the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor cases that helped prompt both the House and Senate to draft legislation to reform police departments, which has become a major political issue across the country.
Who better to address that topic in layman’s terms to voters during such a consequential time in American history? Not to mention, Biden has a little bit of work to do with shoring up his civil rights credentials. Crump’s inclusion at the DNC could address all of that and then some with a national audience that he deserves.