Saturday, July 31, 2021

If You Aren’t For Black Freedom, Then You Ain’t Presidential

Last Friday morning, #YouAintBlack was trending on Twitter. Why? Because, during an interview with Charlamagne tha God from The Breakfast Club, Joe Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

This isn’t the Democratic Presidential candidate’s first gaffe on race. When Obama was running for president Biden said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” He later apologized for his remarks. During last year’s primary debates, Senator Harris attacked Biden on his racially tone-deaf policies when it came to the issue of bussing. 

Biden, or any white person, has no business telling black people what it means to be black. Another hard truth: Biden doesn’t have a strong agenda for the black community, evidenced by a platform that fails black kids. 

Biden constantly talks about what he has done in the past and how the black community saved him during the 2020 Primary, but he refuses to listen to the very people that are supporting him, especially when it comes to school choice. If Biden truly wants to keep the black vote, and our respect, he is going to have to start listening to what we want.

Earlier this year, the President of the National Education Association endorsed Joe Biden, calling him “the tireless advocate for public education [and the] partner that students and educators need now”. Seems backwards given that the NEA actively works to deprive students of more educational options. Black and brown families are screaming for their voice to be heard, but the unions’ and their money drown them out. Joe Biden has to know freedom isn’t free. 

Let’s not forget the work that President Obama did to advance school choice in America. His administration bore the golden era for charter schools, not only fulfilling his campaign promise to double their funding, but by recognizing and celebrating the fact charters serve black and brown kids better than the broken systems we’d come to expect. He did this despite the opposition by the democratic establishment, because it’s right for black families. Biden has also gone far enough to declare that if he’s president, charter schools will be gone! 

Biden often flouts the accomplishments of the Obama administration as they relate to black and brown people. It gives him credibility, sure. But that goes out the window when he says things like charter schools siphon money away from public schools. By turning away from the crucial work Obama did to give low income kids a fighting chance, Biden loses the credibility he seeks, and he abandons the hope Obama delivered.

Seems the people who oppose school choice the most aren’t the black families fighting so that their children can have equal educational opportunities, but the white progressives who exercised choice for their own children. The list is long: Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren, just to name a few. But the fact Biden went to private school and sent his children to private school doesn’t stop him from villainizing vouchers for poor kids. That he spoke of their virtue before he was vying for the presidency just makes it all the more disappointing. 

Across the board support for school choice is overwhelming: polls show that 64% of people support school choice and want it for their child. Parents want more for their children and they shouldn’t be ignored. 

Politicians arguing over who has the most black support is growing old. Instead of telling us you have it, show us why you deserve it. Many millions of dollars are spent annually between the NEA and AFT on political activities. Supporters of school choice don’t have such deep pockets but still fight for students. Allowing families to choose what works best for their child is more important now than ever.

I want a president who will fight to support our freedom, not cater to those who want to strip it away. Barack Obama stood up to the teachers’ unions in an effort to give low income families more schooling options. It seems that Biden wants absolutely nothing to do with that part of the Obama administration’s legacy if it costs him the approval from the NEA. 

Millions of black boys and girls have been pleading for better educational outcomes, but the knee on our proverbial necks remains as we continue to make relatively few of the much-needed drastic changes to our K-12 system. I’m sorry Joe Biden, but if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for black kids or special interests working overtime to deprive them of freedom and opportunity, then you ain’t presidential.

Walter Blanks Jr
Walter Blanks Jr. is the Press Secretary for American Federation for Children (AFC) and a private school choice program beneficiary. From a young age, Walter recognized that many children are still stuck in underperforming schools and wanted to do something about it. Before joining AFC full-time, Walter was chosen for the first cohort of the American Federation for Children Future Leaders Fellowship, a year-long advocacy and professional development program for graduates of private school choice programs. Before moving to Washington, D.C. to join the national team, Walter championed educational freedom and shared his story across the country serving as a 2018 50CAN National Voices Fellow, an advocacy fellowship that aims to find, connect and support young leaders in education. At AFC, Walter leads both the Voices for Choice and Future Leaders Fellowship programs. These flagship programs of the National Communications team elevate the voices of students, parents, and educators who have benefitted from school choice programs across America. Walter also serves as a spokesperson for AFC and frequently appears in local and national print and news media. A gifted and in-demand speaker, Walter travels across the country sharing his story and advocating for expanding educational opportunities to more children and families. Walter received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Production from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

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