Growing Up As A Republican Black Woman In America Today

Mia Love Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah

Mia Love Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah

In a Presidential Election year, it’s important we all discuss, understand and get involved. It’s irresponsible not to have a view when so much of our future is at stake. The popular vote is divided down the middle, where many are unwilling to see the other side of the story. It is my pleasure to highlight a unique viewpoint from an old friend. Hope you gain some perspective, no matter which side of the party line you are on. Having perspective makes everything better. S

I’m going to tell you a little secret, which is rarely spoken in the African American community. There are some of us who live in fear because we went to college, found good jobs, and do not fully support President Obama. Because I am black, everybody just assumes that I support him. Although I think he is a magnificent orator who is much more entertaining than all others, the fact of the matter is that I do not support his policies that expand the ever growing powers of government. I’m sorely disappointed by the racial and socio-economic divide he has perpetuated since coming to office.

In an earlier post Sam asked, “Why Isn’t President Obama Considered White To The World?” The reason is, he doesn’t speak of or identify with a full 50% of his ethnic heritage. He says he’s black and that’s that. Forget about his Caucasian mother and her heritage. He is one of us, and no matter what, my community has to support him. He’s deemed courageous because he denounces his white half. As someone who is majority black, there’s no way I can go against him.

I knew after reading Sam’s post that I had to speak about my consternation as a black woman in America today.  Perhaps I can clear up some misconceptions that not everything is as “black and white” as it seems. I hope you’ll spend the time to read my story and share your thoughts below.

GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH

I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia with my mother and two younger brothers. My mother worked at the shipyard as an assistant and my father left us when I was 8 years old. She made around $28,000 a year and sometimes up to $30,000 with over time. She never went to college and knew she would never make much more.

The three of us lived in a cramped two bedroom, one bathroom apartment downtown. The boys shared one room, and my mother and I shared the other. We never found our living situation awkward since that’s all we knew. One evening, my mother came home crying because her manager had insulted her in front of her co-workers. I guess my mother forgot to send a fax, or it never went through. I didn’t get the details nor did I want to pry. All I did know was that she was so sad and said she never wanted to go back. We talked for hours until she finally fell asleep on her side with stained tears on her neck.

The next morning, my mother got up as she always did and put on her clothes to go to work. I only had one eye open, and she was smiling at me.  “What momma?”  I asked her.

“I‘m thankful I have a job and no matter how bad it seems, it makes me so happy that I’m able to take care for you and your brother,” she responded.  And then she left.

I was in the 10th grade at the time and knew then that I was going to college no matter what. There was no way I was going to let my mother take any more abuse. I was determined to go to college, graduate and take care of her. She’d be 55 by then.

MY GREATEST FEAR

Six years later, I graduated from The College of William & Mary with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and joined one of the big accounting firms in Washington DC. I was able to get a scholarship for half my tuition and I paid for the rest myself. While my wealthier friends went overseas for the summer, I worked those two and a half months at a Williamsburg diner along with taking some classes.

Half of my friends back in Norfolk never went to college, and decided to be assistants at the shipyard like my mother or go to vocational school. Many of them decided to be hair dressers come to think of it. They are still there a decade later and have families of their own.  Every time I go back, they complain about how good the wealthy have it and how difficult it is to find a good job and make money. A quarter of my friends are unemployed or underemployed.

They voted for President Obama because they believed he would take care of them. After all, he is one of us, and we take care of our own. Obama became their crutch and as a result, they didn’t bother to further their education. My girlfriends didn’t feel it necessary to take command of their own lives. Motivation evaporated like our high school dreams.

My friends growing up believed in President Obama and didn’t even bother to understand his policies. I fear that millions of African Americans feel the same way.  Because of incredible government social welfare, there is little or no incentive to break free from poverty. When you can live off $28,000 a year feeding three kids, and the government offers up a similar amount year without having to work, it’s very hard to get motivated.

THINGS CHANGE

I’m a principal now at my accounting firm and my mother no longer has to work, but she still does. Instead of working at the shipyard, she’s working at a local non-profit organization to help teach kids about the importance of education. I am in the income level that President Obama targets as wealthy to have their income taxes raised. Even though I know that Obama’s desire is to raise more money from me to help support my very own people back in Norfolk, I don’t believe my money will ever reach them. There is no empowering the lower income by redistributing other people’s wealth.

Instead, I will gladly give my own money and time directly to the people I care about most. The more government entitlements we get, the more we don’t want to work. These government entitlements are keeping my entire community down and I am mad. We are never going to end the cycle of poverty in the lower income community if we keep getting subsidized for just living.

You might not see people like me, but there are many professional African Americans who earn a decent living and started with very little.  We never thought we had a government safety net. Instead, we walked the tight rope with no safety net because we knew that we’d rather starve than be stuck in our small towns earning minimum wages. We worked hard, day and night, practicing failure in order to succeed. We crossed the line and don’t ever want our kids to go through the sense of entitlement and fear.

IT’S OK TO HAVE YOUR OWN OPINIONS

Because of our race, and the race of our President, we must assume the roll of Obama supporters and never share any thoughts that diverge. We live in fear because we will be ostracized by our community. Yet slowly, we see people like Condoleezza Rice and lesser known politician Mia Love step out and tell us their stories. If Mia can come from Haiti and grow up in poverty to become the Mayor of Saratoga Springs in Utah, then perhaps anything is possible.

Let me be clear. Of course we want President Obama to be the greatest President America has ever known. None of us ever thought a black person would become President in our lifetimes. However, with more divide in our country than I have ever experienced, Obama needs to stop pitting groups against each other and focus more on improving the economy. The social issues for debate are none of any party’s business.

The best thing we can do to help our community is to show them there is something at the end of the rainbow. I want to stomp out poverty and I don’t want people to suddenly fall through the cracks thanks to a sudden shutoff in government funds. There has to be a measured approach to direct efforts towards opportunity. Growing the government and increasing welfare is like a slow drip of morphine administered intravenously. It feels good in the beginning, but eventually we become hooked and can no longer live without it. While we stay attached to our feed, the world passes us by.

Photo: Mia Love, Wikipedia.

Readers, why is the 2012 Presidential election so racially divided? Why weren’t there more minorities at the Republican National Convention?

I’ll be publishing a completely different perspective of my own in an upcoming post. S.

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. krantcents says

    It is more than racially divided, it is partisan politics to the nth degree. Each party is doing all they can do to sandbag or literally stop the other party from any success. When are the political parties going to start working for the good of the country versus themselves or a select few? To blindly support a president or anyone because of race is wrong!

    I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate. I cannot identify with either party and I am tired of all the pandering to various group of donors and lobbyists. This presidential campaign is filled with lies on both sides which will turn off a group of voters. I think this is one of the reasons young people are not as enthusiastic as they were with the last election.

  2. JT says

    Just like any other politician before him, Obama wants to win. He won in 2008 with the help of new voters, many who are black, many who were first time voters. I understand the reason for his pandering – 96% of black voters (13% of the voters) voted for Obama in 2008. Elections are won with independents and new voters; if he can rile up the same enthusiasm this year, he wins hands down.

    Republicans are their own worst enemy. There’s some sort of stupid WASP pride that comes with voting Republican – and Republicans embrace it as if voting for a politician who identifies with the red team is a vote for a specific cultural interpretation of what “America should be.”

    I probably won’t be bothered to vote this year just because I don’t think there is a difference between either candidate up for election. Down ticket races are already settled.

    Good timing on this article as it comes after a real think piece from the WSJ about whether or not entitlements are corrupting us. From the chart on the page, some 50% of households receive some kind of government benefits. That has to have some impact on what people think about work.

    • JT says

      Interesting video – I skipped through to some of the questions, and I’m not at all surprised with the responses to each question.

      I think the video shows how what you watch influences how you vote. I know for a fact that CNN/MSNBC played bits about Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe over and over again. Fox did the same with Obama’s 57 states comment.

      Just a few months ago you could have tuned into Fox to hear how Planned Parenthood and PBS – drops in the bucket of government largess – were bankrupting the US. At the same time, more liberal outlets, specifically MSNBC, wailed about how the Buffett Tax would increase revenues by $160 billion over 10 years – little more than a month of our current deficit.

      We won’t get any real change until mass media becomes less influential. That will only happen when seniors stop voting. Wake me up when that happens.

  3. Jeremy Johnson says

    Sam, I’m not sure of the answer to why there weren’t more minorities at the Republican National Convention. Perhaps it was fear for those who have good jobs and educations and support that side – fear that they will be ostracized from their social circle. Perhaps it is there just aren’t many non-white’s interested.

    I have difficulty identifying with both parties as they seem to speak rhetoric and use emotion more than data, facts, and plans based on that. For instance, I’ve never heard either side admit the problem of our national debit, which our revenue’s are now paying just for our non-discretionary spending (medicare, medicaid, social security). This video explains it from the government’s own website’s data: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW5IdwltaAc

    Eventually, it seems there’s going to have to be some hard decisions and cuts made in spending, some shifts in philosophy to move toward generating more revenue (is that more science, space programs, etc..?). That’s what I’m looking for from the leaders – admitting the problem and showing us the data and the vision of how to correct it and admitting there will be pain.

    On a final note, I live very close to Saratoga Springs, Utah, in American Fork!

  4. Shilpan says

    I wish every American reads this article. It has substance of the very fabric of this great nation — ambition and hard work.

    But, last four years have taken toll on this ideals as our President is more interested in racial and economic divide of the voters instead of inspiring and doing what is just and righteous for every citizen. Making someone dependable on government is the biggest disservice a President can do.

    It’s time to elect a leader who has guts to stop spending money we don’t have. It’s time for a leader who can bring back fiscal sanity in Washington instead of appeasing those who don’t want to work by printing and handing money without thinking about the next generation.

    • Financial Samurai says

      The problem w/ the Republican party is the lack of diversity and the religious aspect which not everybody in this country follows.

      From the economic standpoint, how does the country expect individuals to be financially responsible when the country can’t be financially responsible?

    • Mike says

      That shit is crazy I’m a black Republican and I say these this president is trying something and the our party has not help him with anything that is why the economy is still bad and as far as spending go it the wars That got us there. I say the our party has divided these country by all those take our country back shit.

  5. Matthew Allen says

    Fabulous piece here. I agree with Shilpan that every American should read this. And while they’re at it, they should go watch the movie 2016. The problem is, the people who need to learn this stuff are the people who will do neither.

    Just like Rush Limbaugh stated on his radio show recently, Obama is pandering to the moron vote, and he will probably win again because of all the uneducated and uninformed morons who will vote for him.

  6. Mike says

    I absolutely loved this post. Your mother was a rock star.

    I was very concerned recently when I saw that a recent poll showed 0% support of Romney from African-Americans. 0%. And I mean this in a completely non-partisan way. No matter where you stand on the particulars of the presidential race, I just can’t imagine how it can be healthy that an entire community can be so monolithic.

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/21/13399788-nbcwsj-poll-heading-into-conventions-obama-has-four-point-lead?lite

    • Financial Samurai says

      Wow, I didn’t know it there was 0% support for Mitt Romney from the AA community!

      Interesting to see a more balanced support between Caucasians. 53% vs. 40% is still quite a huge margin though… but wow… 94% vs. 0%. I’ve never heard of that.

      “Looking inside the numbers, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).
      Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).”

  7. julie says

    Hi, I can appreciate this post. And I do agree that its good for this poster to express her own opinion – especially if she feels obligated to support the President simply because of his race. However, there are several things that are misleading about the post. First, there seems to be the inference that black voters are a monolith that support Obama simply because of his race. This leaves out the fact that the Mormon religion did not recognize blacks as fully human until a few decades ago and would not allow them to become members. This isn’t Obama’s fault, he didn’t create Mormonism. Nor did black people. Why would anyone black support someone who doesn’t even think they’re human? That doesn’t even make sense. The second theory in this post is that Obama somehow denounces his white heritage. This also doesn’t make sense. Has anyone ever paid attention to how often he mentions the debt he owes to his mother, how she sacrificed so much for him? Has anyone ever paid attention to the story of his mother’s death? Obama has never denied his white heritage. However, in America, the one drop rules still applies. If you don’t know what this is, google it. But suffice to say, this is not something that Obama created – started centuries before he he was botn. It was started as a means to oppress black people. Just because people don’t listen to Obama talking about hi mother, doesn’t mean that he denounces his white heritage. Third, there seems to be an inference that black people only support Obama for the sake of receiving government handouts. Maybe there are some black people that think that. Who knows? However, that is not something that Obama has indicated at all. Now there are things Obama has talked about such as getting Bin Laden, which he did, or bringing the troops home, which he did. Etc etc. Now there are things that I don’t agree with Obama about. And there are things on Romney’s platform which I disagree with as well. Such as his anti-woman stance. And the way he seems to think running the government is the same as running a private hedge company that makes its moneybankrupting people.

  8. Jay says

    Congratulations on your success and hardwork Mia. You were very fortunate to have a wondeful role model for a mother who supported and encouraged your education. Not all children have parents like her. Some people who live in poverty are too depressed and hungry to be good parents. Perhaps you also benefited from a decent public education. And you also mentioned you received some scholarships for college. You think because you climbed the ladder of success and social mobility that anyone can? What would have happened if you mother had been ill? She would have lost her job and who would have paid her medical expenses? I expect she would have lost her health insurance if she lost her job due to illness. If she hadnt been able to pay the rent on your two bedroom apartment would it be wrong for her to accept welfare? Or should you have dropped out of school to help your family?
    The Republican party has done EVERYTHING they could to block Obama’s efforts to help our country’s economy. They have been spiteful and mean spirited and they don’t care how destructive their efforts are to our nation as long as they get rid of the half black man. Obama is not a socialist. He has elevated our standing in the world. Look at how poorly Europe is recovering from this recession compared to our recovery! And you donT wish to give an extra 4% in taxes because you think it’s going to line the pockets of your lazy high school beautician friends?

  9. Kim@Eyesonthedollar says

    You hit it right on the head by saying that lower income workers can get a salary of $28,000 or draw entitlements for around that same amount,so there is no motivation. I don’t even thing most in this category vote.

    I am constantly amazed at how our country does not seem to advocate for education, which is the only way to combat poverty in my opinion. I have lost faith in both political parties to make any sort of positive change. This is the first Presidential election that I can honestly say I have no idea who I will be voting for.

    It is really sad that politics is racially divided. Most voters don’t make the effort to find out what a candidate stands for, rather they vote based on race, faith, or whoever had the better sounding name if they vote at all.

    • Mike says

      Because most political people don’t want people educated cuz someone has to do the hard work if everyone one was educated who’s going to do the manual labor think about it that is why public schools are so bad

  10. Kendal says

    Obama hasn’t done anything for Black America and he rarely mentions race – so how is it specifically that he is dividing the nation along racial lines? Like really, point out how / when he has pulled the race card to pit “us against them”

    As a person of mixed race with dark skin and “black” hair, I disagree totally with the assumption that by identifying yourself as African American means you deny the non- AA part. that’s just plain ignorant – we are the sum of our parts, as is Obama. I’m sorry I really take offense to that part of this post. You can’t just make those type of blanket statements – that’s not ok.

    The country has always been racially divided – this didn’t happen in 2008!

    POTUS has been a failure on many many fronts and he has been successful on many many fronts.

    I believe the real problem lies in Congress – we are dead in the water because the 112th has made ZERO effort to legislate. Compromise is now a bad word. If either party appears open to working across party lines, it’s a death kneel for them. The country will not move forward until the Statesmen and women return and do their jobs!!!

  11. Marlyce says

    I tried to read all the way through but didn’t make it. Thanks for not doing a good job of masking your propaganda. Congrats on making it in life, but you haven’t really figured out what’s going on. Oh and there is no such thing as a “Republican black woman” the wool has been pulled over your eyes. *They are not for you*

    Good luck with that,

    From a 26 year old black women

  12. Virginia says

    Are there really people out there who stopped working because they thought Obama would take care of them because they are black? That is a little hard to swallow.

  13. Shilpan says

    Great perspective. It is shame that more people want government to provide everything. It’s time for a leader who can speak and stand for the great principles of freedom, liberty and personal responsibility. We really need another great leader like President Reagan or President Lincoln.

  14. John @ My Family Finances says

    I feel like this is the ultimate chicken and the egg question for economics of class. Do we subsidize a middle-class lifestyle or let people try and fail on their own. There are plenty of people down on their luck that could be successful if helped and plenty of people who intend to game the system. Somewhere in the middle of all this there is an answer I suppose.

  15. Nicole says

    For the commentor who said their is no such think is a republican black woman must have forgotten the many civil rights leaders who were Republican who got us to where we are today. Last I checked MLK was a Republican and the KKK was strongly Democratic. America was founded by forefathers who ancestors left governmental kingships that controlled the people yet America citizens continually think that our government is the answer for our issues. It irks me how many people like to make excuses for Obamas mistakes when Bush did not go to Iraq and Afghanistan alone. He did have consent from Congress including President Obama to Invade both countries. Ronald Regan was a Republican and had the job to unite the country and did after the mess of Vietnam and why is everyone all smiling at Bill Clinton now when he is speaking for his own wife’s job security and these same individuals faulted him when he had an affair. Obama’s position is that our government is in charge of making our lives more happier and that we as citizens need our government to succeed. I don’t care what color the Presidential candidate is but I want a government that is smaller and less in my business and wallet than this one. I won’t support Obama because he is very socialist and I wont support Romney because he doesn’t stand on any issue solid enough for anyone to know what he actually will do. Making excuses for Obama’s mistakes instead of critiquing him just like every other President we have before is nonsense. Who voted in the Republicans who stop all his work? Did any of you vote them in office or do you only care about the presidental races? Stop making excuses for Obama and hold him to the same critiquing as everyone else. And if you want to attack Romney for his mormon faith than you have to question what Obama faith is and why he attended Reverend Wright’s Church. Obama is a politician just like the rest and will say and do whatever will get him elected.

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