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The 2020 Presidential Election: A Layered Perspective

“Dump Trump!” has been looming across billboards and license plates across the United States since the 2016 election, where Donald Trump, a reality television star, unexpectedly beat Hillary Clinton, a seasoned politician and former First Lady of the United States. Trump was a candidate known for ‘telling it like it is’ with his hate-filled rhetoric, and lewd behavior on his campaign trail, which has been documented here. The 2016 election was an uncomfortable victory for many not apart of the ‘majority’, because it exposed the hidden truths within America, which was rooted in intolerance for others.

The 2020 election results have brought a glimmer of hope and relief from the last four years under the Trump Administration, which can be described in one word: ‘tumultuous’. However, we are not here to dwell on the past transgressions of leaders, yet the future, which will be dissected through a multi-layered point of view.

The African American Perspective

The events leading up to the presidential election were anything but good news for those apart of the African American experience. As a black woman, it broke my heart when I saw the video of Derek Chauvin and other officers disregarding George Floyd’s humanity. George Floyd’s tragic death is an indicator of systemic flaws in America. As news headlines became dominated with the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police. Along with the protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement gaining momentum, these events and impacts highlighted a grim reality that had swept up under the rug. This glaring reality being that black people are disproportionately targeted with the use of excessive force and mass incarceration. Moreover, black men are 2.5 more times to be killed by police than white men and boys. The University of Michigan, Rutgers, Washington University and 6th cause of death for black men. According to the United States Census Bureau, black people make up 12.1% of the population, yet make up more than half of the United States prison system. Our communities have been strategically systemically oppressed through the withholding of resources, which is seen with black communities lacking in all areas needed to thrive, which includes lack of adequate healthcare, access to education, opportunity, and laws intentionally created to barre us out of wealth-building opportunities. The remnants of Jim Crow, racial biases, prejudice, and white supremacy has led to this frustration we see expressed through riots. Condemnation without education of the unheard is not productive nor progressive. The only way we can all get through this is with understanding, and policy reform.

Although the semblance of a progressive society has been shown through Biden-Harris being elected to office, this administration has some atonement to void skepticism among members of the black community. This is due to the complicated bill known as the ‘Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994’, which is also known as the crime bill. According to the Brookings Institution, it implemented mandatory minimum sentences and prevented currently incarcerated people from obtaining Pell grants for education. Simultaneously, it increased funding for crime prevention. Although the intentions of the bill were seemingly positive, yet this led to the incarceration rate to quadruple, causing the epidemic of mass incarceration within the black community. This type of legislation has left a dapper on black communities, where the negative systemic effects of this bill are still being experienced currently. However, with time comes wisdom and I am confident that this administration will right their wrongs by providing opportunities for every life lost to the system.

The Woman Perspective

Watching Kamala Harris take the stage to accept her victory alongside Joe Biden as his Vice President was such an empowering moment for all women, especially those of color. She officially became the first woman and first person of color to be elected as VP, and she graduated from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). It made me feel proud and inspired, especially to witness history and to be a graduate of the very institutions that had been created out of a need for inclusion in education. Vice President Kamala Harris has truly shown every woman in America that you can achieve anything, against all of the odds.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, it is with much hope that the voices of those ignored will continue to be illuminated and their problems addressed with action. If not, I know for sure that the next 4 years, it will make the world a better place for the next generation of all types of people to come, and not just benefit some.

Guyesha Blackshear
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