A cable news network’s interview with a Black voter in Detriot was going viral Wednesday after he eloquently and accurately addressed the overt acts of voter intimidation by Trump supporters looking to stop ballots from being counted in Michigan’s election, which Joe Biden was projected to win.
The interview was especially notable for his phrasing of words — using a crafty combination of “picking cotton” and “presidents” — to contextualize the value of Black voters in America while also addressing a false narrative that blames Black voters for making the 2020 election closer than it was expected to be.
The interview aired live on MSNBC after videos showed throngs of Donald Trump‘s supporters confronting ballot counters and chanting for them to stop tabulating the votes, something the president’s campaign called for earlier in the day. People could be seen angrily yelling at vote-counters and menacing them as workers scrambled to cover the glass windows that separated the two groups.
It was in that context that an MSNBC reporter conducted a man-on-the-street-style interview with a Black man identified by the Recount as “a chaplain in Detriot.”
When the reporter asked him what he thought about the “stop the count” protest in Detroit, he described the Trump supporters as “intimidating efforts” but said, “we’re not deterred.”
When he was asked who he thought the protesters were, he noted that they have been consistent in their support for the president, so he wasn’t surprised by them. Instead, he took the opportunity to put the role of Black voters in its proper perspective.
“The Black vote in Detroit is higher than it’s ever been and we will determine the outcome,” he said, “because we’ve gone from picking cotton to picking presidents.”
Watch the poignant exchange below.
It was a brilliant summation of the current and historical situations that Black voters have found themselves in.
Those true words came in spite of a growing narrative being pushed on social and in mainstream media suggesting Black voters are at fault because widely shared exit polling data conducted by Edison Research showed support for Trump grew among Black voters compared to four years ago.
Regardless of how accurate that data is, it was a strange statistic to highlight considering the same data set found that more white women — more than half of them, in fact — also voted for Trump in larger numbers than they did four years ago. In fact, white men — who still voted for Trump in strong numbers — were the only voting demographic that didn’t show more support for Trump than in 2016, according to the data.
White people, of course, account for a much larger share of the U.S. population than Black people do, which leaves the “blame Black voters” argument rife with logical flaws.
CNN got it right when it published Brandon Tensley’s op-ed on Wednesday with the accurate headline, “Millions of White voters are once again showing who they are.”
This is America.