America has a black women problem. The president of the United States told two congresswomen to go back to Africa. And not one elected Arizona Republican has denounced him. They have not even mustered a half-hearted and insincere rebuke of the head of their party within the first 48-hours of this racist screed.
The Republican black woman problem is overt, hostile, and intentional. When the former chief of staff of the president lies to the nation about a black congresswoman and Arizona’s elected officials do not correct him, that is by design. When another black congresswoman’s hair is mocked, ridiculed and derided and once again all of Arizona’s elected Republican officials fail to condemn this bullying.
To paraphrase Kanye West, the Arizona Republican Party does not care about black women.
However, we write about the Democratic Party and its black woman problem – and it does not arise from the party’s default strategy to sell the most milquetoast Democratic candidate to black women. This problem is far more pernicious; and it only reveals itself when a black woman demands respect.
On July 12, 2019, a jury delivered a verdict that would declare Talonya Adams, a former black staffer of the Arizona Senate, the survivor of racial discrimination.
In fact, Ms. Adams would be discriminated against in the office of a party that we believed its mission was to defend her, and others, from the violence of discrimination. With the face of said injustice being the then-Democratic Senate minority leader and now secretary of state, Katie Hobbs.
Seven white men and women and one Latino comprised the jury, and they deliberated over the evidence: pertinent documents, emails, data, and testimony — including from Secretary Hobbs. Ultimately, the jury determined that the only way to redress the injury that the Democrats had inflicted upon Ms. Adams was to compensate her $1 million.
This jury repudiated the party that we belong to. The party that black people in Arizona support 91 percent of the time at the ballot box. The party that we knocked on tens of thousands of doors for. The party that we tweeted for, posted for, phone-banked for.
We raised the black voter turnout in this state from approximately 26 percent in 2014 to 44 percent in 2018. It was done with no money, no support, no resources, and it was all powered by the collective industry or our minds and sweat of our brows.
Realize, black voters were the margin that elected Secretary Hobbs, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, and U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
We can count on our fingers the number of black persons who staff the offices we decisively elected.
To date, Arizona’s federal delegation only has one black staffer. To date, only one Democrat has signed on to HR 40. To date, the Secretary of State’s Office has zero black staffers.
How are black people, who are the most loyal members of the Democratic Party, going to get experience when we cannot even get a call-back? And if we do get the job, we have to suffer the violent indignity of racial discrimination.
When we look at who controls the levers of power, we fail to locate any black people. If anything, we have systematically been rendered invisible, invaluable and inconsequential.
This verdict is a stain on our party: the physical manifestation of a racial slur or epithet. The living, breathing incarnation of the N-word hurled at the black community.
Here’s our default strategy: black people voted Democrats into office. And, if Democrats’ actions do not change, our labor and votes will go elsewhere.
This jury’s verdict demonstrates that discrimination crosses party lines.
Garrick McFadden is a Phoenix-based attorney and Eric Brock Jr. is with the Black Voter Initiative.