Black Turnout: Why Biden “Owes this Community a Fight”

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIN
email
sharethis
Friday, November 6, 2020
Black voter turnout - protest

  

High Numbers for Black Voter Turnout

What’s happening on the ground in the critical states where ballots are still being counted — and how many votes remain to be totaled? Black voters turned out in high numbers in Philadelphia which will play a critical role in that state’s electoral outcome. Watch the video and answer the discussion questions below.

  • Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads in Georgia and made gains in Pennsylvania as of Friday morning over Republican President Donald Trump.
  • According to early data, Black voters made up 11 percent of the national electorate. Ninety percent of Black people voted for former Vice President Biden, while 8 percent backed the president.
    • But, in Pennsylvania, where Black voters made up 8 percent of the electorate, 93 percent voted for Joe Biden, and 6 percent voted for President Trump.
  • Many Black Philadelphians say their vote for Biden is as much, if not more, a vote against Donald Trump.
    • “As a progressive myself, I know that, even though we have endorsed him, he is not our ideal candidate,” said Nicholas O’Rourke, community organizer for the Working Families Party. “Joe Biden has said that he doesn’t believe in defunding from the police and investing in other communities. We do.”
    • “I think a lot of people have been disappointed just by how little fight the Democrats have shown over the past four years,” said Candace McKinley. “So, yes, I would just — I think he owes this community a fight.”

 

Black Voter Turnout: Discussion Questions

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who are the individuals featured in this piece?
  • What are Black civics leaders in this story saying about why Democratic leadership including Joe Biden needs to recognize their voice?
  • Where is the story taking place?
  • When might we know who won the election?
  • Why do Nicholas O’Rourke and Candace McKinley say that as Black Americans their voices need to be listened to more by Biden and Democratic leaders?
  • How do you think certain groups like Black Americans coming out in such high numbers for Biden will affect the election?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. Do you think certain groups like Black Americans coming out in such high numbers for Biden will affect the outcome of the election?
  2. Why have Black Americans historically voted for Democrats?
  3. Why might the recent police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. have affected Black Philadelphians vote?
  4. “I think a lot of people have been disappointed just by how little fight the Democrats have shown over the past four years,” said Candace McKinley. “So, yes, I would just — I think he owes this community a fight.”
    • Why do you think O’Rourke and McKinley say specific policies including legislation passed by elected leaders are needed if politicians want to show they support for African Americans? Do you agree?

Media literacy: When you read stories about how specific groups voted, particularly when broken down by race, it is important to read a variety of pieces to get a full picture of the issue. Keep in mind that other factors like age and socioeconomics also need to be considered.

  • For example, this Guardian article points out how “young people turn[ed] out in record numbers, and with four in ten eligible Black voters being millennials or from generation Z, the push in urban centers like Philadelphia, Atlanta and Detroit was critical for Biden.”
  • This NBC headline reads Black men shift slightly toward Trump in record numbers, polls show,” and goes onto explain that while overall Black men supported Biden, Democrats have been losing Black male support since 2008.
  • A VOX article states “Trump’s gains with Hispanic voters should prompt some progressive rethinking: Racial politics doesn’t always work how white liberals think it should.

Ask Your Students:

Why do factors like race and age play a role in how people vote? Do you think it’s important for Democratic leadership to examine why older Black men and Hispanics showed an uptick in their support for Trump?

Dig Deeper: 

  1. Read this Student Voice piece by high school student Rainier Harris on social media’s role in civic engagement among younger voters. Interested in writing for Student Voice? Send your idea to Vicky Pasquantonio at [email protected].
  2. Play these Kahoots to learn more about the nature of Election 2020 in a fun way!

 

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

Resources