Black racial identity must be fought with white racial identity.
Years ago, I spoke to a man who had once hunted deer in what is now just another Atlanta suburb. Once some of the best hunting land in the state, houses in the area are now appraised for three quarters of a million dollars as whites continue to flee the city. The process continues, because no matter how far whites move away, diversity will follow. Before he succumbed to cancer, the man, who almost became my father-in-law, warned that the future “was not going to be pretty.” “I’m sorry,” he said, as if the world he was leaving behind was his fault.
This conversation came back to me as I read media coverage of the Brian Kemp/Stacey Abrams election for governor. The truth is that the Georgia that man remembered was already gone even a decade ago. The turning point came when Viktor Hill was elected the first black sheriff of Clayton County. Home to one of the first Chick-fil-A restaurants (and where the founder of Chick-fil-A taught Bible school for more than 50 years), Clayton County was a white working-class Atlanta suburb that was 92 percent white in 1980. Today, it is 12 percent white. When Sheriff Hill took office in 2015, the county was 20 percent white and 65 percent black. The new sheriff’s first action was to fire the four highest ranking white officers (along with many others), put snipers on the roof of the police building, and parade his victims out like members of a conquered tribe. I remember talking to the older man about this episode a decade ago and he warned, “That’s just the beginning.”
The next step is the current gubernatorial race. Stacey Abrams, who has called for sandblasting Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson off the face of Stone Mountain because it is “a blight on our state,” enjoys 90 percent support from black voters. Mr. Kemp has 4 percent black support and nearly two-thirds of white support.
In 1990, Georgia was 70 percent white and 26 percent black. Georgia is now 54.2 percent white, 31.4 percent black, 9.9 percent Hispanic, and 4.3 percent Asian. The county I called home was almost 95 percent white in 1990; today, it is only two-thirds white.
As Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times pointed out, whites are disfranchised by diversity, and Miss Abrams’s entire platform is largely racial resentment. In April 2018, she headlined a conference to promote reparations and other far-left policies. During the Democratic primary, she refused to condemn blacks who hijacked a 2017 conference and shouted down her white opponent with chants of “support black women.”
Black women, nearly 1.1 million Georgian voters, will vote monolithically for Miss Abrams. The Washington Post recently explained their bloc vote:
For decades, black women have been among the most politically active groups in the country, responsible for the Democratic Party’s bragging rights to the “women’s vote” in presidential and statewide races. In Obama’s two elections in 2008 and 2012, black women voted at a higher rate than any demographic group.
Hillary Clinton claimed 94 percent of black women’s votes in 2016, while 52 percent of white women backed Donald Trump. Strong turnout by black women helped Democrats win the past two governor’s races in Virginia, and last year, black women were credited with nudging Doug Jones over the finish line in a close special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama against Republican Roy Moore.
Black women in Georgia have been busy in their neighborhoods, hosting events to register and rally voters. During the primary, groups of black women from across the country descended on Georgia to help with get-out-the-vote efforts. Another influx of volunteers is expected in the next several days.
Christina Greer, a political-science professor at Fordham University, said that after keeping faith with the Democratic Party for so long, “black women feel like our time has come and our just due is well overdue.”
“Stacey Abrams is the personification of our hard work and effort and collective brilliance,” Greer said. “She is overly qualified for this position, completely ready, and she hasn’t sold her soul to get to this position. She celebrates the fact that she is a black woman.”
Abrams, 44, embraces the historic nature of her candidacy in her stump speech, suggesting that her identity makes her uniquely qualified to lead the state.
Miss Abrams was no doubt celebrating her identity when she noted that her support comes from both the “documented and undocumented.” In 1992, she burned the version of Georgia state flag that included the Confederate flag. Today, she is remaking the state’s politics through politics rather than symbols.