Zia Hassan

Voting Is Important But

I’ve spoken to a number of friends in the last few weeks, and I’ve asked all of them what they are doing to address racial injustice.

Sometimes I just bring it up, other times it comes up naturally. I do not ask in an accusatory way. It’s good to know different ways people are coping with the ongoing tragedy of the unnecessary and unjustified loss of black lives.

The most common response I’ve gotten so far is voting. Voting for people who represent anti-racist views is certainly one way to change the system, because it is those people who will propose and enact antiracist legislation. And when I read those long Instagram infographics, they usually end with “and most importantly… vote the racists out of office!”

But it’s not enough.

Simply replacing those who promote racist legislation with those who_are more likely to promote_ antiracist legislation will not shift our culture, the way I see it.

Saying that you’ll vote for a democrat is often a way of saying “I’d rather check a box than look inward and understand how my contributions keep promoting the inequity.”

Voting is incredibly important. But the work is life-long. There’s no way around it. We must commit to it and demand that our politicians commit to it as well.

Otherwise, we may think we’re making progress when we aren’t.