Wayne Dawkins is a writer, and a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO

Thirty-three states have Republicans proposing laws to restrict voting. The proposals are intended to pacify the one-term, twice-impeached former U.S. president. It is a direct assault on people who performed their civic duty. 

These unconstitutional acts must be resisted. Citizens, register complaints with bill sponsors in states including Arizona and Pennsylvania, or at the congressional level, sound off on U.S. senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, both who instigated baseless and failed attempts to overturn the counting of Electoral College votes. The Yale law professor who taught both men said he is done with them because of their reprehensible behavior.” 

As Isabel Wilkerson wrote in “Caste,” a prescient tome published just before the 2020 election and the siege of the Capitol a month later, a century-old scam was laid bare. White poor- and working-class people can no longer assume they will be alright simply because they are White, although that was the promise guaranteed to them for generations by politicians.  

Blacks and other people of color were supposed to stay permanently at the bottom of America’s caste system, Wilkerson argues. However, “In the span of a few, cruel years,” wrote the New York Times columnist Russell Baker of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, “he has seen his comfortable position as the ‘in’ man of American society become a social liability as the outcasts and the exploited have presented their due bills on their conscience.”

Those “cruel” years were the mid-1960s when civil rights laws were passed, and for the past 55 years we have lived in an inclusive, authentic democracy, Van Newkirk of The Atlantic Monthly recently told Joy Reid of MSNBC. But new freedom and inclusion ignited an inevitable backlash. 

Meanwhile, during Henry Louis Gates’ documentary love letter to Black churches, he noted that the Black middle class doubled post the death of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Black upper middle class quadrupled in size.

As a people, Black folks generally are doing much better, even as we have to acknowledge that too many of our kind still are stubbornly stuck in poverty and need a way out.

So, we must not sleep and let anyone erase our hard-won gains. 

The horror/sci-fi movie Antebellum starring Janelle Monae is an urgent metaphor about Trumpism and the White domestic terror that has been stoked. No 45 attempted to erase eight years of the Barack Obama presidency. Furthermore, the White nationalists Trump incited violently attacked an entire branch of government Jan. 6, and erupted similarly in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017, and last year in Lansing, Mich. 

Black-led governance and intellect is reviled and feared because it shatters White supremacy. 

In “Antebellum,” Monae’s character, a sistah Ph.D with a public platform and an upper-middle class life, is kidnapped and placed on a Civil War-era southern plantation to toil as a field slave.

Has she time traveled, or was she sentenced to a new 21st century reality? 

You’ll have to see the movie, which has the distinct flavor of Get Out and “Us.” 

More importantly, the performing art is warning us about real life. We’re in the fight of our lives. Respond immediately and block attempts to restrict voting because the so-called “wrong” people showed up.   

The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO. Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to editor@afro.com