The phone rings. It’s another call from my mother. She wants to know if I voted— if I got to the polling station before the early voting period ended. She doesn’t want my work schedule to get in the way, and she won’t accept any excuses on Election Day.

My mother wants to make sure I vote for Joe Biden, and that I don’t “waste” my vote on any other candidate.

Naturally, my parents are like most Black parents grooming their children to follow the blue elephant. And like most Black parents, they act like my single ballot is the thin line between progress for our people and the reinstatement of Jim Crow Laws.

In fact, Democrats have consistently won more than 80 percent of the Black vote in presidential elections since 1964. That’s despite the party’s liberal agenda contradicting our consistently moderate to conservative views and our concerns being vastly different from non-black Democrats.

A time when Blacks wholeheartedly supported the Republican party or that the earliest African-Americans appointed to Congress where members of the GOP is hard to imagine.

Again, it’s the same call and bombardment of text messages I get from my mother every election. My participation is of great importance this time. Her voice carries its standard sternness, but I can sense a tinge in the back of her throat— this time, she is deeply afraid.

I’m nonchalant on the phone and give her the usual lines— the usual promises, the usual annoyed tone— but deep down I’m on edge, too.

My mother fears four more years of presidential leadership that prods division and nods to white supremacists. Meanwhile, I’m just frustrated.

My vote counts but toward what?

Despite those feelings, I’ll be at the polling booth choosing between two candidates that address only three-fifths of my person— a person who works, a person who pays taxes and a person who can legally vote.

While my non-Black friends vote as a basic exercise of their individual rights, my vote is a symbolic act of my allegiance to the Black community and my respect for the generations who fought for me to participate.

I don’t have options, just obligations.

Blacks are publicly shamed by each other for voting Republican and risk being outright canceled for supporting Donald Trump, a candidate heralded by proud racists and who frivolously hurls insults at the Black community. More and more articles are popping up across the internet on the illusive Black Republican, solidifying the thought these voters are outcast.

Democrats have taken advantage of Black loyalty for so long, they’ve grown entitled to our vote. Remember: If you’re have a problem figuring out if you’re for Biden or Trump, then you ain’t Black.

The party prides itself in fighting for Black interests when we’re just getting residual benefits. In some cases, they’ve even ushered in policies that have had long-term negative impacts on the Black community, such as the War on Crime. Police brutality and curbing mass incarceration hasn’t been at the top of their agenda either— nowhere near the pedestal of abortion rights and ending climate change.

Democrats spent three days grilling newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett about whether she’ll uphold Roe vs. Wade, but not a single question related to the civil unrest plaguing the country as millions demand federal level reform in policing and the judicial system.

Blacks trapped voting Democrat

Truthfully, many Blacks share the same values as Republicans when it comes to social issues and a growing number support their economic policies. However, those feelings have to take a backseat as we fend off racism.

Unlike many Republican leaders, Democrats didn’t spend 2020 pushing flagrant acts of voter suppression or protecting memorials to Confederate leaders. Republicans often preach that Blacks bow to Democrats for handouts although white Americans have benefited far more from government assistance than Blacks, who have often been excluded or denied by these programs.

While most Blacks feel Biden is empathic to the plights of Blacks in America, according to a Washington Post poll, opinions are split between those for Biden and those simply against Donald Trump. The same poll also found that addressing racism is a key concern for Black voters.

Several generations of fighting, Black people are still having to choose between blocking racists on the ballot or prioritizing their real stances on issues. It’s disgusting a candidate on any level can build a political following — let alone a political platform — on demonizing any ethic group and America is divided on whether that’s acceptable.

Today, I’m going to vote Democrat even though I don’t care for candidates like Joe Biden because I can’t vote Republican— my vote isn’t just a reflection of my opinion but an attempt to protect the people I love.