Who Won The Warnock-Walker Debate? Not Black Men

My sincerest prayers and condolences to anyone who watched last Friday’s political debate between Georgia senatorial candidates Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker. Some outlets had the nerve and audacity to ask which of the two Black men “won” the dialogue, even after a photo of a badge-toting Walker went viral. 

I don’t think there’s any question about who would be the better candidate for the seat. Warnock is more sensible, politically savvy and conscientious than Walker. With that said, I can tell you definitively who LOST the debate – Black men.

During the discussion, the moderator asked both candidates if they believed that the minimum wage should be raised. Regretfully, neither candidate said it should be raised.

Walker’s stance was expected – he is, after all, a badge-carrying Republican. Warnock’s stance was disappointing, since he is the pastor of the world-famous Ebenezer Baptist Church. I’ll share a quote from one of Ebenezer’s former ministers, the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from his last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective–the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Dr. King wrote that in 1967, and we are here 55 years later watching two Black men discuss their reluctance to slightly bump the minimum wage. It is a familiar approach by Black folks in politics – making reformist suggestions, if any suggestions at all, instead of radical ones.

This approach, which lacks courage, certainly hurts Black people, the working class, and poor people overall. When Black men are the faces of such an approach in politics, it flies in the face of the realities which face brothas overall.

The outcomes that we face in education, healthcare and employment require us to be bold. The Black women in politics are reflective of educated sistas – upwardly mobile. Their politics can be similarly conservative at times, but there is cohesion and charisma with the likes of Stacey Abrams and others.

We see none of that with Warnock and Walker – and that is part of the reason why this race is so close. There needs to be a radically political uprising among Black men, one that responds to the perpetual disrespect we face in this society. This doesn’t mean we should run to the Republican Party – far from it. We need to craft our own local political movements and unify in a way that demands the attention of states and the nation overall. 

Anything less will leave us at the mercy of bad politics, and those politics are mercilessly emasculating Black men.

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