Considering History, African American Libertarianism Should Not Be Surprising

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Below, Eric July makes the same case I have made for a long time. (If less convincingly by virtue of my whiteness.) If there is any group (after perhaps the American Indians) who have been wronged most by big government in this country it is the African American community. Segregation was imposed by the state. Slavery as an institution was codified by the state. Yet mainstream African American politics has long been associated with an expansive government. There are logical reasons for this. But there are logical reasons for black folks to really question the need, indeed the purpose, of a powerful state too.

(From Being Libertarian)

This article is not designed to sway the African American vote one way or the other. This piece does not suggest that one must support a certain ideology simply because they are black; I put a lot of pride in attempting to make sure that people understand that blackness is not authenticated by political alignment. I am in no way, shape, or form, suggesting that other minority groups were not oppressed by their own government. The purpose of the piece is to highlight why and how it should not be remotely absurd for African Americans to embrace libertarianism. All one has to do is have knowledge of American history. I am not here to make an argument for which style of libertarianism is more or less rational (anarchism, minarchism, etc.), but I will point out how African Americans have been given plenty of reasons to push for little or no government.

People of African descent have been disrespected, discriminated against, and treated unfairly by the state for hundreds of years by the American government. This is not up for debate. Let us not argue semantics or dispute when Africans were brought to America. Let us not turn this into a “well, blacks owned slaves too” debate. Let’s focus on what we all cannot deny: the state has been historically used to oppress people of African descent…

…The East Louisiana Railroad opposed the Separate Car Act not because of the racial segregation, but because the law would require them to purchase more railcars to accommodate the new mandate. Knowing this, the state sent a detective to enforce the law. Homer Plessy boarded a whites-only railcar after purchasing a ticket, was asked to move to the blacks only car, and was later detained because he refused to move. He was arrested because of the racist Separate Car Act, not because the railroad company cared that he sat with whites and was part black.

Click here for the article.