*I’m 38 and the majority of Blacks in my generation do not attend church. The numbers are even higher when you factor in millennials and the group behind them. It’s a problem that even Black churches acknowledge as their congregations are older and older and smaller and smaller. Fact check it.
I’m not hating on the Black church or taking anything away from their past accomplishments in turning out the Black vote. I’m just simply pointing out that the Black vote–the informed Black vote—today and in the near future will rest outside of the Black church where we actually have to do research and figure out who and what we want to vote for. Those of us not in the church don’t have the luxury of having people we look like or who we like to come before us on any given Sunday during election season to tell us what to do. We have to inform ourselves.
The mistake that most political campaigns make–both local and national–is that they almost always completely ignore Blacks who aren’t in the church and don’t own a home. That’s a mistake. A big one. The future, as sad as this is going to sound to some, is less Blacks up in the church as their parents and grandparents generations die off and more people–including Blacks–renting their homes rather than owning. This is particularly true in states like California.
This idea of using the Black church to turn out the Black vote in mass will only be feasible for a little while longer. The time is now to go back to the drawing board to develop new ideas and ways to reach the masses of Black who are going to replace their parents and grandparents at the polls.
Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, Jasmyne Cannick is best known as a journalist and political and social commentator on the intersection of pop culture, politics and race. Follow her online at jasmyneonline.com, @Jasmyne on Twitter and /JasmyneCannick on Facebook.