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Opinion: A ‘man’s man’: Why some Black men are drawn to Trump’s toxic masculinity

I often wonder how Vernon Jones, a Georgia state representative, went from being the Democratic leader of the majority-Black county I grew up in to crowd surfing at a rally for President Trump.

Jones was a fixture in DeKalb County’s Democratic Party for much of my childhood. He dodged various scandals, including complaints about his security detail and his management team, and managed to remain in public life. I was, however, surprised to see Jones speak at this year’s Republican National Convention, where he attacked his own party, claiming that Democrats do not want Black Americans to leave their “mental plantation.”

White liberals are “horrified” because “I’m Black and not voting for Joe Biden,” Jones, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat, told me. “They think they’re in charge of Black people and we should follow them and not ask any questions. They don’t do anything to earn our vote.”

I understand — to a certain extent — his frustration with the Democratic Party. I grew up around Black adults who fancied themselves conservatives and were castigated by other African Americans, and by white liberals, for voting like their white evangelical counterparts. I feel that Democrats sometimes take the votes of people of color for granted, and don’t do enough to combat racism in white America. And many institutions that fancy themselves to be progressive — including the mainstream media — have a long way to go to be reflective of the nation’s diversity.

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