Asking a black man what he thinks about not speaking up about voting/elections, knowing America's history regarding denying black people the right to vote up until a few decades ago, will always bring up race. He was born the same year as the Civil Rights Movement started. If I know that historical significance, he definitely does. And you don't need an "African-American reference" to know that either. You can "enjoy the art" without trying to deny someone's identity. If you have to do one in order to do the other, that speaks volumes.