Skin, Bits, Issues, and Voting
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Posted by: Karnythia
So I have to confess that I was really hoping a front runner for the Democrats would emerge on Super Tuesday solely because then I could stop hearing pundits discuss whether I was voting with my vagina or the skin that covers it. See, I’m that elusive creature in the current political landscape. That’s right, I’m a black woman. *cue gasps from the audience* Want to hear something even more shocking? I don’t vote based on either factor. I’m all about the issues. I don’t think I’m alone in that attitude either after looking at yesterday’s results. Despite the hype from various pundits on demographics and what they’d mean to the election, it looks like Americans voted based on something besides race and gender.
Originally I had planned to analyze the platforms of the two front runners after we knew who was most likely to be facing off in November. But, since I have several more months of hearing “Black women are voting based on race” if Obama wins a primary, and “Black women are voting based on gender” if Hillary is in the lead? I’ve had to change direction in the interests of preserving my sanity. I want to pull aside anyone reading this and break some very important news to you. Black women? Don’t share the same brain. In fact women don’t all share the same brain. Men? Not sharing a brain either.
Shockingly voters (whether male,female, LGBT, black, white, Asian, Latino/a or NDN) are usually capable of deciphering which candidates share their personal belief system. And while that belief system may be influenced by gender or by race, there is no central authority dictating that black men may only experience X or white women may only believe Y. This idea that you’re a traitor to your gender or your race based on voting for a candidate that doesn’t look like you is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve been a registered voter since I was 18 and generally candidates don’t look like me. But no one seems to be interested in insisting that voting for the white guy is influenced by race or gender, it’s only when the candidates differ from what we’ve been taught to view as the norm that suddenly our votes can’t possibly be based on issues.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the issues are all that matter, in fact they’re all that should ever matter in an election. Not tears, not spouses, and not the way a name sounds or what’s being circulated in email forwards of dubious provenance. This isn’t a beauty pageant or a popularity contest, this is us choosing a leader that will be in a position to impact the course of the entire world. So if I’m not voting for the candidate you support? Please stop insisting it’s because I’m black or because I’m a woman. It’s because I don’t agree with your candidate’s platform, or I doubt the veracity of their claims that they had no idea that a racist newsletter was going out in their name for nearly 20 years. Respect your neighbor’s right to think for themselves and to choose which issues matter the most to them. Remember when America’s goal was to be a democracy? Maybe we can bring that idea back. This time without the partisan politics.
“Karnythia is a writer, a historian, and occasionally a loud mouth. In between raising hell and raising kids she usually manages to find time to contemplate the meaning of life as a black woman in America.” Her posts on any topic (including a copy of this one) can be found at her LiveJournal.