It used to be a kind of “family” secret. Before Twitter and Facebook, we were able to keep the intra-community ugliness under wraps, more or less, while we shot each other with poison arrows via the grapevine.
Stacey Dash, star of the 90s hit movie, Clueless, announced her support of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney last Sunday. The beautiful actress of African American and Mexican descent appears to have been dumbstruck by the negative reaction to her choice by some African Americans on Twitter.
Superstar actor Samuel L. Jackson tweeted:
"Wait, did Stacey Dash Really endorse Romney today?! REALLY????! Is she CRA...........??!"
Non-celebrities weighed in with similar thoughts:
"You're an unemployed black woman endorsing @MittRomney. You're voting against yourself thrice. You poor beautiful idiot," tweeted one critic.
"Wait stacey dash is voting for romney? you get a lil money and you forget that you're black and a woman. two things romney hates," tweeted another.
"Still clueless," quipped another.
You see, there is a large segment of the black community that believes all black people should think, act and believe alike. Obviously, that belief is held by many African Americans from all social and economic strata. They don’t care how important you get, how much money you amass or what belief system appeals to you more; if you are black, you support blacks, period.
Stacey Dash has a net worth of $8 million, according to a Forbes list. She has spent about half of her 46 years living and playing among the Hollywood glitterati. It is not hard to imagine why fixing the economy would be at the top of her criteria when it comes to choosing the recipient of her presidential vote.
For me, it is hard to imagine that she wouldn’t be equally concerned about social issues. Stacey wasn’t born with a silver spoon (or foot) in her mouth, hailing as she does from the Bronx. But, hey, this is America and in America ALL Americans have the right to think and choose whichever way makes them comfortable. For Stacey, it seems, she’d be more comfortable with Romney for the next four years because she believes he knows how to fix the economy. It’s not like she didn’t vote for President Obama four years ago.
In a lot of ways, an independent thinker has a rough row to hoe in the black community. When I decided to marry my WASP, Reagan Republican second husband, I was not oblivious to the snickers, sneers and whispers behind the brown hands of some of my black friends. I just chose to ignore them, something I learned to do early on in order to survive in a sometimes hostile community.
Just as Kermit the Frog of Muppet fame croons about it “Ain’t Easy Being Green,” it takes a strong set of gonads to go your own way among some African Americans.
Before I started working full-time for a living, I was free to focus my political energies entirely on social justice issues. After spending a few years working my way up the career and salary ladders, economic issues began to rise on my list of priorities. Much like everyone else around me, I was eager to retain the things I worked so hard to get. I listened far more carefully to arguments for financial stability and I bristled at the thought of yet another percentage point of tax.
Enter the disparaging term “sell-out.” The same people who marched and ranted against the Establishment in the name of equal access to opportunity for minorities, now turned on me for getting that access and wanting to keep it.
Yes, I will admit to being suspicious of black conservatives. I don’t quite understand their priorities. I wonder if they understand fully their dubious welcome among the conservative base. Are they delusional? Or is it that they are hopeful? Perhaps just selfish. All such thoughts do cross my mind.
But, doggone it, men and women of all colors and creeds have given their lives and continue to do so in order for Americans to have the right to think for themselves and speak their own personal truths. Stacey Dash should be able to publicly support anyone she chooses without being attacked.
Then again, that, too, is part of what it means to be free. America, the beautiful.