George Washington Carver was a Republican; Jackie Robinson was a Republican.
They are two of the most revered black pioneers in the history of humankind.
Something tells me they would be mortified by the injustice suffered by Hollywood’s Stacey Dash last week.
The lovely 46-year-old actress sent this Tweet: “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.”
She immediately was vilified in the Twitter-world. It’s ironic that a woman who starred in a movie called Clueless literally was being lambasted as clueless.
One vitriolic response said: “You’re an unemployed black woman endorsing MittRomney. You’re voting against yourself thrice. You poor beautiful idiot.”
When this shameful vilification surfaced, I immediately thought of two previous episodes: O.J. Simpson and George W. Bush.
Back in 1995, during the Simpson trial, when living in New York, a black barber incessantly pleaded to me: “Don’t write that; don’t write that. Black people will call you a traitor.”
The barber was referring to a commentary that I had planned to write about Simpson’s guilt. My premise was that Simpson obviously was guilty and deserved the death penalty. The barber ultimately was right: Some of the reader-response mail pointedly referred to me as a traitor.
Back in 2000, after Bush won the presidential election, he appointed Colin Powell as secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser. Afterward, a Washington black cabdriver subsequently told me: “It doesn’t help us.”
In other words, having a black secretary of state and national security adviser is irrelevant to black folk, even though the appointments were historic. That is to say, black citizens would be better served with a traditional black appointee to a presidential Cabinet, such as secretary of Health and Human Services or secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
In context, all of this is an awkward way of saying that black folk shouldn’t be concerned with national security. Go figure.
And, in the larger picture, the under-covered element underscoring all of these episodes is simply this: Many black people tend to stereotype themselves.
In Stacey Dash’s case, to many, she didn’t have a choice. You either vote for President Obama or subject yourself to national humiliation. No land of the free and home of the brave for her. Because the “Black Thought Police” will make up her mind for her. The bottom line is that when Dash transmitted that tweet, she lost all inalienable rights as a black person.
The underlying question again rears its contemptuous head: Does a black person have the right to say No to Obama?
Samuel L. Jackson, a black actor who has a penchant for gutter-hardened profanity, essentially says No. He unabashedly told Ebony magazine: “I voted for Barack because he was black. Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them. That’s American politics, pure and simple. (Obama’s) message didn’t mean (bleep) to me.”
Imagine if actor Leonardo DiCaprio, in a didactic tone, said he was voting for Romney because he’s white. Suffice to say, what’s good for Sam wouldn’t be good for Leo.
Stacey Dash is stationed at the polar opposite of Sam. In response to the Twitter-transmitted vitriol, Dash told Piers Morgan of CNN: “It is my right as an American citizen. It’s my constitutional right to have my choice of who I want to vote for for president.”
Dash is right.
Actor Clint Eastwood is a well-known Republican; he isn’t vilified. And what about one of the Baldwin brothers, Stephen, who is a staunch Republican, the opposite of liberal-leaning Alec. They, at least outwardly, aren’t subjected to intense hatred.
Such as this below:
“Kill yourself, you old hag.”
Stacey told Morgan that Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, offered her comforting reassurance via telephone call: “He said thank you so much for your support and that I was brave and that they support me. And I thought that was just so generous and kind, you know. Lovely, really.”
She had to endure all of this trauma and drama for simply making an informed choice. As Dash advised, “I say, do your homework. Look at your country. Think about the next four years of your life. You know? And also, look at — look at Mitt Romney’s track record, you know, as a CEO, he’s excelled. As the governor of Massachusetts, he did quite well. And you know, listen to what he says. You know, I believe him. And I believe he deserves a shot.”
That quote is her way of saying that she, indeed, has a clue.
And Stacey Dash also proved one crucial point from the other side: Stereotyping is clueless, too.
Gregory Clay is assistant sports editor for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.