As a Black man, You’re Gonna Have to Earn My Vote in 2016

Black Community, Black Girls Rock, Black Lives Matter


Dear presidential candidates,

Gone are the days where I solely vote on a candidate because they are the lessor of two evils.  Gone are the days where I vote democrat just because it’s what black people do.  As a African-American male, if you’re not speaking on issues that affect my community in detail, i refuse the right to vote for you.  The Democratic Party has used and abused the black vote for too long.  None of the three democratic candidates, Hillary, Bernie or Martin have made racial justice a top priority in their campaign.  This needs to change and our voices need to be heard for once.   I’m sick of racial issues being ignored while our communities continue to be grossly affected.  Who will be the first candidate to rise up and unapologetically say “Black lives matter?”

Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley had a chance to engage Black Lives Matter protestors at a Netroots Nation conference in Arizona.  They fumbled almost every question asked to them, with Bernie Sanders completely ignoring the issue.  Granted, Mass incarceration and prison reform have come up as footnotes but racial justice as a whole needs to be addressed. Personally, I want a candidate who is well versed on issues of race and how it affects almost every system in our country.  Barack has done a great job in his second term brining discussions of race to the forefront and whomever is in office needs to continue this discussion , frankly and in greater detail.  Democrats have historically ignored black issues except when it could get them a vote.  Bill Clinton was loved by black americans, yet passed one of the most discriminatory criminal justice bills this country has ever seen.  This cannot happen again.   Cases like Tamir Rice, Sandra Blunt, Rekia Boyd, Natasha McKenna, and Jordan Davis need to be heard and addressed. Black Lives Matter.  We now have a voice and a community that cannot and will not be silenced.

Dear future candidates,

If you want my and many other votes, you WILL discuss police brutality, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, sentencing laws, prison reform, raising minimum wage, bringing jobs back to the inner cities etc.  These are not just black issues, but American issues that just happen to disproportionately affect people of color. Every American needs to be educated on issues that affect people of color because we’ve been hiding in the shadows for too long.

5 things every black girl should hear 

Black Community, Black Girls Rock, Lists, Self Help

1.  You are beautiful

 
Beauty comes in so many different shades and colors.  The media and advertising often exposes young black girls to one definition of beauty.  Every black girl should be taught they they are beautiful.  This is not only important for her self esteem, but for acceptance of  herself and culture.

2.  You are heard

 
Black women and girls are often, directly or indirectly, told their opinions don’t matter as much as their male counterparts.  When women often voice their opinions in a matter, they are hushed or made to feel inferior.  Young black girls need to be told their opinion matters and they can express themselves.   They can be as loud and as assertive as they want to be.  If somebody is intimidated, fuck them.

3.  You can be ANYTHING you want to be

 
Women can really do and be anything they want to be.  The earlier girls know this, the better.  We often limit our girls by exposing them to limited career choices.   Showing them that they CAN be doctors, lawyers, bodybuilders, construction workers or whatever they desire early on will benefit them as they grow older and start making career choices.  Although being Instagram models and using your beauty as a career is fine, young girls need to know using  other tools in your chest like your brain may be more rewarding and get you a bit further in the long run.

4.  YOU come FIRST

 
Black women have often had to make some of the bigger sacrifices in the black community.  They’ve had to hold down the household while men were allowed to do whatever they wanted.  It is often in the nature of a woman to put her needs aside for the greater good, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of a mans ego or selfish choices.  Black girls should know that THEY come first, before family, friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, at least until you have children.  Every girl should know her mental, physical, financial and emotional state ALWAYS comes first.

4.  Having a man should NOT be a priority 

 
I’ve told my niece this over and over again.  You DO NOT need a man to be happy and successful. Love is a beautiful thing, however, men come and go but a degree is forever.  Michelle already had her law degree and was a junior lawyer at her law firm when she met Barack. It’s human for us to desire love, but get your OWN first.   I’ve seen so many women, especially women of color go through hell and high water to say they have a man.  They would stunt their growth and make sacrifices for temporary relationships.  That’s five years you could have many going to school, making money and establishing yourself.   Im not saying don’t be in a relationship, but establishing yourself first should be of the most importance. If you do find love in the process of getting your own, that’s great.  If not, that’s great too.

5. You are POWERFUL

 
If women knew their own power, their would be no wars, no strife, and men would be a footnote in history.  Some women don’t know their power which is often distressing.  Black women birth human civilization, but have never been given due credit. Black women are Kings and Queens, warriors and mothers, fighters and lovers aka complex human beings.  Black culture begins and ends with black women.  A Black culture that influences the world.  That is power.   Every young black girl needs to be told this.