Commentary: Let Stacey Dash Vote How She Wants

After tweeting out her support for Mitt Romney, the actress got in a lot of hot water with other African-Americans.

Posted: 10/11/2012 05:31 PM EDT

Stacey Dash, the Black actress probably best known for her role as Dionne Davenport in the 1995 hit film Clueless, got more press than she has in a long time earlier this month.

Dash used Twitter to out herself as a Mitt Romney supporter. Accompanied by a picture of her posing in a red bikini in front of an American flag, Dash tweeted, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.” Moments later Dash tweeted, “My humble opinion... EVERYONE is entitled to one,” but by then the damage was done, and the backlash was almost instant.

Some people gave Dash the general sort of language normally handed out in Internet tongue-lashings: “idiot,” “moron,” etc. But others, many of them African-Americans, turned to far more hurtful, racial attacks.

“Stacey Dash is an oreo,” tweeted one person, “may she get cancer twice and die once.”

“I hope he puts you right in the field. No house rights for you, Jemima,” wrote another.

“Dating all those white man turned you into a house n----.”

And these are just a few of the responses fit for print! The others are filled to the brim with people swearing at Dash, calling her a host of misogynistic names and using colorful language to question her authenticity as a Black person.

We’ve already been over Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s abysmal chances with Black voters, which is due in large part to the fact that their policies are not geared toward helping African-Americans in a significant way. There’s no need to rehash that. But what does bear repeating, if you’ve not heard it already, is that simply because a Black person votes Republican does not make them any less Black than ones who vote for a Democrat. Saying so is ignorant and divisive to the African-American community at large.

One of the longest and most difficult struggles Black Americans have faced is letting society know that, despite our tight-knit community and shared culture, each of us is a unique individual, just like the rest of humanity. That means we all have different dreams, beliefs and aspirations shaped by our different experiences. And it’s because of these different experiences that we hate to hear ignorant people say things like “Black people are only voting for Obama because he’s Black.” That quote says that Blacks can’t think for themselves and are just voting based on racial issues.

In the same vein, it’s wrong to claim that Dash is voting for a white man simply because she’s an “Uncle Tom” who wants to be accepted by whites. There are a lot of reasons a person might vote for Romney, and many of those reasons have nothing at all to do with race (for instance, maybe Dash wants to keep her taxes low on all that money she’s made in Hollywood).

Assuming that Dash is some sort of sellout goes directly against the idea that Blacks are not people of one mind. If you truly support diversity of opinion in the Black community, regardless of who you’re voting for, you should also support Stacey Dash when she speaks her mind.

These views do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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