Of all Americans, black people should treat the voting booth as a sacred place. Our unique collective struggle for universal suffrage is truly remarkable.
The recent campaign for governor in Georgia is one for the history books. Stacey Abrams has the chance to become the first African American female governor in the country. That's shocking one, considering the state in question is Georgia and two, the magnitude of being the first.
If those prospects excite you, I ask why? Why does the race or gender of the candidate matter? Would Dr. King, have wanted black people to vote solely on the color of the candidate's skin?
"With new power, comes new responsibility"
When you step into that voting booth you should know exactly why you are voting. You shouldn't cast a vote as an ode to racial solidarity or because you were told to. With the technological wonders of smartphones and the internet, there is no excuse for not having researched not only your preferred candidate; but research on political and economic ideas.
You may object and say that's too much work but that is your responsibility. Going further, as a black American it is irresponsible to squander our new right to vote, by mindlessly casting ballots.
It was Dr. King's dream that black children would be judged by the content of their character, their intelligence and skills, and not their skin color. A candidate should be judged by their skills, achievements, abilities, and all things that make up their character.
If you fail to see past a candidate's skin color you perpetuate the same racism Dr. King sought to eradicate. By voting by skin color, you concede that the intrinsic value of that person is only tied to skin color. This self-defeating attitude has gotten black people nowhere.
There was a growing frustration that former President Obama didn't do anything for black people. Regardless of what powers the President has to stimulate changes in the black community, this distracts from a key debate. How can you hold a politician accountable when they are guaranteed to get your vote?
Mindless voting destroys the mechanisms of accountability. The self-defeating attitude of voting by skin color plays a role in the lack of governmental response to black problems.
It is our collective responsibility to vote responsibly, and figure out for ourselves why and for whom we vote. Shallow characteristics such as skin color are unacceptable for a people who, for over three centuries, were systematically denied the right to vote.
In summary, I don't care who you vote for. I only care about why you voted.