Stacey Dash a Sellout? As If …

The Clueless actress' GOP endorsement may surprise some, but piling on the hate speech is not the answer.

Stacey Dash (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment);Mitt Romney (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

Inherent in this criticism of Dash is the idea that as a black woman, she should support only black or female candidates, which is also racist and sexist, not to mention self-policing. True equality is having the right to vote in general and to use that vote in the way you see fit. True equality is having the freedom to speak, even when your words are unpopular or against your self-interests and those of the communities of which you’re a part. Conflict, contradiction and hypocrisy are very much a part of this democracy, so don’t be mad because Dash isn’t necessarily “rollin’ with the homies.”

Memo to the hate speakers: Not all blacks are Democrats — never have been and never will be — so pump your brakes on the “house nig—” comments. While political-party affiliation can offer some insight into what people think, it doesn’t tell the whole story, particularly if you don’t know the history of the political parties and their constituents. Hell, Strom Thurmond started out as a Democrat, but if you don’t know about Dixiecrats, the Civil Rights Act or the historical legacy of black Republicans — little things like background and context — then that seems ridiculous.

Memo No. 2 to hate speakers: Calling people out for being racist loses all validity when you use racist and sexist language to do so. That, in fact, makes you racist, sexist, self-loathing — and, ironically, clueless. In my best Cher voice from the film by that name, “Like, seriously. We’re having all of this drama over what Stacey Dash thinks? As if.” 

That’s the reality: Dash’s endorsement of Romney is a nonissue because she has the right to vote for him even if it is against the interests of many of her fans and, I would argue, her interests as an actress. Dash has the right to self-destruct, just as many “Christian” blacks and poor whites do who plan to vote for Romney next month.

Like Dash, you have the right to vote with your dollars and not support any of her future projects if you so choose. No need for name-calling or abusive language. Besides, actions always speak louder than words.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is editor-at-large for The Root. She is also editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire, a blog dedicated to world news related to the African Diaspora and global culture. Follow her on Twitter.