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Black, Mormon and all the Stereotypes in Between - Unique but Not So Different

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Prior to 2008 seeing a Black President in office outside of the silver screen seemed almost on par as with hearing Jesus was coming again: both events I believed to be true but not in my lifetime. To now have the President seeking re-election and a Mormon candidate presidential hopeful, I think it speaks volumes of the changing faces of America. This in my opinion has both positive and negative implications as it opens opportunities for us to hopefully have the interaction we need in efforts to move us forward as a nation instead of this segmented block of pseudo knowledge and understanding.

When conversation turns to politics, more often than not it is assumed that I am voting for President Obama. Thinking and having the ability to verbalize thoughts on issues apparently gets lost between my lips and in my melanin. When people find out I am a Mormon convert, in addition to the quizzical looks, the assumption then leads to my having an instantaneously alignment with Mitt Romney. Oh for prejudice sake!

Being Black and Mormon or African American and a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believer, to say that stereotypes have run rampant would be grossly understated. While seeming paradoxical, Black Mormons aren’t the anomaly the unknowing masses would have you believe. We are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ and believe in the Trinity. These are not the only beliefs but many attacks has started with the accusation that the church wasn’t Christian. It is this type of judgmental presumptiveness that keeps us so divided, throwing up gang religion signs regarding which set we represent. We go to church, study from the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible and other inspired works and are compelled to be loving, forgiving and service minded in whatever capacity possible. There isn’t a secret handshake as far as I can tell and polygamy as well as Blacks and Hispanics not holding offices are a thing of the past. A few of the reasons why I’ve become a believer are first, the service oriented mindset. Generally speaking if you see someone in need of assistance, you help. This is not to suggest members and non members should wait to be helped. The church advocates providential living and educating oneself in whatever field that person chooses. I know on a personal level having been dealing with severe health issues the church has supported me immensely. Another reason was watching how the men treat women. Again, generally speaking there is a high regard for women and their role in the household and in life. I have encountered many men that speak often to how much they love their wife, mother, aunt or the sisters in the church and how invaluable these women are to them. Beyond the speaking, it is the loving, tender but strong way they display care that I admire. The last reason I will list is something that’s called the Family Proclamation. Within this proclamation it states how important families are and that we should do everything possible to be loving and nurturing. It states that the parents and/or guardians will be held accountable for the purposeful mistreatment of children. Having an abusive background, this is comforting to think that past atrocities were not right or meant to be ignored and will be rectified in some manner.

With all this being said it is easy to conclude that my choice would be Romney. After all he is in the same church, it should be as easy as that, shouldn’t it? Well, hold your horses Mr. and Ms. Horsey Holder. While I don’t doubt the former Governor being a good guy, I don’t believe he is the right guy. I’ve heard it stated several times that this President has put the country in debt but the country was already in a significant amount of debt. I don’t say this flippantly but acknowledge it for what it is. I think one should finish what they start unless there is some extraordinary reason that person is unable. Also it seems that the former Governor isn’t in touch with the average or middle class American. While that may be acceptable on a personal level between friends, how can that be acceptable presidentially? The 47% comment bothered me because it seemed to dismiss almost half of this nation. I truly can’t believe half of the American population is sitting back, feeling entitled, waiting for the government to handle their business. Some surely, but not that many.

Assuming who one would vote for based on skin color or faith affiliation demonstrates that even though we may have come far, it still speaks volumes of how far we still have to go as a nation. When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1996 against Bob Dole were White Americans thinking, man I’ve really got a tough choice between a Baptist and a Methodist? Not likely. This election has presented the opportunity for us as a nation and perhaps the world to be able to speak about our differences and glean some understanding. Speaking out against opposing political parties nowadays seems to resemble that of the McCarthy era. Just because there is disagreement doesn’t mean the comment is necessarily invalid or subversive. If I wear red it doesn’t have to mean I’m a Communist. These differences are helpful in introducing topics unfamiliar as well as uncomfortable. We need to have these dialogues in hopes to heal damaged and misinformed thoughts and progress further.
The social revolution of the 60’s birthed 70’s social commentary by way of television programs, presented us as a nation with controversial shows that would engage, entertain and challenge. The Jefferson’s and All in the Family, just to name a couple spoke about the dislikes of government, differences in each others’ ethnicities and religions. Some of it was gritty and raw. Topics were introduced that may not have overall been comfortable initially but it at least had the dynamic of dialogue. People said things loudly, passionately. It just seems now the huddled masses politically correctly say a lot of nothing yet through innuendos convey everything

I am both grateful and weary of this time period. President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney have distinctively different paths that they want Americans to take. Instead of pointing fingers, it seems our time would be best served discussing issues of how our country will be best served instead of finger pointing and religion roasting. Whoever your candidate of choice is, please go and vote. Some of our ancestors died for the rights we currently have.

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