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OPINION: Voting should not be a fad

With the Presidential election drawing nearer, there have been a plethora of issues concerning me. The issue that most concerns me is the notion that people of color, particularly African Americans, will determine this year’s election.

As a young African American in today’s society, I find it very interesting to see the attention that has been given to this campaign, particularly in the hip-hop culture.

Rappers and entertainers in the hip-hop culture have come a long way since the stoic days of the shell-toe Adidas. Blacks have traditionally voted Democratic – the Democratic Party realizes this and has placed television ads on networks like Black Entertainment Television (BET).

A currently reocurring ad states that Democratic candidate John Kerry went to the NAACP convention in Philadelphia and that President Bush did not.

They did not include, however that a year or two earlier, Bush showed up at the convention and was disrespected onstage. Kerry capitalized on that opportunity.

Who would want to be disrespected in such a manner? It is in my humble opinion that ads such as this have turned Black Entertainment Television into Black Exploitation Television. What kind of message do ads like these send? We live in a very impressionable society where both young and old believe what they are told.

Many have seen the “Vote or Die” t-shirts that hip-hop mogul Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs’ clothing line, Sean John, has created. I respect his ingenuity for creating these shirts.

When young voters see P. Diddy on various television networks wearing “Vote or Die” shirts, what do you think is on their minds? Yes, voting is good, but who is he attracting these votes toward? Just because Diddy affirms it, is it okay? Are we voting just to be voting, or are we making wise decisions?

Surely, the hip-hop influence has bolstered voter registration. African Americans will go out in numbers on November 2. We can vote or die all we want to, but we need to know the facts.

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