“Are You Still Slapping Your Mama?”


Nothing and no one is more sacred in the Black community than our Mamas…Ma’dear, Mommy, Ma. From the time we have the chance to interact with others we have made clear than nobody, but nobody disrespects our mothers. How many fights have we gotten in because somebody said something we didn’t like about our mothers. In fact, the connection to mom is so deep that the only thing someone has to say to provoke a confrontation is, “Yo Mama…!” The same thing does not apply if they say, “Yo Daddy…!” “My daddy? What are you talking ’bout?” But “Yo Mama” makes our blood boil. We are so protective of our mothers that one of the ways to describe something incredibly delicious is to say it’s so good it’ll make you “slap yo mama!” Now THAT would have to be some kind of good because NOTHING could make me slap my mama.
However, if I failed to go to the polls and vote it would have the exact same effect. See, my mother (and father) grew up under legal apartheid–state sponsored segregation. They sat in the back of segregated public buses. They drank out of separate public water fountains, they went to separate public restrooms. Even though my grandfather worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad my mother had to change rail cars and sit in a segregated one once the train went south of the Mason-Dixon Line. My father served in a segregated unit in the U.S. Army and my mother could not try on hats in downtown department stores. So the idea that I would not take a few minutes of my time to go to the polls to cast my vote would be a slap in my dead mama’s (and daddy’s) face.
It drives me crazy when I hear Black people say they aren’t going to vote or that voting doesn’t matter or that their vote does not count. Let’s be clear…whether you vote or not THEY are holding an election. Whether you vote or not whoever wins WILL govern you and pass laws that WILL affect YOUR life.  And if you do NOT vote, you are right, your vote won’t count!
Our pattern of late has been to turn out in big numbers for presidential elections. In 2008 the Black electorate came out in full force and helped to elect the nation’s first Black president. But, in 2010 we fell asleep and let the Congress go over to the opposition party. Then in 2012 we mobilized again to re-elect President Obama but because of the 2010 mid-term election he has been hamstrung in trying to get legislation passed.
Now here we are in 2014 and the fate of the Senate is at stake. If the President’s party loses this election he will be rendered totally impotent and many of the things he has invested his presidency in can be lost–health care, raising the minimum wage, and equal rights to name a few. I worry about these things not for myself but for my children and grandchildren. They will have to live under the tyranny of a Congress that despises people like us. But, you apparently don’t have time to vote. Why don’t you just slap yo Mama?