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Am I black enough for you? 

This race is about more than skin color

If I get one more e-mail about why I have to vote for Barack Obama, I am going to scream.

I believe that the right to vote includes the right to support whichever candidate I like. According to the plethora of e-mails that I have received, I suffer from post-traumatic slave disorder, am an "Uncle Tom," or a "sell-out," because I am supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic party nomination.

Huh?

I'm supporting the candidate that I have always supported and do not intend to jump ship because a black candidate is running. Don't get me wrong. I think that Obama is compelling and is an excellent candidate. I am impressed by him, but equally impressed by Clinton, although Bill is making that more and more difficult as the process continues.

I find it interesting that I am supposed to blindly follow Obama because we are of the same race. I am using the primaries for the reason that they were established, to find out as much information as I can before the actual election. Because I have been paying attention, I found that Edwards has the strongest economic plan of the three, although he is now out of the race. I love Obama's plan for strengthening civil rights and improving schools. I am impressed with Clinton's health care plan, focus on the middle class and advocacy for women's rights worldwide. Each of the candidates has strengths and weaknesses, and part of this process is to listen closely to debates and find out who the candidates are and where they stand on issues that are important to me. Thus, I do not understand why that makes me a sell-out.

The hypocrisy of this type of pseudo-democracy is appalling. The same people who are circulating e-mails are the same people who were sweating Bill Clinton up until five minutes ago. I never called him the first "black" president; plenty of black folks gave him that label for his salacious deeds. Now that a black man is running, Bill and Hillary are the devil incarnate. Which is it? Some folks are so mad about the verbal jousting that has occurred during the primaries that they are threatening to vote for whomever runs against Clinton, if she wins the nomination. How shortsighted is that? You would rather saddle black folks with yet another Republican candidate, none of whom have platforms or proposed policies that would even trickle down to the black community, than vote Democrat because Clinton went toe to toe with Obama? But I'm the sell-out?

When did we become so sensitive? Mudslinging is a part of the primary process. So what if Bill Clinton made some foul statements? Barack Obama did not look like his feelings were hurt. He came back stronger and harder, so much so that the Clintons have backed off. Republican or Democrat, candidates on both sides of the aisle go to the mat in order to secure their party's nomination. It is that simple. Things get said, insults are made, feelings are hurt and guess what, they kiss and make up in order to put together the strongest ticket to win the actual election.

I'm suffering from post-traumatic slave disorder, while some extreme Obama supporters are telling folks to throw the election by voting Republican, to get back at the Clintons? Sounds like the overseer's assistant to me. Black folks need to keep their eye on the ball and stop worrying about what the people in the stands are yelling. As my softball coach used to say, "Keep your head in the game."

I am no stranger to having my blackness questioned, which is perplexing to me and to those who actually know me. It is so funny to hear people who do not support black businesses, put their children in schools with no black people, or volunteer for any organizations that help black people, question my blackness. It is even more hilarious when people who do not participate in the voting process try to tell me who I must vote for, when they do not even appear to have any real knowledge of how politics work in this country. Just like I do not apologize for speaking with subject and verb agreement, I will not apologize for having an opinion and thinking about whom to support and how to cast my vote.

I support Hillary Rodham Clinton now, which does not mean that I do not support Barack Obama or that I would not vote for him. Unlike others, you will never hear me say or write a foul word about him because I think he is an excellent candidate. I just happen to think that finally we have more than one great candidate, and quite frankly, I am enjoying having options. That does not mean that I will not decide to vote for Obama between now and next Tuesday, but know that whatever I decide, the decision will be mine. If that ain't black enough for you, too bad.

For more commentary on current events from Nsenga Burton, visit www.theclogblog.com.

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