This election cycle, as in past elections, candidates are courting the votes of numerous demographics using language to entice them all. Proponents and opponents of certain measures are doing the same. Some voters see themselves as choosing "the lesser of two evils" in terms of candidates while others strongly support a particular one and more are voting AGAINST a candidate rather than FOR one.

However, one thing that I cannot seem to ignore is the role race still plays in the presidential election, local elections, and even our state constitution. In 2008, African American turned out at the polls in record numbers to support the only self-identified Black man in his run for presidency. Many had no idea of the policies he wanted to put into place and took no discomfort in his lack of experience. All they knew was that he was a black man. Therefore, it was thought that he'd more easily identify with the needs and discrepancies that the African American community faces.

It's funny to me how ads for particular candidates vary, depending on the audience. When a particular genre has a mostly African American audience, ads are geared more towards African American employment and relation to African American community leaders; but when the genre has a more Caucasian base, other issues are expressed, such as road maintenance, forward industrial movement, and general hard work. In discussing an amendment that will be on our ballots tomorrow, emphasis is placed on racist language in our constitution and how its removal could force us back into segregation; but for other audiences, the importance of the same amendment is the funding of charter schools versus public schools and the ability for the state to form a centralized school board.

Reading is fundamental! Comprehension is key. It had been said that if you want to keep something from an African American, put it in a book. Unfortunately, this mentality holds some relevance. We often take people's word because we were taught that your word is your bond, not understanding that many people aren't interested in forming a bond. They're not interested in stability; they just need a step up. I challenge you to READ, research, and come to your own opinion rather than taking what is heard as factual. Make sure you're an educated voter and not one who votes simply because so many fought for your right to do so. Just as they paved the way for your voice to be heard, your vote is monumental for future generations.