Stacy: The Lack of Black support for the GOP
While I normally read John Hawkins of Townhall with relish and generally agree with his articles, I have to rebut his latest piece out today titled: “5 Reasons There Are So Few Black Americans In The Republican Party“. The timing of his piece is perfect in that this is a discussion that we need to have on a regular basis. Open, honest discussion removes the fear, misinformation and discomfort associated with race; hearing each other out on it actually forms and strengthens bonds between people. I don’t just believe this, I know it to be true from my own experiences.
Mr. Hawkins starts out by briefly touching on the history of race in politics and America by pointing out that the GOP was started as a response to slavery and the desire of a small group of abolitionists to stop it. This group founded the GOP, the party of Lincoln. Our modern day party is a beautiful example of outstanding leadership, with speakers and politicians of every race, just a cursory glance at the speakers list for the Republican National Convention is proof positive of that. Accordingly, Mr. Hawkins posits: Why are Republicans doing so poorly with black Americans?
He first addresses economics, speaking to the disproportionate suffering endured by blacks under President Obamas Hope and Change Presidency. I agree with his statements here, as they are irrefutable. Any voter block that blindly pledges their allegiance to a party for more than 40 years while suffering under that party’s policies can expect to be taken for granted and then ignored.
His second point is that we don’t have enough blacks out in front speaking on behalf of the GOP. While this may have been true a decade ago, it’s simply not the case now. We can always use more speakers of color. We should do more in the way of outreach, but the problem isn’t that there aren’t black speakers, it’s that the Left does a masterful job of vilifying them with the most incendiary racial insults. When that strategy fails, they simply refuse to show them and acknowledge that they exist.
A perfect case in point is the Republican National Convention last week. There were speakers of diverse backgrounds throughout the day and evening every day of the convention. The Left’s response to that was to cut away from the speakers to showcase a panel of all white talking heads thereby preventing viewers from seeing or hearing the inspirational messages that Mia Love, Artur Davis, Nikki Haley & Condoleeza Rice were speaking to Americans. This type of dishonesty should result in producers being fired, but instead, it was noted by conservative media and that was that. Millions of Americans are under the impression that the RNC was a white only event, with whites as speakers, furthering the idea that Blacks have no place within the GOP.
Next on the list is what Mr. Hawkins calls “Racism culture.” He posits that “even Black Americans who are extremely prosperous and have never been significantly harmed by racism in their lives feel compelled to talk about America as if Democrats like Goerge Wallace and Bull Connor were still running wild.” Before I address the reasons for his statement; which I actually agree with, I must unpack this statement. Something that some white Americans do not understand is that there is no Black American that has NEVER experienced a racial incident. That just does not happen. The slights may be small, or they may have been persistent from one source, but they happen. That’s like saying that no white person has ever had someone be rude to them. That would simply be false. No matter how successful you are, you experience hardships. A person’s reaction to perceived or real hardship is the key to the level of success that is attainable.
The idea that Republicans think racism has been completely stamped out is what keeps some Blacks from even considering the GOP. Of course race in America is so much better now than it was in the days of Bull Connor. Racism can no longer prevent a Black American from achieving success. But saying that it has been completely stamped out is insulting to a successful black person that is refused entrance into an open house only to watch from their car as whites go in and come out freely. (Yes, this happened to me just this summer.) Does this prevent me from earning a living, or making a success of my life? Of course not. It does however play into the notion for many Blacks that America still isn’t fair and that somehow the Democrats may be right…
Mr. Hawkins correctly exposes the Democrats’ strategy of continually reminding Blacks in America that Republican whites hate them and the Democrats love them. He goes on to say, “many Blacks fear that other Americans might conclude that the old school Democratic racists were right and they are inferior.” He is correct except for one thing. Most Black Americans think the racists of old were Republicans, and that the idea that Blacks are inferior is the mindset still held today by all whites in the GOP, Tea Partiers and anyone that wears the “Conservative” label.
In the end, I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Hawkins instructive comments on the lack of consistent outreach by the Republican Party and his analysis on why there simply isn’t more. The most recent example of this shortfall is the glaringly obvious missing “Blacks for Romney” tab on the Romney campaign website. Just two days ago, with only 60 + days left in the campaign, the Black Leadership Council was launched. I have visited the page, and it’s not exciting. Tons more work left to do.