Politics: The GOP and Outreach: White fear of the Black Community
Folks, it’s official. This particular part of the blog series has been dubbed a “roasting” by me. This part is a bit longer, so get comfortable and fasten your seat belts. I had written this piece and was ready to publish it but after a few re-reads, I realized that what I had originally written was too politically correct and I needed to be true to myself, so I re-wrote it. Actually, I was most eager to answer this question above all others, because even though I perceive the first part regarding white Republicans as a loaded question, it is a legitimate one because the topic needs to be addressed, one way or the other. Some of you may see the two components to this topic as different questions but I don’t, so in order to keep the list at ten, I have combined these two questions regarding white people and their presence in the black community. I have no doubt that there are parts of my answer that some black people and some white Republicans won’t like or agree with but such is life and as is colloquially expressed, “If you can’t stand the heat…” well, you all know the rest.
To start, let’s give a little background information on the black vote as it relates to the GOP (Grand Ole’ Party aka Republican party), according to Wikipedia:
“Currently, most of the Republican voter base is Caucasian. While historically the party had been supporters of rights for African Americans since the 1860s, it lost its leadership position; the GOP has been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2008). The party has recently nominated African American candidates for senator or governor in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, though none were successful. In the 2010 elections, two African American Republicans were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican Party abolished slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave blacks the vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s. Until the New Deal of the 1930s, blacks supported the GOP by large margins. Most black voters switched to the Democratic Party in the 1930s when the New Deal offered them employment opportunities, and major figures, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, began to support civil rights. They became one of the core components of the New Deal Coalition. In the South, blacks were able to vote in large numbers after 1965, when a bipartisan coalition passed the Voting Rights Act, and ever since have formed a significant portion (20-50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.”
So there we have it. The major shift from the GOP to the Democrat party for most black people came essentially because of entitlements. The Democratic party, led by then president FDR in the 1930′s did all of the things above in addition to the expansion of the public welfare program to include black women, which played a key role in the destruction of the black family and the decline of black marriages. Even today a family won’t receive the maximum benefits if the man is in the household, regardless of race, but I digress.
Currently, most black people’s perception of the GOP as a racist party has indeed kept the GOP from doing outreach in the black community, or has it? The GOP does a ton of outreach in the white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American and other ethnic communities right? NOT! Black people, I hate to burst your bubble, but the GOP is terrible at outreach in ALL communities – we aren’t uniquely ignored and there is no racism directed towards us. Many of you really should stop believing the trumped up racism charges from the likes of Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Roland Martin, Maxine Waters and others. Use your own mind and investigate for yourself. Don’t rely on the overwhelmingly liberal media to dictate to you who and what is racist and don’t rely on me or other republicans/conservatives to tell you who is lying about the GOP – take what I share with you and research it for yourself! That is just the cold, harsh reality.
Republicans, white or otherwise, for the most part, absolutely fail at community outreach. I’m inclined to believe the failure of the GOP to do outreach in our communities is actually something that some of you enjoy, as it gives you the excuse needed to charge the party with racism, every opportunity you get. <sarcasm alert> Oh I’m sorry, I meant the WHITE members of the party – I guess the 11% of us non-white Republicans are off the hook because we do a tremendous amount of outreach also. When I saw “white Republicans” in the questions I was thinking to myself, “Do they really think most black Republicans are any better?” So black community, does it really concern you THAT much that white Republicans are not in your communities doing outreach? I don’t believe it one bit. It’s just another thing to complain about regarding white people or else you would have included all republicans in your question. It is hypocritical of so many of you to charge Republicans with racism over and over again and then reach your hand out for them to do outreach!? Excuse my candor, but what the hell? Some of you have a lot of nerve!
The overwhelming majority of Black people have been voting faithfully at the local and national level for Democratic candidates for years (that’s the thanks the GOP gets for doing small things like….oh I don’t know – freeing the slaves). Now don’t get me wrong, this is your prerogative, people can vote for whomever they want. The interesting thing is that the majority of Americans (nearly 80%) don’t trust the government or politicians. In my opinion, that is definitely the case throughout the black community, as so many of the black people who responded to my survey echoed this in the phrasing of certain questions that did and did not make the list. The irony is if this is the sentiment throughout black communities, then the mistrust and aversion to the GOP is really misdirected. Why? Because we keep electing Democrats, especially at the local level! Some of you, in your responses to me, have falsely assessed that the problems in our communities can be traced to racist Republicans – it’s complete nonsense! You don’t vote for Republicans! You don’t give them the chance to “corrupt our communities” and express racism in the black community! Give me a break already with the accusations!
The GOP thinks that if they come into our communities to do outreach they will not be received well and will be charged with racism and they are right in my opinion. Many black people act as though they really want to hear from the GOP, but they don’t. They just want the opportunity to charge racism and protest their presence in person – again, my opinion. When I asked one of my fellow conservative bloggers John Hawkins why white Republicans don’t do outreach in the black community, this was his response and I concur:
“Simple. They believe they will be called a racist no matter what they say and I think there’s a secondary fear that they simply won’t be listened to because they’re white. The fix for that would be to get black Republicans to do outreach, but Republicans consider that to be “identity politics” and are ideologically opposed to it. It’s a no-win situation. White Republicans don’t do outreach because they think they’d be called racist, but they don’t want to have black Republicans to do it because they think it’s wrong to do race based politics. So, in the end, they just do nothing.”
John is correct. Consider the recent incident with Charlotte Bergmann, a black Republican candidate for U.S. Congress (9th district) from Tennessee. She was an invited guest on the Thaddeus Matthews radio show in Memphis, TN. To say that Matthews, a wannabe “shock jock” who is a black Democrat, was disrespectful to her is a serious understatement.
Here is the exchange:
BLACK CONSERVATIVE GETS THROWN OUT OF STUDIO (SELLOUT TO THE TEA PARTY)
Now black people, if a BLACK Republican, a woman, a mother, can be treated in such a vile, disrespectful, hateful manner by a black Democrat, why on the earth, sun and moon would you think ANY white Republican with half a brain would voluntarily step into our communities for a potential, similar, public, political lynching? I must also mention that recently, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney braved those waters and accepted an invitation to speak before the NAACP at its annual convention. While he did receive applause for several points and a standing ovation at the end (as did Vice President Joe Biden the next day) he was rudely “booed” only twice and has been relentlessly criticized in the liberal media since then. This criticism is unwarranted. For example, Chair of Women of the NAACP Charlette Stoker Manning said of Mitt Romney's speech: "I believe his vested interests are in white Americans," said Charlette Stoker Manning, chair of Women in NAACP. "You cannot possibly talk about jobs for black people at the level he's coming from. He's talking about entrepreneurship, savings accounts — black people can barely find a way to get back and forth from work."
Then others, such as Washington NAACP bureau director Hilary Shelton, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor as well as House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi all accused (directly or indirectly) or supported accusations that Mitt Romney went to the NAACP convention to deliberately get booed by the crowd in order to garner favor with the “racist” voting bloc and draw attention to himself. Surely now you can understand white Republicans' reluctance to come into our communities for political outreach, not only because of perceived negative reception, but mostly the biased liberal media backlash that comes along with it. I’m going to leave it at that and move on to the whites in the GOP because I have a few choice words for them too.
According to the 2010 census, 73% of the US population is white. Of that number, 63.7% are non-Hispanic whites. 16.3% of the population is Hispanic, and 12.6% is black. US Census data shows that from 1990 to 2000 we had a population which consisted of 75.1% white people, 12.5% Hispanic and 12.3% black. Do I need to spell it out to you white Republicans? The number of minorities is growing and the number of white people is getting smaller – bit by bit. The GOP cannot afford to continue to use the no-win situation described above as an excuse to not do outreach. I asked three of my black Republican friends why they thought outreach was important. Here are their responses:
“Outreach is important! But I do understand that one of the main reasons why republicans don’t is because of the cold and even hostile reception. Case in point, Thaddeus Matthews, and how he treated Charlotte Bergman. But yes, there should be a coalition of republicans and conservatives prepared to tour and promote conservative ideas!”
Walter Myers III:
“Simple. If you don’t show up they don’t think you care. They’re not just looking for the values of the party, they’re looking for actions.”
D Adam C (a Moderate actually):
“I don’t think white Republicans really get what it means to outreach to diverse communities. The demographics are changing and the party is only looking at it from a surface level. In order to expand the party and untarnish the brand, it means that members have to do some cold, hard, soul searching and start to address issues they would soon rather not discuss.
One can say Democrats have squandered the black vote without really doing much to change people’s economic lives. But being called out for not doing enough or not doing the right things is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing.”
I have researched relentlessly for GOP budgets which included outreach not only in minority communities, but outreach period, and let me tell you – it’s almost non-existent. You spend money on the things that are important to you. If the GOP wants to remain relevant and not become obsolete, outreach is a must. Black Republicans must help lead this charge. In my home city of Atlanta, Georgia, I only know of one group of Republicans who are doing a voter registration drive on college campuses – one! And Georgia is one of the reddest states there is.
Republicans – white and black – start doing outreach or get ready for extinction. Do you really want to be known as a club for wealthy, elitist, white people only, with so few minorities, that it appears as if you have just enough to meet a quota? If so, then keep doing what you’re not doing! Let’s face the initial backlash directly with courage, for the truth is on our side! We have the most viable and fair solutions to solve many of the ills in black communities so get your white, elitist heads out of the clouds and do what needs to be done! You have the support of your minority members, including me, so let's do this!
Moving forward, “Why do white people fear black neighborhoods?” Look, this is a no-brainer. My short answer to this question is “the same reason that black people are afraid of black neighborhoods!” – that’s the answer. Black on black crime is rampant in many of our communities. In fact from 1976 to 2005 94% of black homicide victims were killed by other black people. Now, it’s important to note that 86% of white homicide victims were in fact, killed by other white people as well. Most homicides are intraracial, regardless of the race. The reality is that the rate of homicides for black people is higher. I wish it were not the case, but black people commit homicides seven times higher than the rates for white people. Bear in mind that there are less black people in the country, remember, we are only 12.6% of the population as of 2010. Now some of you are brooding with:
“It’s the white man’s fault.”
“It’s the unfair sentencing of the judicial system.”
“It’s slavery and racism.”
“Some other ridiculous excuse that I’d rather not hear.”
None of those things matter, even if they all were true, the alleged judicial system biases are irrelevant to this discussion because we are talking about why white people fear going into black communities, so personally, I don’t want to hear those excuses. Furthermore, if white people were the cause of all of this, why are we killing each other? It’s reminds me of the stupidity in the 1990′s after the Rodney King verdict – we rioted and tore up our own community! How does that punish anyone but ourselves, if we are so upset with the “white man”? How does attacking and brutally beating up a random white person in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting serve any purpose? If I didn’t know so very many sane and rational black people like me, who don’t like this foolishness either, I’d think we were animals by some of the behavior I have seen in our communities.
No, I don’t want to hear “they do it too” because the question is asking about the perceptions by a specific group of people towards another. For the record, I think that the perpetrators of homicides in the white community whose victims are white, are animals too.
I will ask white people to keep in mind that not all black people want to snatch your purse, kill or rape you – one of the statistics that is higher for white people are homicides involving sex crimes. Black people commit the fewest of those, but we commit the most drug related homicides (refer to DOJ link earlier). I will also say to white people that there are plenty of law-abiding black citizens who hate the crime in their communities just as you do and many are working hard to eliminate it and speaking out more and more. We are elated when a criminal is taken off of our streets and we are angered when they are not apprehended. We have active neighborhood watch groups in many of our communities and we want our children to be able to play outside and walk down the street safely, just as you do. Many of us love the Second Amendment and if you break into our homes, or come onto our properties with ill intent towards our families, you will get some hot steel coming your way, no matter what race you are. Please believe it.
The last point I want to make on this topic is that the number of mixed communities in America are growing. In fact, more than half of white, black and Hispanic people said they prefer to live in a racially, heterogeneous neighborhood and many actually do right now. Of course there is still voluntary segregation, but that is changing slowly. One of these days, we won’t speak of communities as separate racial entities because we’ll all live together – that’s what MLK Jr. wanted!