by Richard Ivory
Democrat operatives, bloggers and the black press are making outrageous claims that McCain's use of "that one" in the debate last week was a coded racial slur. When I heard McCain say it, I knew immediately as an African American how it would go down in a partisan black audience. McCain and his team of all white advisers probably do not grasp the whole controversy. As a result, he probably still does not know how it came across.
This is why Republicans continue to get in trouble on the issue of race. The truth is race matters, and nothing will show this like McCain losing the election. He can ignore race and pretend it does not exist, but it will bite him in the end. The failure by the GOP to provide a truth squad and a group of advisers on the issue of race shows the flaws of McCain's team. He is running against the first possible black presidential candidate, yet his entire advisory board is primarily white.The Reagan administration struggled with this same issue. They meant well, but they were dumbfounded on the role of race in politics. The party has to get over its "deer in headlights "mentality on race and embrace this issue just as we have done with many things. We have never ignored other issues and we must not disregard this one. As Republicans, we must roll up our sleeves and go into Detroit, Harlem and Chicago to fight back. If we do not, then we will be unfairly perceived as a racist party.
Just as the Republican National Committee and other Republican leaders failed to embrace bloggers and Facebook when they first came out, we will lose this and other elections until we replace the "old advisers".
Who is advising McCain on the rumors flooding the black community? Who is advising McCain on not voting for Martin Luther King's birthday as a federal holiday? Who is helping McCain to provide the context of his missing vote instead of allowing it to fester in black communities?
With regards to the Senator saying "That one", I do not believe it was a racist ploy- he was probably referring to Obama, the person standing on stage with him, to whom he directed this comment. Was it the classiest of references? Probably not.
But what if Obama referred to Senator McCain the same way? Would people interpret it as some coded racial thing or as a sign of disrespect? Regardless, if the McCain campaign does not understand how millions of black folks may feel about him saying- "that one" he better learn or he will lose this election.
Richard Ivory- is the founder of HipHopRepublican.com a centrist blog that delves into urban issues from a Republican perspective