Saturday, April 18, 2009

Talking with Black Republicans is a Moving Experience

Let me give some advice to my fellow Black Republicans. First, STOP letting the party parade you out in front of cameras when they need someone Black to talk about the ignorant notion of “reverse discrimination!”

By Raynard Jackson

Talking with Black Republicans is a moving experience---the more I talk to them, the more I want to move away! The caricature of most Black Republicans is that they are not connected with the Black community and are constantly seeking the approval of the powers that be within the party.

Well, I have been Black most of my life and would posit this question: “if Black Republicans were taken to a court of law and accused of being connected, involved and making a difference in the Black community, would there be enough evidence to convict them?”

I think the obvious answer is a resounding NO! The only time you see or hear Black Republicans is when they are paraded in front of the media to oppose affirmative action, oppose abortion, or oppose minority set-asides for small business. You never see or hear them talking about the problems facing Blacks in being under represented in various facets of American life or the problems entrepreneurs have doing business with the federal government or the private sector.

Let Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton make an inflammatory statement and they run over each other to get to a microphone. But, when white Republicans make similar statements, you can hear a pin drop.

Of the few Blacks on Republicans staffs in the house and senate, how many interns have they given jobs to? How many Blacks have they found jobs for back in their districts or states? Can you even name any Black staffers? Do you ever see them giving speeches in the community or attending national conferences of prominent Black organizations (journalists, accountants, lawyers, MBAs, etc)?

Why is it that Blacks like Lynn Swann (ran for governor of PA) and Michael Williams (a U.S. senate candidate and Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission that regulates the energy industry and is one of the most powerful positions in state government) won’t hire Blacks on their campaign staffs (with hiring or budgetary authority) nor spend money with Black vendors?

Let me give some advice to my fellow Black Republicans. First, STOP letting the party parade you out in front of cameras when they need someone Black to talk about the ignorant notion of “reverse discrimination!” There is no such thing. People like Ward Connerly made all of their money through affirmative action programs (under then California governor Pete Wilson), then after he cashed the checks he realized that he was now against the very program that made him wealthy. Well, Mr. Connerly, if you want to speak out against affirmative action, why not return the money you made from it, then oppose the program.

If Black Republicans want to have credibility within their community, try to help re-integrate prisoners who have served their time adjust back into society. Work in your state to restore their voting rights (after all, they have paid their dues to society and they deserve a second chance). While attending school at Oral Roberts University, Oral would always tell me, “Go into every man’s world and meet them at the point of their need.” This would be a great way for Black Republicans to build credibility within their community.

Another tangible way to build credibility is to help high school students get sponsored to become congressional pages in Washington, DC. Students have to be sponsored by their congressman or senator. How many Black Republicans have every done or even attempted to do this?

Organize Black churches to have town hall meetings with their elected officials to address issues of concern to senior citizens or veterans in the community.

Why do they not say anything about the lack of Black congressional staffers in congress, the lack of Black congressional pages in congress, or the lack of an agenda that’s of particular concern to the Black community (lack of health care in the inner cities, the high unemployment rate within their community, the decrease in Black males going to college).

How many Black Republicans have the personal telephone numbers (cell, home, office) to their senators, congressmen, or governors? If the public doesn’t see you as having access to these decision-makers, why would they think to come to you when they need help? This is more of the fault of the Republican Party—for not publically validating Blacks who have their ear and the requisite relationship to help solve problems within their community.

The problems facing the Black community are very serious and demand more than robotic mantras that are oft repeated by Republicans---the party of Abraham Lincoln, freed the slaves, lower taxes, color-blind, etc.

As long as these Black Republicans continue to constantly tell their community what they are against (abortion, affirmative action, minority set-asides, etc.) and never speak what they are for that’s relevant for their lives, then they will continue to have a “moving experience” within their community.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.


Anonymous said...

very thought-provoking commentary.

one disconnect to note is that part of the "definition" of Republicans is to truly work for color-blind solutions. we don't do the hyphen thing as we are all Americans with all the same rights and responsibilies.

another point is that we traditionally have been the party of Law & Order, at least in this generation. thus potential disenfranchisement is often viewed as part of the deterrent cost to criminal activity. the restoration of voting rights to the formerly feloniously incarcerated is a relatively new thing in American history.

but the biggest hindrance to effective Black influence by the Republican party is that too many of those in leadership only view their participation in the GOP as a less crowded playing field to elbow for position to access taxpayer funds for pet projects that many times are indiscernable from Democrat issues.

and it not just the old Eisenhower dinosaur heads anymore with many carpetbagging others listening to the left as they presume to lecture us on what we do in our house.

changing approach does not mean changing message.

and if our message is no different than the other, why bother ???

thanks for posting - see you at the next DCBRC meeting :)


Grozet said...

I'd agree and disagree. The strange attack on Ward Connerly was utterly meaningless other than to show that Black Republicans should try to be more for the GOP than just media contacts when a few issues come into play.

I agree with this and that more Black Republicans should be involved in campaigns and Hill staff.

BUT, what I disagree with Jackson's mistake in missing an opportunity to define other issues that are important to Black Republicans. Black Republicans needs to more than critics of inner city problems, but innovators in free market solutions that incentivize success.

Liberals have abandoned this free market approach in favor of ham fisted government solutions that make it easier to break into industry. Affirmative action is one of many programs that uses this approach. A strong reproach not on the failures of affirmative action, but on the successes of free market economics, stressing the benefits of feedback loops and incentivized success will make a stronger impact on those Black voters who are looking for a way to improve themselves.

soldonwayne said...

I agree with you that we must bring those who have been left out of the political process. Not until we address the average person needs and stop foucing on social issue "we lose."

Count Busy said...

This is strange commentary on many tips, but here are just a couple.

Seems to me what he's saying--and you hear this a lot in advice to Republicans on a number of issues--is, be more like the opposition. Look around for weak folks, or those who have been convinced of their powerlessness, and cater to them. Nuh uh. No thank you.

The criticism of Lynn Swann's campaign and its racial make-up is absurd. Where Swann supposed to find all these black folk who just itching to help a black Republican? You think they swarming his office and he tells them, oh, no thank you my brother, my sister, but white only need apply? Oh, please.

Melvin Count

Anonymous said...

"Let me give some advice to my fellow Black Republicans. First, STOP letting the party parade you out in front of cameras when they need someone Black to talk about the ignorant notion of “reverse discrimination!”


knowledge said...

I completely agree. Black Republicans are HIDDEN. Newsflash, you are not in the limelight unless you are NEEDED by your primary party. I say primary because the Republican party is extremely selective. Even the Log Cabin Republicans have to sort of force their way into and around the GOP platform. And when they are rejected by their own party, they create their own platform. The same must be said and done by those who identify as black republicans. Sadly, you guys are not visible. I do not see you out in the community from lower to upper class. You are concerned with important matters, but no one gets to hear your concerns. You don't have to focus on black problems, but we don't even get to hear you focus on the problems important to you... unless of course we stumble upon one of your blogs where your voice is getting out there and being heard. By as far as the national spotlight, the OP is correct. You are put on display and it's degrading whether you'd like to believe it or not. My advise is to exert your power within your own party and so do with grace. Your goal should be to get others to see your vision and join with you in it. This eliticism is for the birds and will only hold your community as well as your party DOWN. Peace & Love