GOP should follow Palin’s lead on inclusion

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Talking about race neither makes a black person a victim nor a white person a racist. It’s called a discussion and something conservatives need to do more of.  Recently, a white female twitter follower of mine got agitated on twitter because a black male follower tweeted at me the GOP was being run by a minority of “angry white men.” He added it wasn’t good for growing the party.

The woman tweeted:

“Really? America was built by similar “angry old men” you are referring to. I don’t care for your wordage.”

I tweeted “those same white men like Jefferson and Washington had black slaves build this damn USA. U understand that?”

She tweeted I had a 150 year old chip on my shoulder and “At some point you have to move on.”  Then a white male follower accused me of engaging in “racist claptrap.” How is talking about ALL American history, including slavery, racist?  Too often when blacks bring up the painful history of American slavery, conservatives tell us “to get over” or accuse us of engaging in victimhood. It was okay for the woman to bring up the fact old white men founded America but it wasn’t okay for me as a black woman to remind they did off the backs of slaves.

There was nothing in my tweets demanding blacks be treated like victims today because of the wrongs inflicted upon blacks in the past.  Yet when I raised the fact that for over 100 years white Americans used slaves as free black labor to amass wealth and build structures like the US Capitol, the White House, Monticello, Mount Vernon and many others, I’m told to get over slavery.

Interesting when whites praise Civil War heroes they call that “American pride” but when blacks talk about former slaves turned abolitionists like Harriet Tubman, Dred Scott, Frederick Douglass or Sojourner Truth, we’re told by white conservatives “to get over it.” I’ll get over the ugly history of American slavery and segregation when our country can move beyond praising the Confederacy and states’ rights used to uphold separate but equal Jim Crow laws before passage of the Civil Rights Act.

There’s no honesty in white washing American history. Conservatives need to stop being defensive and afraid to talk about race, it’s called the conversation of inclusion. How are we going to grow the party, if we can’t engage in difficult conversations? It doesn’t mean sacrificing party principles but recognizing one race and gender shouldn’t represent or control the GOP. America isn’t a monolithic nation and political parties shouldn’t be.

Sarah Palin gets it. Endorsing candidate Katrina Pierson, who is running for Texas’ 32nd Congressional seat, Palin wrote she’s tired of the “permanent political class in D.C. [that] won’t listen. So, let’s start putting our efforts behind good new candidates.”  Pierson is challenging incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions in the GOP primary. Many in the party believe Sessions, who has held the seat since 1997, “owns it” and no other conservative should challenge him simply because he’s been re-elected so many times.

I know I sound like broken record but by the year 2050, America won’t be whiter it will be browner with minorities representing over 50% of the population. The GOP will continue to lose more national elections until it embraces and looks like the changing face of America and that’s at every level of the party from candidates and operatives to leadership.

Palin didn’t endorse Pierson because she’s black but she didn’t ignore or dismiss her either because she’s black, which is what the GOP establishment has done with many candidates such as Erika Harold running for Illinois’ 13th Congressional seat. In fact, the Illinois GOP and the RNC refused to give Harold access to the GOP data center or “voter vault” because she like Pierson is challenging an incumbent in the GOP primary.

Evidently, the “establishment” considers it heresy for a black woman to dare challenge an old, white, male incumbent. As we all know, the GOP lost the 2012 presidential election because Mitt Romney couldn’t come close to winning the minority or woman vote even though he won a record 60% of the white vote.  Last time I read the US Constitution, it didn’t say anything about white, old men owning Congressional seats. Those seats belong to “We the People.”

“Katrina Pierson is an emerging leader and important voice for the future of the grassroots conservative movement,” wrote Palin in her endorsement on Facebook.

I couldn’t agree more with Palin that as a black woman, and conservative, Pierson is the future of the conservative movement. Pierson believes in protecting our individual freedoms and liberty, “limited government, fiscal responsibility and the rule of law.” The GOP should follow Palin’s lead and realize the future of conservatism isn’t cookie cutter candidates.

 

 

 

Racism today is all in the hustle

Racism will never go away. As long as people look different, bigots will always find a reason to hate others. But today it’ s harder to know what true racism is because we’re too quick to call everyone, everything or organization racist. I agree with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent remarks Americans are more sensitive to race today than they were during the Civil Rights Movement.

Speaking to students at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Thomas, who is often maligned by the liberal media for being black and a Republican, lamented:

“My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school. To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up. Now, name a day it doesn’t come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I’d still be in Savannah.”

During the Civil Rights Movement, blacks fought to end racism in America and now many people, particularly blacks, are fighting to keep it alive. Self-appointed “black leaders” like  Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made handsome livings accusing companies of racism and demanding hush money be donated to their organizations whether the accusations are true or not.

Sharpton is particularly adroit at making money off hustling lies in the name of racism. Sharpton encouraged Tawana Brawley to accuse white men of raping her even though he knew Brawley was lying. In 1988, People magazine referred to Sharpton as “a disgrace.” Today, Sharpton works as a well-paid MSNBC host.

Before George Zimmerman was arrested by the Sanford, Florida police for allegedly killing Trayvon Martin, Sharpton and Jackson, among others, accused Zimmerman of being a racist, who killed Martin because he was black. This racist hype pressured the Florida State Attorney Angela Corey to bring charges against Zimmerman, which the prosecution could not prove in court.

Unfounded claims of racism have created a lucrative market for lawyers and others. Martin’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the homeowners association for the neighborhood where Zimmerman lived and Martin was killed. Without admitting wrong- doing, the homeowners association settled with the Martin family reportedly for over $1 million. Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump was paid legal fees for filing the suit and representing the Martins in the Zimmerman trial.

Some blacks go hunting for racism where there isn’t a remote possibility it exists. During the 2012 presidential election, MSNBC host  Toure Neblett accused GOP nominee Mitt Romney of engaging in the “niggerization” of President Barack Obama when Romney referred to Obama as running an angry campaign. Neblett lept to the conclusion Romney’s remark was racist because Obama was black and “an angry black man” is a racial stereotype.  But the president is black and did run an angry campaign.

As Shelby Steele writes in his book A Dream Deferred, post civil rights, blacks in politics, business and academia have enriched themselves by playing the race card. “If you give a black problem a racial cause, you can turn the business of solving it into a monopoly for blacks,” notes Steele.

After passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, black studies departments at colleges like corporate diversity programs proliferated in America to provide jobs for blacks and inoculate organizations against discrimination lawsuits and from being called racist. Nearly every major corporation has a diversity department populated by blacks. Black studies departments create jobs at colleges for black professors like Princeton Professor Cornel West. One of West’s books is Race Matters. To be “intellectually honest,” West should say race matters to keep him employed.

You’ll never see a white professor teaching black studies. Why? Black professors teach other subjects why can’t people from other races teach black studies? Black history or literature can be taught in existing history or literature departments of colleges. There’s no need for “black studies” because they aren’t a study.

Liberal news organizations enjoy suggesting something or someone is racist too because it boosts ratings, which increase advertising dollars. Steele observed: “For blacks, racism is power. For whites it is vulnerability.” Many of my white friends tell me daily, they are careful not to criticize Obama in certain public forums or discussions for fear of being called racist.

For blacks like Sharpton, Jackson and West, who’ve made a handsome living off shaming whites as racists, what have they done to help solve the problems plaguing blacks? Blacks aren’t graduating from college at the rate of whites despite affirmative action programs over the past 40 years. What has all their discussions on race over decades done to address the higher incarceration rates among blacks? More than 50% of blacks are in federal prisons but blacks represent only 13% of the population? What have these “black leaders” done about the 72% of out of wedlock black birth rate? Nothing.  Yet their race baiting pays the bills and that’s all that matters.

 

Black history has become a commodity traded by Republicans and corporations

First published in the Guardian February 14, 2014

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass is one of the prominent black icons celebrated by Republican ads for black history month.

Why do we have a Black History Month in America? As many have said, black history should be part of our national conversation 365 days a year, not just jammed into a single month. While it may not have been intended this way, this annual February event only serves to further separate black people from mainstream America.

Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was to see black people treated as equals in this country, protected by the constitution and given the same opportunities to achieve as their white counterparts, yet black history month runs counter to King’s goals of inclusion. Since 1976, when it was officially recognized, it has become a tool used by black activists to shame businesses, schools and politicians into showing blacks they “care”.

And companies seem only too happy to oblige, even though I doubt if any of them really care about black history at all. As February rolls around, we see corporations from McDonald’s to Northrup Grumman advertizing Black History Month. The ads usually begin with “we salute” or “we celebrate”, but they simply don’t want to be called racist for not acknowledging it.

The National Basketball Association’s ads for black history month are somewhat better – they feature black doctors and judges – but even they continue to push the stereotype that all black boys aspire to be professional athletes. Black Miami Heat center Chris Bosh figures prominently throughout the ad. More African-Americans play professional basketball than whites. But how many NFL head coaches are black?

It’s hypocritical for businesses to honor Black History Month when the rest of the year they do little or nothing to mitigate the chronic double digit unemployment of blacks or address the woefully low numbers of blacks in board rooms and executive positions.

What’s the point of corporations honoring black history when they don’t practice what they preach all year long?

Sure, all major corporations have “diversity programs” but these include primarily cosmetic efforts (like honoring black history month). But I’m not necessarily calling for more affirmative action policies. I’m talking about making a commitment to hiring more qualified black people.

In 2011, Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson challenged Fortune 1000 companies in America to seriously address the hiring disparity among blacks and whites by applying the NFL Rooney Rule to their hiring practices. The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to include qualified minority candidates when interviewing for head-coaching or general manager positions. Since the Rooney rule was adopted in 2003, the NFL has hired 12 head coaches and at least one minority head coach or general manager has made it to the Super Bowl every year since 2006.

Johnson emphasized he wasn’t suggesting quotas. He was simply recommending “companies voluntarily implement a plan to interview a minimum of two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above” among other recommendations. This is an initiative that represents why black history month was created in the first place – to encourage public schools to incorporate the many contributions of black people to US history throughout the year, not just for one month.

The Republican National Committee is also jumping on the black history month bandwagon. It hosted its second annual Black Republican Trailblazer Awards lunch on 4 February in Washington DC and launched its first ever ad targeting black Americans. Blacks are suddenly supposed to take the RNC seriously.

If you haven’t heard, the Republican Party has been short on black votes for the past 50 years. But after Obama won a second term based on winning 93% of the black vote, 71% of the Hispanic vote and 73% of the Asian vote, the GOP is slowly coming to grips with the reality that wooing the white vote won’t win them future elections. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 59% of the white vote in the 2012 election, which the Washington Post called “more polarized along racial lines than any presidential contest since 1988″.

In a disingenuous, stilted voice, RNC Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declares in the 30 second radio ad, that the RNC honors the achievements of “black Republican trailblazers” like Judge Sara Harper, Michigan businessman Bill Brooks, and Dr Louis Sullivan of Georgia. The equally sterile, unimaginative print ad features several prominent black Republicans like Senator Tim Scott, Frederick Douglass and Condoleezza Rice.

The RNC Trailblazer lunch, which I attended, was more pandering than welcoming. Guests sitting at my table, Allen from Virginia and Jamila Bey of DC, didn’t seem too impressed by the event. Reviewing the crowd of about 300, Allen laughed that the average age of attendees was over 40. The program simply wasn’t very appealing to young blacks. Featuring a loud gospel choir, black actor Joseph C Phillips and the venue of the Howard Theatre, the event seemed to push stereotypes of black Americans more than anything.

Priebus made a point of telling the audience that several black Redskins football players were in attendance along with Toni Braxton’s sister, who was soon to release a new album. The subliminal message here seemed to be that all black people love or aspire to be professional athletes and singers.

Reminding the predominantly black audience of the RNC’s 2013 Growth & Opportunity Project promising to outreach to minority voters, Priebus said:

I’m not interested in hiring a few people down the hallway and calling it outreach …

But that’s exactly what he’s done. Aside from making a few token minority hires, where is the RNC delivering on its message of economic empowerment to blacks or any other minority groups for that matter?

At the event, I asked Jamila, who is an atheist and considers herself apolitical, if she felt excluded by the GOP. “It’s not that I feel, I am ostracized.” It made Jamila feel like an outsider. The RNC, like the black history month it attempts to recognize, simply isn’t inclusive.

During the civil rights movement, my parents sat in at white-only lunch counters in Richmond, Virginia to fight segregation and fight for equality and inclusion in American life 365 days and 12 months of the year. Black History Month seems to take blacks back to those days when we were looked upon as Others, ostracized by the majority. If businesses and organizations like the RNC want to honor the spirit of black history month, they should give blacks the opportunity to participate in every aspect of their operations from machinists to the board room, on and off the court.

 

Tweet Days of Promoting Obama’s SOTU

Perception is reality.  Before President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union Speech, you could tell by reading the White House twitter feed, it was going to be about Obama and his “government of one” not the sorry state of the union.  Starting around January 22, @WhiteHouse began furiously promoting Obama’s State of the Union like a movie trailer, teasing out pictures of Obama with the hashtag #Inside SOTU almost daily to entice the American people to actually watch the speech in the first place.

 

Obama’s approval ratings are the lowest of his entire presidency, so the White House had lots of marketing to do. When a president has a record of success his State of the Union address can stand on its own merits, move the country forward and doesn’t require lots of advance spin. For a week prior to the SOTU, the White House tweeted out inane pictures of Obama’s speechwriter Cody Keenan’s coffee cup, SOTU drafts, and Obama’s sofa chats with Cody and other advisors.

 

More tweets included riveting photos of the back of Obama sitting in a chair and sitting at his desk in the Oval Office.