Race and Republicans
I was honored to speak today on Arise.tv about the role of African-Americans in the Republican party.
There’s only so much you can say in seconds-long sound bites, particularly when many charges are being leveled at you with machine gun rapid fire. But the one false accusation still resonating with me hours later, one that still has me spitting mad, is that Allen West and other GOP minorities are somehow token poster children for “white guilt.”
On-air, I was (and still am) the first to concede that after “taking one on the jaw” as LTC West put it in his CPAC speech, the GOP is doing some much needed soul searching on a wide variety of issues with respect to its brand image. However, the Republican Party doesn’t need an infusion of “Roots,” it merely needs to reconnect with its (well documented) roots.
Those intimately familiar with the history of the Republican Party know that some of its first elected leaders were Black men. Men freed thanks to the Republican Party!
As this chart from Black Americans in Congress (BAIC) shows, there were no Blacks elected in the Democrat Party until 1935, some sixty years after the first elected Black Republicans:
Congress* Name State Party Service
41st (1869-1871) LONG,Jefferson Franklin GA Republican House
41st (1869-1871) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
41st (1869-1871) REVELS, Hiram Rhodes MS Republican Senate
42nd (1871-1873) DE LARGE, Robert Carlos SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) ELLIOTT, Robert Brown SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) TURNER, Benjamin Sterling AL Republican House
42nd (1871-1873) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) CAIN, Richard Harvey SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) ELLIOTT, Robert Brown SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RANSIER, Alonzo Jacob SC Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) RAPIER, James Thomas AL Republican House
43rd (1873-1875) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House
44th (1875-1877) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate
44th (1875-1877) HARALSON, Jeremiah AL Republican House
44th (1875-1877) HYMAN, John Adams NC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
44th (1875-1877) NASH, Charles Edmund LA Republican House
44th (1875-1877) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
44th (1875-1877) WALLS, Josiah Thomas FL Republican House
45th (1877-1879) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate
45th (1877-1879) CAIN, Richard Harvey SC Republican House
45th (1877-1879) RAINEY, Joseph Hayne SC Republican House
45th (1877-1879) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
46th (1879-1881) BRUCE, Blanche Kelso MS Republican Senate
47th (1881-1883) LYNCH, John Roy MS Republican House
47th (1881-1883) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
48th (1883-1885) O’HARA, James Edward NC Republican House
48th (1883-1885) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
49th (1885-1887) O’HARA, James Edward NC Republican House
49th (1885-1887) SMALLS, Robert SC Republican House
51st (1889-1891) CHEATHAM, Henry Plummer NC Republican House
51st (1889-1891) LANGSTON, John Mercer VA Republican House
51st (1889-1891) MILLER, Thomas Ezekiel SC Republican House
52nd (1891-1893) CHEATHAM, Henry Plummer NC Republican House
53rd (1893-1895) MURRAY, George Washington SC Republican House
54th (1895-1897) MURRAY, George Washington SC Republican House
55th (1897-1899) WHITE, George Henry NC Republican House
56th (1899-1901) WHITE, George Henry NC Republican House
71st (1929-1931) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House
72nd (1931-1933) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House
73rd (1933-1935) DE PRIEST, Oscar Stanton IL Republican House
74th (1935-1937) MITCHELL, Arthur Wergs IL Democrat House
History speaks for itself: Republicans freed the slaves and Republicans championed Civil Rights. With the rise of the Tea Party, Conservatives are reconnecting with our historical legacy, and emerging from our ranks are strong men and women of color like Allen West, Mia Long, Star Parker, Tim Scott and Marco Rubio. These are not “tokens;” these are men and women convinced that limited government and free market solutions provide the best opportunities for all Americans, including those of color.
History has shown the GOP to be very different from the “bigots” the Left routinely paints them to be. Nor are they “anti-women,” as guest host Karen Hunter charged this morning, but rather champions of the rights of women from the womb, particularly Black women, who are more likely to be aborted than born, as a recent statistic out of New York shows.
Ms. Hunter went on to say that former RNC Chairman, Michael Steele was merely a counter-measure to the election of Barack Obama. Now, faithful readers know I have had my fair share of gripes about Mr. Steele, but being a “token” isn’t one of them. During Mr. Steele’s candidacy, did anyone from his party talk about his “Negro dialect” (that he could turn off “at will”) or call him “clean and articulate” (as opposed to what, I’d like to know — “dirty and inarticulate?”). Not only was then-Senator Obama called that, he went on to choose the author of that latter remark as his running mate! Only in the DNC could something like that happen, and yet the GOP is painted with the “raaaacist” brush!
Ah, facts (and the indelible memory of the Internet) – enemies of the Left. The next time you hear that “racist rhetoric” from your friendly neighborhood Lefty, please set them straight, or send them here!
* List does not include Joseph Willis Menard who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1868, but, in a contested race, was not allowed to be seated.
Photo Credit: New York Public Library
I appreciate this blog, and value a diverging viewpoint. There are some great facts about the history of the GOP and people of color. Often times these facts get left out of any constructive debate on the issue of race in modern times. However, one thing that always peaks my interest…and I applaud you for laying it out in such great detail in this post…is the drop off. Conservatives are quick to champion the fact that the GOP is the party of Lincoln, but seem to have some sort of amnesia about exactly why most blacks left the GOP in the mid 20th century. (or rather why the GOP left the blacks).
While I do appreciate the core values held by the GOP, this sort of gross oversight (or ignorance) makes folks a little skeptical about the party’s sincerity on the topic. Your list that you compiled ended for a very good reason, and I challenge you to post that reason. Until the GOP comes to grips with this REALITY, people of color, and in fact most minorities, will continue to regard the GOP’s sincerity on issues race with some degree of skepticism. Rightfully so. Do you know the reasons why? HINT: It wasn’t a paycheck.
PS – Believing that is, IMO, is really way more offensive than being called “articulate”.
It’s rather difficult for me to understand how a Black conversative is a threat to Black democrats. Is this fear based on the Black voting block in the North, Midwest, or West? As a southern, I haven’t seen any Black conversative threaten the Black democratic base. Nearly half of the black electorate resides in the south (usually southeastern). Many of us have what conversatives are calling “family values” today nevertheless, we are well aware the racial yes racial politics of the south. Yes the Democratic party is no cake walk, but today it is lesser of the two evils. I wish a black republican would show up at my door or at my church or at my civic group to have frank discussion regarding the benefits of the southern black vote going republican. As long as I live in the souther I can be assured that this will not happen.
Calling oneself a black conservative is unfortunately necessary, because of the intellectual insularity that has pervaded much of black life. It’s an uphill battle, for black conservatives fighting this sheep mentality that tells blacks that there are only a few ways for one to be in this world.
Which is why you have Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Will I AM, and Chris Bosh saying that Programming is Cool, or that learning & getting a great education is just as awesome an avenue for Blacks as Athletics & Music.
You would think it would be enough for most young black males to simply see Steve Jobs succeed, a Syrian-American, and say: “you know, I know I’m not that guy’s skin color, but I want to be him anyways.” Well, apparently, that doesn’t happen often enough, & much of that has to do with the elevation of race, as an issue, and the sole impediment keeping blacks from succeeding. Just like it takes Lebron James putting on glasses & promoting the Khan Academy to help defeat the stigma that being smart is acting white, so too, unfortunately, will it take blacks identifying an alternative political affiliation, to change black perceptions about conservatism.
Blacks are largely to blame, and Whites are largely to blame. Black insularity, and the bigotry of low expectations from White Liberals, to be specific. Staying with your own kind is easy, and that can be said about the Chinese, the Jews, Hispanics, and every immigrant group. But that Blacks tend to prefer only living amongst other Blacks is not healthy for Blacks, and not healthy for non-Blacks. In every case, including White America, where one does not venture to live, work, or play around those different from themsevles, and only live with their own kind, it tends to create a self-imposed ghetto, intellectually, academically, economically, and culturally. So this isn’t a Black-Only issue, but it certainly is an issue, and one that has to be addressed in black life.
“Black conservative” may be useful vis-a-vis other blacks, to signify a movement on their part to evangelize conservative principles to the black community, but their “black-ness” in no way enters their value system, or their affirmation of Liberty, Life, E Pluribus Unim, In God We Trust, etc. It’s just a title, it has no purpose beyond being a tool for evangelizing to a stubborn insular group, and it isn’t “race-baiting” in the sense that the term is used to point out Leftwing abuse of the term. Some day, however, there will be more intellectual diversity in black life to render the term Black Conservative unnecessary. But until then, it shall remain a calling card, a signifier, in black life, that an alternative exists:
1.) One that provides greater upward mobility for you and your family, and makes you the captain of your ship, not some bureaucrats
2.) Puts the next generation of Blacks in greater footing economically, educationally, & socially, and,
3.) Puts the country on better footing all together, as the Black Vote will no longer be guaranteed to the Democrats, and both parties will actually have to work to prove they are worthy of your support.
That is my rant for the day, thank you, God bless, and now I have to do my math homework. BTW, this original comment was posted on blacksphere.net