How To Be A Black Republican Without Losing
Many Black people and the Republican Party have a lot in common. Many Black people don’t believe in abortion, they want crime to be reduced, and they are still against gay marriage in large numbers. They were the party that ended slavery, freeing Black people forever from its evil grip. Yet, most Black people vote Democrat.
This tends to perplex White Republicans even after they admit they make no effort to court the Black vote. As a Black liberal and proud member of the Democratic party, the reason why Blacks don’t vote for the GOP is quite clear.
Black people in this country are often criticized for talking too much about race. Blacks vote for those who look like them or at least who talks about our issues. Blacks are told that we fall back on race when they feel it’s not at the core of every issue. However…the 2016 was a referendum on race. It’s funny that Whites are not criticized for the same things. Trump won White women in 2016. When accused pedophile, Roy Moore ran for the Senate in Alabama, White women broke for Roy Moore. 98% of Black women in Alabama voted for the non-pedophile, Doug Jones. Doug Jones is now the Senator-elect from a state that hadn’t voted for a Democrat since 1992.
When it came down to race, Whites voted for the Republican over the Democrat. So why don’t we criticize White people for the same thing? Whites are leaving the Democratic party in droves because they feel like the party is too focused on minority outreach and has left them out. Isn’t that related to race as well? Or is it just worthy of paying attention to when Black people do it?
So where does that leave Black Republicans? People who still believe in a strong military, low taxes on businesses and corporations, strong family values, and take conservative positions on social issues? It seems when they are placed in positions of power within the GOP, they are often tasked with building minority outreach and translating that into votes for the Republican Party.
However, many of these Black Republicans have lost nearly all their support with their Black community. How can a Black Republican go to his community for support when they’ve lost credibility?
Ask Omarosa Manigault. Ask Dr. Ben Carson, once hailed as a hero but now shamed and disgraced in our eyes. Ask Clarence Thomas, who many people actually forget that there is a Black man on the Supreme Court.
Is it because Black people hate Republicans? No. That’s ludicrous. You can still be Black and be a respected Republican. It’s all in what you do and say.
Clarence Thomas and Dr. Ben Carson are against Affirmative Action, a program that is still widely popular with African Americans. It’s also not lost on us that these are two individuals that benefitted heavily from the program want it taken away. This program was responsible for lifting many Blacks out of poverty and given a fighting chance, almost overnight.
To be a Black Republican to many means to conceal their identity. You’re no longer Black. You’re an “American” or a “human being”. They find themselves in a bind, trying to prove to other Black Americans that that they still identify as “being Black” while proving to White Republicans that they don’t identify with Blackness. You must agree as a Black Republican that its something inane within their community that causes poverty and crime. It can’t be policies enacted over the past few decades that placed some Black people where they find themselves. No. They have to first agree with and believe White people that there is something innately wrong with Black culture instead of White policy. How incredibly tiring that must be.
During Trump’s campaign and in the early months of his presidency, he painted a picture of the Black community that is widely different than what Black people actually experience. Dilapidating communities, crime ridden communities, large cities where Blacks did nothing but wait for someone to do SOMETHING! However, this view is not a universal experience for us all. As White people clapped loudly for Trump as he went on and on about how Black people can’t walk down their streets without being shot, many Black people scratched their heads at this vision. I caught myself rolling my wheelchair through my working class neighborhood in Indiana feeling absolutely no fear of being shot or my building crumbling into a pile of brick and stone. Black Republicans said very little, quietly still offering their support to this president.
However, there is one Republican that hasn’t lost the support of the Black community. His name is General Colin Powell. Yes, we know that he is a Republican and worked in the Bush Administration for the same president that Kanye West famously stated that “didn’t care about Black people” after the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
As a Black Republican, he stated that he didn’t “mind the #BlackLivesMatter campaign because there is still a problem with racism in this country. He also threw his support behind Barack Obama instead of McCain and Romney, believing that Obama was the better man for the job.
“There are elements in my party, the Republican Party, that show some level of intolerance that I don’t think is worthwhile for the party to demonstrate,” he said.
The retired four star general could be one figure in politics that could cause many people to switch parties if he ever ran for President. Depending on whomever the Democratic candidate was, I would do the same thing and switch parties temporarily just to give him my vote.
How did he keep his self respect? By never forgetting where he came from. By never forgetting that no matter how many stars they pinned on his chest, that he was still a Black man in America. He remembered that despite his astounding success, he knows that other Black men in America simply won’t get the same treatment or opportunity that he did. By remembering that race is still an issue in American life and it’s not something that we can just ignore.
Colin Powell is not a perfect spokesperson but with small number of Black Republicans in this country, who are stuck in between standing up for their party or their people, Colin Powell has navigated this rough terrain with better success than most.
You can be Black, a Republican and have respect. Just ask Mr. Powell how he did it. Then hit repeat.