Opinion: Black Republicans Are Running From Race

Published October 20, 2009

Black Republicans running for various offices this election cycle seem to be running from race while running their races. 

This is one of the most asinine things I've seen, but not at all unexpected.  This is why Black Republicans have no credibility within their own communities.

These Black office seekers make comments that appall me and they clearly lack an understanding of how their words could be interpreted by people in the Black community. 

Allen West, a retired Army colonel running against Democratic Congressman Ron Klein (FL-22nd), said, “Since (Democrats) have thrown out the race card, it has made me more appealing….because it shows the contrast of our principles—how different we are even though we both have permanent tans (referring to President Obama).”  West continued, “A lot of people who don’t want to be part of Obama’s policies are being called racist….Then they say, Hey, this guy, Colonel West—he’s Black and I support him…. It has nothing to do with race…People don't care about your color, they care about your character.” 

But, Colonel West, WAIT!  You said it was not about race, then you say you’re Black, therefore people in your district are supporting you (because you are Black).  Which is it?  So, let me make sure I understand you.  White people are supporting you because you are Black so that you can speak out against the Black president, so the White people won’t have to (because they can’t call you a racist since you are Black).  Oh, I get it now.  You know we have a phrase for people like that and it begins with the word UNCLE!

Ryan Frazier is a 31-year-old city councilman in Colorado who is running for the U.S. Senate in the Republican primary.  Frazier said that being Black is an asset.  So when he opposes the president’s policies, no one can call him a racist.  According to Frazier, “I don’t think they will be able to use that argument against me or engage in those tactics against me.”  So, let me interpret this.  Because of the skin color that you say doesn’t matter, you are able to criticize the president because of the very skin color that you say doesn’t matter?  Ok, now I understand.

Michael Williams has served several terms as Texas Railroad Commissioner and is currently running for the U.S. Senate seat that current senator Kay Hutchinson is vacating to run for governor.  He states that his Blackness will be an asset.  According to an article, “one of the things it allows me to do….it allows me to speak very, very frankly about what I believe, and what I feel, and nobody is going to call me a racist.”  Again, I am confused.  His Blackness is only an asset when it comes to denigrating a Black president and his policies.  According to Williams, other than giving him cover in criticizing the president, his race doesn’t exist.  Wow, either he is color blind or just blind to people of color.

Do these guys hear themselves and how ridiculous they sound?  Have you ever heard of a Jewish candidate denying or distancing themselves from their own heritage?  Or a Latino or Asian?  These groups use their ethnicity to endear themselves to voters from their group while at the same time building coalitions to expand their base of support. 

Can you be against the president’s policies and not be a racist?  Without question.  But, I challenge these candidates to answer a few questions for me. 

What does describing Obama as a Nazi have to do with health care?  What does calling him a liar during a joint session of Congress have to do with health care?  How does calling him a socialist, fascist, or communist, further the health care debate?  So, you would think that if this debate was about health care, the signs at town hall meetings and rallies would read, “how will you pay for your plan, Mr. President, how will it be implemented, or what if I don’t want your plan?”  Those would be legitimate questions. 

Another question for the candidates: Are there any public statements by them speaking out against the actions of Congressman Joe Wilson during the president’s speech before a joint session of Congress? 

Are there any public statements by them chastising individuals and party officials for some of the incendiary rhetoric coming from Republicans (Barack the Magic Negro, calling Michelle Obama a monkey, or the celebration by many conservatives that Chicago was eliminated from Olympic consideration)? 

Just wondering because I know they all claim to be candidates of great principles and I know they would stand up for right because they are the voice of the people, right?

Finally, can you tell me if you have any Blacks on your paid campaign staffs with hiring or decision-making authority?  Are you spending any campaign money with Black vendors (office supplies, computer services, restaurants, caterers, etc)?  Are there any Black banks in your area that you are utilizing?

I would be stunned if any of the campaigns could answer yes to these questions.  But, this is my offer to them.  I am offering 30 minutes of air time on my radio show  to each candidate to address these issues and talk about their campaigns.

So, while you are running your race, please don’t continue to forget your race!

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.

 

 

Written by Raynard Jackson, Special to BET.com

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