It’s not every day that white people go out of their way to make the American political system a bit more diverse. Though a lot of politicians on both sides of the aisle say that diversity is a big deal for them, few actually do the hard work necessary to yield a less homogenous government. At least one group of white Americans, however, is trying to build a bridge between the very white political field and the Black community.
An Irish-American political action committee says it’s in the middle of creating a PAC whose sole intention will be to help African-American and Irish American politicians win state and national elections. The working name for the group is the “McBLACKPAC,” and it says it wants to help build on the traditional relationship between Blacks and the Irish.
“Together we will work to elect Democratic candidates to federal and state office who share our values on civil rights, immigration reform, education, workers' rights, justice, the environment and economic progress,” McBLACKPAC’s founders said in an emailed statement to reporters this week. “Hope you will join us and look forward to working with you in the next Obama administration.”
Obama is, in part, inspiration for McBLACKPAC, according to the founders. “The group says it wants to build on the shared history of African-Americans and Irish Americans, ‘from Frederick Douglass and Daniel O'Connell, to President John Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, and now President Barack Obama and Joe Biden,’” reports Pete Kasperowicz at The Hill blog Ballot Box.
Stella O’Leary, McBLACKPAC’s president, says the group will focus some of its first efforts on Philadelphia and Cleveland, as those two cities have a history of Black-Irish relations. From there, they hope to extend outward.
“The primary purpose is to get … and increase in Irish-Americans and African-Americans elected,” O'Leary told Kasperowicz. “And as you know the African-American population is underrepresented on the Hill.”
It’s sad that it’s such a rarity to hear a white person acknowledge the government’s diversity deficiency. But it’s certainly nice when it happens. Now to see whether the McBLACKPAC can actually enact change. Perhaps they should consider changing that name first.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Irish American Democrats)
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