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Republicans Continue To Pay Lip Service To Blacks
4/5/2016 11:32:28 PM

Raynard Jackson

By Raynard Jackson, NNPA News Wire Columnist

As I continue my swing through Eastern Europe, I had every intention of writing about my conversations with all the political and business leaders that I was spending time with. I wanted to write about how the U.S. is viewed by those in Eastern Europe and the relevance of this part of the world to the U.S.

However, I have received so many phone calls and emails asking me about the continued firings of the few black staffers at the Republican National Committee (RNC) that I have decided to share my thoughts on this issue and deal with Eastern Europe at a later time.

First of all, these staffers deserved to be fired; it should have happened a long time ago. They were in way over their heads and their level of arrogance was just astonishing.

In fairness to them however, they were set up for failure by the party from the very beginning. Many in the party felt the need to hire blacks to avoid being called racist, rather than actually wanting to diversify. Sadly, this really is the thinking of many in the party and

Let me be perfectly clear, you can’t have engagement with the black community without the active participation of our congressional leadership.

The RNC is not, let me repeat, is not a policy making body with regards to legislation, but it is political malpractice to claim to want more blacks in our party without equipping staff to go into the black community with specific legislation to deal with issues relevant to our community.

You can’t go into the black community and not address the issue of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Supreme Court told congress that they needed to update the formula used to determine how section 5 is enforced.

Republicans have controlled both houses of congress since the court’s decision, but have done absolutely nothing to address this issue. Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin) has tried to work on a bipartisan solution to this issue and the house leadership has refused to let his proposed legislation come to the floor.

The black unemployment rate is still teetering near 10% and yet the Republican controlled congress has made no targeted policy proposals that would address this issue. Some in leadership have made dismissive statements like, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Message to leadership, “everyone does not have a boat;” therefore a rising tide would drown them.

These fired staffers had absolutely no engagement with our congressional leaders, rank and file members, or their staffers. So, to this extent they were set up for failure.

The result is staffers going into the black community with no specific solutions to the problems that are important to them—voting rights, access to capital, education reform, etc.

This is where the rising tide theory becomes insulting to blacks. Don’t tell me that your solutions for other people’s problems will “trickle” down to me and my community as a byproduct of your legislative priorities.

They go into the Hispanic community offering amnesty; they go into the LGBTQ community offering protective class status, but they come to the black community with trickle down legislation.

The other issue is the party has no understanding of political optics when it comes to the black community. There are little to no blacks in the media representing the Republican Party.

Typically, Republicans are only interested in hiring folks they are comfortable with; not blacks who know what the hell they are doing. They hire black people who are afraid to go up against groups like the NAACP or The National Urban League; they feel like “they [RNC] need them [black groups] more than they need us.” This is a direct quote by a staffer to me.

You have people inside the RNC who actually think they know more about the black community than black people themselves. Again, I am speaking from personal experience.

The party needs to hire black people like Allegra McCullough, Shannon Reeves, or Jennifer Carroll to engage with the black community in a meaningful way.

These three black women do not allow themselves to be bullied by RNC staff into being timid and subservient. They are already well connected both in the black community and in congress and they know how to get the latter to move on specific legislation relevant to the former.

So, you can hire all the blacks that you want, but if the hiring is not paired with specific policy initiatives; the party will once again show that they are not serious about engagement with the black community.


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