What is it about black Republicans that makes black Democrats cuss them, ignore them, or call them names?
When I was a Democrat, I never paid much attention to the negativity hurled at black Republicans. That’s probably because I never bought into the habit of gossiping about people or calling them names.
My main focus had always been about people’s deeds – whether positive or negative. I judged people by what they did, not by whom they were.
So it came as a culture shock when I switched to the Republican Party – mainly because of how other people began to treat me.
Here I was the same person, but with a different political perspective brought on by what I saw as hypocrisy in the way the black community was treated by the Democratic Party.
No longer was I “one of us.” I was now “one of them.” And then I saw the reality of viciousness. I even wrote a poem titled, “Why Do You Call Me Names?” published in 2000.
Eight years later, it still amazes me how deep the hatred goes for black Republicans – without any foundation. No one has ever been able to give me a rational determination as to why.
But it is there – a deeply engrained animosity – magnified by the level of horrific names attributed to us. This is even more apparent when we dare articulate our reasons for not voting Democratic.
And, Heaven forbid, we say something negative about Sen. Barack Obama. If this was Salem, we would be burned at the stake.
This framework makes the roadblocks set up by black Democrats for black Republican political candidates much more difficult to knock down. Decent, intelligent Republican candidates have a harder row to hoe.
Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele had his face painted like “Little Black Sambo” in a newspaper article when he ran for Congress. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was depicted as a welfare-cheating “Aunt Jemima” in a cartoon.
And we all know what has been said about Colin Powell, J.C. Watts and Alan Keyes – Uncle Toms, house (N-word)s. And those are just the names we can print.
Former NFL great Lynn Swann got elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, taking the
Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl three times with black folk screaming his name. But he couldn’t get them to vote for him for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006 because he was a Republican.
He would have been the first African-American governor of Pennsylvania. By the way, there were three black gubernatorial candidates around the country that year, including Ohio Republican Kenneth Blackwell, who also lost. Only the Democratic candidate, Deval Patrick, won in Massachusetts.
And that’s the way it has been for almost every black Republican candidate, particularly those for Congress. One of my Democratic friends said that it would be 250 years before a black Republican would be elected to Congress.
Why? Well, he couldn’t really give me an intelligent answer. Just that they would have to be Democratic to get elected.
Translation: Black folk will only vote for a Democrat.
Funny, black folk swear that Republicans are racists. But when white Republicans will vote for a black Republican (man or woman) to represent them and black folk won’t, then who’s the real racist?
Thankfully, more and more black Republicans are winning their races every year, with Ohio (21), Florida (11), Texas (8) and Pennsylvania (7) leading the way.
So if you are a black voter who is not biased, there are opportunities this election season to elect great black Republicans to represent you.
Lt. Col. Allen West, a war hero, is vying for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District and is running on courage, competence and character. http://allenwestforcongress.com/Civil Rights Activist Barb Davis White, stressing love for her country, is running in the 5th Congressional District in Minnesota. See www.barbdaviswhiteforcongress.com.
An A.K.A., Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, is running for Congress from the 13th District in Georgia. See www.honeycuttforcongress.com.
There are many others who want to give their service to their country, and to not vote for them because they are Republicans is unacceptable.
Such bias is blatant hypocrisy from a community demanding that all blacks vote for the black Democratic candidate for president.
Barbara Howard is president of Barbara Howard & Associates and the Florida state chair for C.O.R.E. (the Congress of Racial Equality).