April 16, 2010
NRAAC's National Chair
Dr. Jean Howard-Hill
National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] Blog
The National Republican African American Caucus Has It’s
Say!: 18 Day Political Revival
Day 4: The Different Flavors of Black Republicanism. Which flavor are you?
[For Day 4 and Day 5, I have revised excerpts from my book, Black Eyes Shut – White Lips Sealed, Chapter Twenty-Three, 100 Black Watts and Condilites Shining So Bright! Also since I have blogged sermonically for the past few days, I thought a little humor might lighten it up a bit. Every revival needs a little humor! A time when we can bare honest assessment and even laugh at ourselves. So please try not to take offense. And if I offend someone, please forgive me and just pray for me.]
It is true. Believe it or not. Not all African-American Republicans are created the same. We come in different hues of opinions and in all political shades and point of views. We even come in various degrees other than conservatism. Within the Republican Party, we even fall within a unique category of what it means to be black. But together, we represent the politically diverse faces of the African-American Republican.
May I introduce you to some of those faces?
The Remnants of the Reconstruction Republicans: They are the oldest among us. They are descendants of former slaves who aligned with the party during this era, and have remained generationally faithful and loyal to the party. Their political affiliation has been handed down from one generation to another. These are those who still have faith in the GOP, because of its history of championing the cause of black people. However, because their eyes are still focused on the Republicans of old, they know the difference between what was and what is today.
The Faithful Party Loyalists, No Matter What: They have chosen to stay and continue to hope that things one day will change. They are the ones who have expended so much of their own personal political capital into the party that it does not make sense to change parties now even if they see things are not going as they should. They are the ones with double-digit years of service or time as a Republican, and see themselves with no other choice but to stay, because they often are no longer welcomed on the Democratic side. Therefore, they choose to remain faithful Republicans to the grave.
The Black Judas: They have the tendency to turn on you and even betray trust, if it is to their personal advantage. Beware! Unless you want to hear it again or want the left hand to know what the right hand is doing, you may want not to tell them any more than you want known. And for goodness sake, watch your back!
The Don’t Rock the Boat Republicans: They are the ones who do not want you to rock the boat or speak even a justifiable word against the party. Despite the problems within the party they see no evil, hear no evil and certainly will speak nothing against the party – except behind closed doors to those who enter into a solemn oath never to repeat what is said. They honestly believe that if you don’t do anything, those who are doing wrong, will somehow automatically repent and turn from their wicked ways. So just give them time and pray for them!
The Crumb Snatchers: They are the most pitiful, because they stand around the Republican table, serving, grinning and agreeing in hope that as they flunky up to the right person, they might get a crumb or two from the table.
The Kodak Moment Republicans: These are my favorite. Blessed their hearts! You should see them grin. It seems that the Republican Party can always find the one with the darkest completion, the brightest teeth and the biggest smile. Place them in the center of the bowl of buttermilk and “click”! There it is. A perfect Republican Kodak Moment! But after the picture? “Get to stepping”!
The Jumpers: They are the ones who if they think that the Republican Party can help them or that they have a chance to be treated special or to get appointed or elected within the party, they will jump ship – parting ways for opportunities and rewards!
The Borderline Insane: I cannot begin to describe them. And now that there is an internet, they spread that insanity like it is morning dew. They are an interesting breed which need no further description. For you shall know them from the moment they open their mouths or the moment you open their e-mail. My advice, hit delete or send them directly to spam!
The Racially Transcended Black Republicans: Please do not tell them they are Black! Because they have transcended color. Therefore they have no recollection of ever being Black or having a “black experience”. There was no past struggle for equality, and certainly there is no present one. Except for when they face a mirror, they are fully convinced that they have changed! Give away phrase? When you hear them say there are no race issues within the Republican Party. But don’t be too hard on them, because they truly do believe from the depths of their hearts that they have transcended. My advice? Leave them alone and STOP trying to convince them that they are still Black! You are just wasting your time!
The Steppers: These are those who will step on anyone else to get to the top of the pile of crumbs! Need we say any more? You will know who they are when they step on you and your response is “Ouch”!
The VIP A-A Elitists: Because of their affluent status and their ability to write more than a two-dollar check, that when it hits the bank won’t bounce, they are protected as heirs to the royal African-American Republican political throne of the sacred donors. These are those who you do not touch! They are the money people, and money people are off-limits! Okay? Off-limits!
The Anointed: They are the sanctioned, supported, appointed, anointed, and protected model African-American Republicans that are embraced by the party. How you get to be one of them? …I think it’s a secret. But if only we knew the answer, we might be able to find at least one!
The African American Republican Clones: They are the test tube Blacks, taken under the wings of some White Republicans, who are cloned and trained to do anything they want. Who and what they are? Nobody really knows. I told you they were cloned! So what do you expect?
The African-American Republican Medialites: They are the media appointed blacks used to depict and speak for all African-American Republicans, even if we never gave them permission or they do not represent the membership of any organization or they know nothing about how we feel on issues. Who cares? Nobody really listens to African American Republicans any way. When we speak, they hit the mute button. Even some of us hit it! When they come on, it’s like …commercial time. Bathroom break! Time to raid the frig! Throw another load of laundry in the washer! Hopefully when we return, they are gone!
The Make You Want to Cringe Republicans: Those who when they open their mouths, you cringe. Sort of like you do when Sarah Palin speaks. The ones that everything that comes out of their mouths seemingly is rambling, cliché, a little strange, and not well thought out. The ones who when you hear them, and after they finish, you scratch your head and ask, “Say what?” or “Did they really say that?” Nevertheless, they are the ones behind the mic and before the camera! The party loves them because they are good for raising money (mostly for themselves) and firing up the crowd. So it doesn’t matter that they make the rest of us look just as ridiculous, for letting them have the limelight.
The Political Whores: Those who will sell their “stuff” to the highest bidder!
The In Defense of Republicans: They defend every sane or insane position taken by the party, and are called upon to defend any racial or politically incorrect blunders made by white Republican elected officials or party leaders. They are those who eagerly arise to defend anything, true or false.
The African American Tea Sippers: Not sure how to define this one. Too new and too strange to describe. Like a good cup of tea, we might want to let it simmer first, then see what’s in the cup and whose drinking it. I guess that is the only way to know if you should drink the kool-aid. Because for some of us, it looks like a potential batch of Jonestown brew.
The Tokens: Although for the most part, we all are a Fly in the Bowl of Buttermilk Republicans, there are those who enjoy being the Only Fly in the Bowl. They truly enjoy their exclusiveness in being the only one of their kind in the Republican Party! They proudly boast of their exclusiveness as if it is something of which to be proud. They are adamantly against the recruitment of other blacks for fear they will lose their exclusiveness, or will have to share the benefits of being the “token” black and prime benefactor of all of the possible Republican goodies. They are the ones who make it bad for those who want to be at the table, by making sure they do their part to prevent them from getting there! They are the single proof in the pudding, used to substantiate the GOP’s claim of reaching out to and including minorities in the party.
The Cream of the Crop Republicans: They are the highly qualified and upper level appointees, who have been selected not just because of their loyalty to the Party, but because of their intellectual value. They are the ones who have the “ear” of the President and the Republican Party. These are the Colin Powells, Condolezza Rices, and Rod Paiges. They are the legitimate African-American showcases, in which we all are proud of, but stand afar off wishing we in some way could be just as “special” as they are, or at least be noted for our level of intelligence. But they are the blacks with whom the rest of the African-American Republicans seldom get an opportunity to mingle or exchange ideas. Because of this, they are sometimes the lonely ones at the top, who we have to constantly pray for that their isolation does not cause them to lose their identity or be swayed in anti-black directions. Unfortunately, there are not many of them left around after the Bush administration.
The I Got Elected as a Republican With No Help From You-Thank You Very Much Republicans: They wore the GOP label and took the hits, but did not get the support or sanction from the Party to run as Republican candidates. Nevertheless they were elected, and are in a position to tell the Party where they can go, when they should leave, and the road they should take to get there. This kind of Black Republican gets the opportunity to thumb their nose at the party. But the party is careful not to openly oppose them, unless it is done behind closed doors. Because after all, they did have enough political clout to get elected, despite their lack of support from the Republican Party and the party’s attempts to shut them out. Therefore, the party may at some time be able to capitalize off that support.
The I Got Elected, I Got the Support, and Now I am Forever Indebted Republicans: They are subject to the party’s control, because the same party that put them there, can remove them in the next election. Therefore, they walk a tight rope, and shy away from anything “too black”, and any other issue that is not sanctioned by the party leadership. They are the “controlled” elected African-American leadership.
The Politically Detached Grass Root Republicans: They are out there, but are unnoticed, unidentified, and uncounted. They don’t sit at the table. They don’t have a voice, except through their vote. They don’t attend party functions. They just silently vote Republican. But they do share some of the core values of the party. They are the “political sleepers”, who can make a difference in terms of the numbers, once the party figures out that they do exist. This group goes unnoticed by most polls because they discreetly vote Republican.
The Younger Breed of African-American Republicans: They are wealth oriented, and are independent thinkers. This group sees economic and political empowerment as a mandate, and are less race conscious. They are the generation who eventually will put a new face on the party, and the only colors they are willing to see are “green hues of empowerment” from every political and economic angle.
The New Arrivers Who Knock at the Republican Door: This is the recruited group of African-American Republicans who have heard the call of inclusion and have answered the call to become Republicans, but have found the doors shut, with the Party being off limits to them. So what do they do when they get tired of knocking? They remove the door from its hinges. Or they return to the Democratic Party, become political Independents or camp out at the Republican door steps, waiting for a tiny crack to open for them to come rushing in.
Those Who Dwell in Republican Heaven: This is the most coveted of them all! Only to be like those who have been granted access through the pearly white gates and have found Republican Heaven! They actually dwell among white Republicans who accept “us”! They actually are treated like co-equals and are actually allowed to have a seat at the table! WOW! Only in Republican Heaven can such a relationship like this exist. But it does. It may be in California, but it’s heaven nonetheless! Oh to find a Republican Heaven somewhere in Tennessee! I envy you Dearest Gwen and the few others like you!
The Go Fight Giant Republicans: In this group there are only a brave few, who have a sincere desire to see the Party grow, but know that in order for that to happen, they will have to become the “lamb for the slaughter” to effect such a change. They are the sacrifice upon the political altars of the Republican Party, and are presented as a burnt offering, which in time will send up a sweet savor of victory and true inclusiveness. They are the pioneers who paved the way for a brighter day, the repairers of the breach, the rebuilders of the ruins, and the light of consciousness for the party. They are the ones who fight the political giants of the party because they have been mandated to make a difference from a higher power, and do not fear the political Goliaths of the Republican Party. They also are sometimes coded as being “troublemakers.” In slavery, this was a code word for saying, “We cannot control this one!” [Ummmm? …. I wonder. Could this be my flavor?]
I guess it is now time to end this sermon and make the altar call, like any good preacher would do. So here goes. (You can add some music to the background now if you like. In the black church, no real altar call is made without a good song.)
Dearly beloved, now that you know the flavors, which ones will you choose and which ones fit you? Whatever flavor you have chosen, and whatever one you find yourself fitting into, let me share the advice I give to my daughter:
“Shine as bright as you can my child! But never allow your brightness be a reflection of anyone else other than who you truly are inside.”
Golden Nuggets of Wisdom to My Daughter LaShunda ___JHH
Knowing the power of redemption and change, I pray that if you find your flavor has a negative impact and is not a reflection of who you truly want to be or who you truly are inside, that you will be encouraged to …CHANGE FLAVORS!
P.S.: I love ALL of you! So try not to get too MAD at me for telling the truth. Because if you can accept the truth, it will set you free!
To reach the NRAAC national chair:
423-702-5622 NRAAC office
[Dr. Jean Howard-Hill is the author of Black Eyes Shut, White Lips Sealed. She has serves as the national chair for the National Black Republican Women with her late husband, Attorney Bobby Lee Hill serving as the head of the Black Republican Men for Change from 1987 to his death in 1991. After his death up until 1993, she remained head of the organization, and in 1999 combined the two groups to form the National Republican African American Caucus.
She has taught full time and as an adjunct, American Government, State and Local Government, and International Politics and Culture of Nonwestern Countries at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and was voted 2006 Outstanding Professor of the year. Additionally, from 1976 to 1979, she designed and directed the "Democracy In Action" Program, which was a civics program taught in the local school systems. Howard-Hill also is a local political commentator and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Law. She also is ordained clergy and heads The Healing Place Ministries International, overseeing 47 ministries throughout Africa.
She also is a TN third district congressional candidate. If elected, she would be the first African American Republican and female to be elected from the third district. Her campaign website can be found at: http://ladyjforcongress.com and http://jeanhowardhillforcongress.com; http://jeanhowardhillcampaignnews.blogspot.com; http://blogwithladyjforcongress.blogspot.com; http://jeanhowardhillforcongress.ning.com; http://www.youtube.com/JHHCongress; http://twitter.com/ JHHCongress.]
The National Republican African-American Caucus is an organization that is comprised of Spirit filled people of faith within the African American community, that works in conjunction with local, state and national party efforts to embrace, and offer African-American Republicans opportunities for inclusion and involvement in the Republican Party, and builds bridges between the African-American community and the Republican Party. In doing so, it seeks to carry out the philosophy and mission set before President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party, where those guiding principles are more important than politics.
More information on the NRAACcan be found at:
http://www.nraacaucus.org; http://nraacaucus.ning.com [NRAAC] National Republican African American Caucus Social Issue Network (members only); http://nraac.blogspot.com [NRAAC Blog]; http://youthonthehorizons.blogspot.com [NRAAC Youth on the Horizons Blog]; http://the-twig.blogspot.com [NRAAC New Generation-New Direction Blog]; and
http://theblackolivebranch.blogspot.com [NRAAC National Chair's Blog]. Each State Caucus can be accessed by state. See related links at http://www.nraacaucus.org/index_files/Page816.htm. Also can be found on the RNC group page at http://our.gop.com/Groups/National_Republican_African-American_Caucus_NRAAC.