Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seriously Michael Steele?

April 7, 2010

NRAAC's National Chair

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill

National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] Blog

Seriously Michael Steele

Seriously Chairman Steele? The race card? Surely you jest. There is no way in heaven, earth or hell you can now have this awakening that there is a race problem within our dearly beloved predominantly lily white party, now that you are knee deep in political cow manure.

Yesterday, I got a call from well known reporter and columnist Kathleen Parker and was asked to comment on the RNC Chair’s recent interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. Her article appears today in over 400 newspapers across the country, including the Washington Post.

In that interview, Steele was asked by George Stephanopoulos whether his race gave him a "slimmer margin for error." Steele’s answer - "The honest answer is yes," said Steele. "It just is. Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. We all -- a lot of folks do. It's a different role for me to play and others to play, and that's just the reality of it."

At first I became hysterical with laughter. How humorous was this sudden epiphany of his. Then laughter turned to disbelief.

Seriously Steele? Feeling a need to be Black again?

Here we are, many of us African American Republicans, thought Steele had transcended color! We no longer believed he any longer thought he was a black man. Now all of a sudden, he has awakened again to this reality?

Come on Steele! You cannot ignore those of “us” who are Black GOPers, fail to take our calls; fail to meet with “us”; fail to recognize we are an intricate part of the party; fail to make attempts to recruit “us” into the party; fail to recognize or assist those of “us” who are recruiting “us” in the party; fail to address the issue of minority exclusion and the party’s false claim of wanting “us” in the party; fail to lend support to those of “us” who are running for office, and then now that you find yourself knee deep in political cow manure, try to play the race card? Surely not! It just does not work this way!

It would be one thing if Steele did not know some of us. But he does. I met Steele in 2001, when as the national chair for the National Republican African American Caucus (NRAAC), after an invitation to the White House to discuss minority recruitment into the Republican Party, Angela Sailor (then White House liaison, who is also presently at the RNC), sent me over to meet with Michael Steele and Dante Hayes. During that meeting, Steele and Hayes shared some of the same frustrations we had with the lack of opportunities and presence of African Americans within the GOP. I also have made Steele aware of the problems the NRAAC has had within the Tennessee political landscape that have blocked us from bringing African Americans into the GOP on a local, state and national level, while the Republican Party - RNC stood back and did absolutely NOTHING to stop it! I sent him my 2004 book, Black Eyes Shut – White Lips Sealed, which well documents all of this.

Steele’s response to us? Let me just put it this way, as one would say in the South, he remained so quiet that you could “hear a rat piss on cotton”. So it is not like he does not know that there is a national organization, headquartered in Tennessee, which for years has successfully recruited African Americans into the party, with a 76 percent clergy membership under the most racist of atmospheres!

So seriously Steele, don’t even go there with the race thing! Let those of us who bare the scars of real racism within the GOP make that claim.

To reach the NRAAC national chair:

Jean Howard-Hill

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: and;;;;; 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:; [NRAAC] National Republican African American Caucus Social Issue Network (members only); [NRAAC Blog]; [NRAAC Youth on the Horizons Blog]; [NRAAC New Generation-New Direction Blog]; and [NRAAC National Chair's Blog]. Each State Caucus can be accessed by state. See related links at Also can be found on the RNC group page at

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