Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two Days Off:The National Republican African American Caucus Has It’s Say!: An 18 Day Political Revival

May 5, 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

My Two Days Off: Sometimes you have to take a day or two off, step away from all of the unnecessary drama, pray, regroup, and try not to let it impact you.

I know there were those who thought not seeing the blog for the past two days meant either I was dead or I finally had shut up! Either way, perhaps this gave reason for you to rejoice over two days of silence.

I hate to disappoint you, but ...I am still alive, I have not shut up and I shall continue to have our say. I simply had to have a day or two of prayer to try to help me to endure the ignorance of blacks in my hometown, which unfortunately is typical of some blacks across America.

On this past Friday, you would have thought God came to town, as Jesse Jackson filled the auditorium with colored folks eager to have him tell them what to do about "our" problems, with "our" black kids in Chattanooga who attend one of "our" failing predominately black schools.

I got the call from one of the people I work with at this particular school, as a part of a program I direct at the University to prepare "at-risk" and first generation college students for college. She called to make sure I knew about the coming of the Black Messiah, and to make sure I was there.

Well...let me just put it this way. After letting her know that I absolutely had no intentions of going anywhere near the school to hear Jesse Jackson, I lost it! For about thirty minutes on the telephone with her, expressing my disgust with black people, I got off the phone in total amazement of the self-inflicting mental bondage of black people!

Why would a community of intelligent, professional, responsible, self-respectful, black people find it necessary to bring in Jesse Jackson to solve their "own" problems within their "own" community?

Known as the "Pull-up Pants Professor" and affectionately as "Second Mom" to many kids throughout the city, I was livid to see money being paid to bring Jesse Jackson in to do no more than to be Jesse. When so many times, like a few others out there who love and believe in this generation of blacks, we have gone into our own pockets to self-finance efforts to reach out to our youth and had done it with great success, this was seriously messed up (as my kids in the streets would say).

I found that this not only provoked me to outrage, but also was an embarrassment to African American males and community leadership. It is like asking another man or person to come in and tell or help you to head your "own" household, as if you do not have the common sense, manliness or leadership ability to do it yourself.

Over the past three years, I have been working on a self-financed Hamilton County Youth Research Study. As a researcher, I have found that the problem we have as a race with African American males is 90 percent due to "our" own failure to parent "our" own children and to direct them to make better choices, with about 10 percent being due to institutional racism. A perfect example of this is our young males walking around with their pants hanging down looking like they just got out of or are on their way to prison. We talk about racial profiling and stereotypes, yet as a race, we are not willing to take ownership of what we have allowed to become a trade mark of identity for African American males.

All of this has greatly disturbed me and has stirred up a cry from within.

We have to advocate for individual responsibility and personal ownership for who we are and who we have allowed ourselves to become. This means parents have to become parents and do what is necessary at home to make sure students are disciplined, prepared and ready to learn when they enter the educational environment.

Teachers are not supposed to be parents! Yet they spend most of their time parenting and disciplining "our" kids because we have failed to do this at home. This is mostly because now we have babies having babies, and "my baby daddies" who are unemployed, irresponsible, immature and are not a part of the parenting process.

I can remember growing up and no matter how poor blacks were or how much they acquired, the things they demanded of their children were: respect for God; respect for the church and the preacher; respect for your elders; respect for parents; respect for teachers; respect for others; and respect for yourself! But somewhere along the line, we stopped parenting and demanding our children be respectful and dream for more. We failed to pass down many of the qualities that we once possessed as a race.

To blame for this, at the top of the list along with parents, are the preachers. Many have failed to preach and teach their congregations life skills. If we can stop trying to build mega churches and begging for money - forming $100, $500 and $1000 and up offering lines, long enough to teach a practical doctrine of how to live the other 6 days out of the 24-7, then we would be able to provide wisdom to those who are lacking.

Thank God there are those parents who are assuming their responsibilities.

Thank God there are clergy who are preaching and teaching a practical doctrine, and are doing all they know and even making monetary investments to make a difference within and outside of the four walls of the church.

Thank God there are those of this generation who are respectful and are taking advantage of opportunities to add value to their lives and to build brighter futures. But we need to encourage more of this. We also need to come out of racial denial that we are a major part of the problem.

When as a race we can offer practical spiritual guidance, take back our families and begin to assume our roles as parents, and raise the bar to encourage and demand of them more, then we can prepare a generation of blacks who can economically, socially, politically and even spiritually reclaim the birthright. Until then, where this is not being done, it is like casting pearls to be treaded underfoot by those who do not appreciate the value of the opportunities America now offers to them.

Despite all of this, the weekend did offer a Balm of Gilead that for a moment helped me to deflect from all of the Jesse Jackson drama and to reflect on something more positive.

On Sunday, my daughter, who also is a Harry S. Truman Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with highest honors, department honors, elected to the Alpha Society as well as to several other honor societies, received three undergraduate degrees - completed in 5 years, and is on her way to graduate school at Harvard in the fall.

As I marched in among my fellow colleagues, dressed in academic regalia, I felt the pride not only this time of seeing students I had taught graduate, but also as a proud parent! For that moment, I forgot about the Jesse Jackson drama. For that moment I bathed in the reality that education is the key to overcoming racism and to ensuring upward mobility and political power, and that I could see the manifestations of this in progress, through those who reached this milestone within their lives.

But then came Monday and Tuesday and the fallout from the Jesse Jackson visit, which prompted the need to still away and PRAY!

Now you know why, the political revival had to take a day or two off!

I needed to confine myself to my secret closet and pray! This time not because of the ill treatment and exclusion of blacks from the Republican Party, but for what we do or allow to be done to "ourselves"!

We have come to the place where we almost no longer need white racism. Because, the slave now is the victim of itself!

Heaven help us to see that we are just as much a part of the problem, and in many ways, "we" are the problem!

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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