Thursday, July 15, 2010

RNC Needs to Stay Out of the Tea!

July 15, 2010

NRAAC's National Chair

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill

National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] Blog

RNC Needs to Stay Out of the Tea!

While the National Republican African American Caucus is still waiting to see what is in the “tea”, to dismay, RNC Chair, Michael Steele went out of his way to provide absolute assurance of there being no credibility or grounds for the NAACP to believe there is any racism within the movement. In this July 14, 2010 statement released by RNC Chair Michael Steele, he states,

“Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true. Tea Party activists are your mom or dad, your local grocer, banker, hairdresser or doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles that honor the Constitution, limit government’s role in our lives, and support policies that empower free markets and free enterprise. Enough with the name-calling.”

Indeed this was not a wise move on Steele’s part.

Only a fool will go where angels dare not to tread. If Ryan Rhodes, a representative of the Iowa Tea Party dared not make such a blanket statement as to there being absolutely no grounds for making a racist claim against some of the individuals within the movement, and is willing to admit there are some problems within the Tea Party Movement which are beyond his control, then why would Mr. Steele go there? If indeed the Tea Party Movement is truly nonpartisan and is not a Republican movement as it has often contended, then the question is, why is the RNC or any other Republican organizations, weighing in on this in defense of the movement? This was not a Republican matter which required an RNC response or involvement! It is a Tea Party matter which needs to be addressed by them and the NAACP – not the RNC.

It also is politically dangerous and comes at a time when the GOP is in need of restoring its image, and showing that it is a party of inclusion and is not racially exclusive. What the RNC needed to do is remain silent and allow the Tea Party Movement to defend and speak for itself.

The GOP is not in a position to take on a movement which has no leadership of whom when issues such as this arise, can be held accountable. Nor can it control what happens at events or who appears and participates. In a CNN interview, even Rhodes admitted that the ability to control this kind of grassroots movement is an issue. "None of us control one another," he said. He went on to add, "It detracts from the message we're trying to promote which is freedom and not fear." He told CNN that the billboard did an injustice to the cause his organization was trying to promote. So if Rhodes is not willing to take responsibility and to defend the actions of a Tea Party organization within his own state, then why would the RNC or any other Republican organization, take up the defense with such blanket and absolute assurances that there is no racial factors involved? This being the case, it is politically irresponsible and dangerous for the RNC or any other Republican organization to place itself in a position to defend that which it has no power to control. Instead, the proper course is to encourage both the Tea Party Movement and the NAACP to come to the table and talk to each other in an effort to resolve their concerns.

The part Steele should have played is to encourage both sides to work it out among themselves, and to seek common ground and resolve differences. Watching a July 14, 2010 interview with T. J. Holmes on CNN, with Memphis Tea Party founder, Mark Skoda and the NAACP Washington Bureau Director, Hilary Shelton, it seems to work!

This is America! Many of all races are disgruntled with politics as usual, and it has nothing to do with race or party. But when we add race and focus too much on party politics, we lose the whole perspective of an America where people are demanding more of those in office.

Our advice to Michael Steele? Mind the business of the RNC and let the NAACP and the Tea Party Movement brew itself. We have too much at stake within our own party to get involved in matters that do not pertain to us. Let’s work on bringing America together and let’s grow the Republican Party and make it into the party it used to be – where the true core values of the party made it the Grand Ole Party of America!

The position the NRAAC takes on this matter? We also are concerned with some of the behavior we have seen demonstrated by some individuals within the movement, and as we blogged in April, we still are “Not Sure What’s In the Tea”. We also see what happens when those concerns are calmly discussed and placed on the table, as was done during an exchange we had with one of the Mid-South Tea Party members. Therefore, we offer this bit of advice to the real players, i.e. the NAACP and the Tea Party Movement. Seek ways to talk to each other and keep talking to each other until both sides truly understand what the other is saying, try not to allow emotions to override reasoning, remain open minded, be willing to admit mistakes, allow room for making amends, and seek common grounds. Once the racial and divisive elements are no longer a part of the equation, both organizations may find they have more in common than they think!

As to the New Black Panther Party, the same message applies! There is no room for racism of any sort in America. Despite our diversity, we are one America.

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

Rev. Dr. Jean Howard-Hill,
NRAAC National Chair

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