Friday, September 5, 2008

This Respectable Negro's Feelings Have Been Hurt--Mr. McCain and the Republicans Once More Exclude Us Poor Negroes from the American Narrative

In this country, we believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose descendants arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We're all God's children, and we're all Americans...

John McCain, Acceptance Speech, RNC Convention, 2008

Mr. McCain has again made clear his party's ambivalence to Black folks (as though it was hidden). This is hardly a surprise given the Republican Party's half-hearted courtship of black voters, and the calculus that blacks are not a viable part of the Republican coalition. Granting this dynamic, that politics is chess not checkers (one of my favorite phrases...I like to remind folks whenever I use one of my ever brilliant turns of the English language), and furthermore that McCain is reaching out to Hispanics and Latinos--especially those nearly white Hispanics looking to be fully inducted into Whiteness--his nod to them is to be expected.

But, can't McCain throw Black Americans at least a little love as being a people who are central to the national narrative? I, like you, know the answer. McCain cannot include Black Americans as "Americans" in his halcyon infused imagining of America because our very inclusion would detract from the Republican's grand narrative this election cycle (and of many previous), that Black people are really alien, hostile, foreign, and outside of the American mainstream: especially if they are named Obama and Michelle.

Black Americans are a people without history it seems--out of time, not rooted in place. I guess we must simply accept that the African presence in the New World, as well as the black "American" presence in the Colonies prior to the founding are just inconvenient facts for this White conservative framing of American history (these are the moments where I really miss Brother Ivan Van Sertima). In their eyes we have no history. Ignorance is indeed a comfortable, well worn blanket isn't it?

I wonder, what would happen to McCain's and the Right's narrative if they included a little bit of their own hidden history(ies)? Would the White narrative be destroyed if those inconvenient facts of White history (that time before "White" people existed, when they were just Scots Irish, Irish, Brits, Slavs, French, etc., and not yet "White" people in mass) were included in their framework?

Or would the Right and Conservatives simply include this history as another way of claiming that slavery is something to be gotten over? Would they (re)assert their misreadings of history with their tired appeal to the White ethnic myth, this idea that the Irish and Italians "had it hard" but then prospered, so why can't Black people?

Some quick thoughts:

1. Looking at the Washington Post's piece on how the GOP has abandoned Black voters, how do black conservatives reconcile their loyalty to this party?

2. Thinking about black Republicans again, and especially of the ones at the convention, how did they feel? Were they scared to death by all those U.S.A. chants? As we respectable negroes have pointed out earlier, if you are Black and hear U.S.A. chanted (and you aren't at a sporting event) you best to get the hell out of there, cause a lynching is a coming. Or do they feel emboldened and excited? That they are included in this moment of patriotic zeal and excitement, that the Republicans in house are "color-blind?" {insert laughter here}

3. Or, do the black Republicans at the GOP convention feel special and privileged? Do they get extra attention? It seems they certainly focused on the same 10 people over and over again, but do they have groupies? Is there a special sticker that white conference attendees get if they slept with the token negro? Or maybe there is a contest where the winner gets a t-shirt that reads "I went to St. Paul and all I got was this lousy t-shirt...But I did have group sex with one of the black republican delegates while wearing a Sarah Palin thong and a John McCain mask!"

4. As
Field Negro mentioned earlier this week, what was the over/under on the number of non-white attendees at the convention? I would guess 50 in house and 10 shown on television. Your guess?

5. Related: did you see the older black delegate wearing the red shirt, suspenders, and (I believe) train conductors hat? Old man Moses/Uncle Ruckus's impassioned howls and screams could be heard ever so often over the orgiastic moans and clapping of the rest of the audience.

6. What other interesting people of color (excluding the really dark skinned Indian guy they kept showing, because as we know Indians are really Caucasian/Aryan) did you see on the convention broadcast?

7. No, I am not engaging in petty identity politics where I have some artificial barometer for Black authenticity. As readers of this blog know I/we are pretty pragmatic in our politics, but I have to go back to self-interest and the idea that a party should at least make an effort to include me in the big tent if I am going to offer them my allegiance. Re: black Republicans, and please don't do that party of Lincoln nonsense, why are you a Republican? How did you feel watching that convention? Are you a Republican because you are rich? If so, that makes sense and your honesty is refreshing. Or are you a Republican for some other reason?

8. But then again, when talking about black republicans I write "black" as "black" as opposed to the more correct and politically infused "Black." It is a cheap, yet subtle shot. And no, I won't apologize.

9. And don't think for a moment that I dislike Black Republicans:


Anonymous said...

I've always been intrigued by this one. Frankly from a political standpoint why should they especially because blacks have for some years now always voted around 90% give or take a few percentage points, with the Democratic party nominee in presidential elections.

However, I think it does speak to a much larger issue with race in this country. Not blatant racism, but still this underlying phobia and ignorance of black culture. If the Republicans wanted to see more in their numnbers from black people it would take some COMMUNITY ORGANIZING (Sorry, couldn't resist that one Miss Palin) and start with local elections and start a movement that way so blacks could get used to seeing other black republicans.

As it stands right now I think there is much that the Republican party could do to appeal to blacks especially because of many of their purported socially conservative ideals would appeal to a plethora of black congregations--something that Rove learned in the 2004 elections that further secured Bush's re-election. Not to mention that I had a friend from grammar school that said Mitt Romney appealed to him simply because Romney wanted to do away with the capital gains tax.

Granted I almost knocked him upside his head (I mean we both went to Jeremiah Wright's church for crying out loud!), but seriously the more wealthy of blacks, well, African Americans (lol) would probably side more with the economic plans of the Republican party.

But, I think the Republican party's failure to cater at all to the black vote and put the insult to the black race that is Michael Steele up to speak was and is damn near insulting.

It's almost a clear cut case of "We Don't Want You Here" without putting up the "Whites Only" sign.

Well, aside from the fact that according to the US Census if you have ancestry that goes to Africa above the Sahara Desert you qualify as part of the conglomeration of WHITE (yeah, that's really true.

rikyrah said...

did you hear the reaction to that comment about the Latina immigrant.

birds chirping.

I had to LOL

I don't get Black Republicans. I just don't. I've tried, but I just shrug now.

chaunceydevega said... feels good to be uppity doesn't it? just had to point out your cool name. Do they want those blackuplicans there? Or do they like the attention, the feeling that they are "tolerant?"

@rikyrah birds chirping or roaches hissing. I do hope some blackuplicans respond to my questions.


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I've always viewed black Republicans as the most delusional, self-hating citizens in the US... except for the opportunistic blacks who join the party for lucrative career or political opportunities. That group is akin to Africans selling other Africans into slavery by choice, not gunpoint, or homophobic, in the closet, self-hating gays who pass anti-gay legislation.

Anyway, here's an interview you may have seen by now.

Arianna Huffington's Interview With Black Repubs At the RCN

Anonymous said...

I'm with KIT on this one.

There's not much I can do to get around the fact that I ultimately feel that Black republicans are just delusional. And it's the same for gay folk that Sunday after Sunday sit in someone's church and here how God hates homosexuality--wtf?!?!

After watching The Daily Show with some ambush interviews they did at the RNC, I'm not even convinced that most Republicans, at least as far as the convention was concerned really were aware that there were black people there. Honestly, talk about color blind! Some white folk are so post-racial that they'd prolly let a "nigger" slip in earshot of a black person standing there and not even realise it--and sadly the black person wouldn't even know to be offended. They'd prolly pass it off and say "Oh, well he just didn't know I was standing there."

For the more aware white Republicans (well isn't that redundant) will trot out a Michael Steele and call it a day--that's about as tolerant as they're getting.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post. Of course they want the black republicans there! It makes them feel good, allows them to defend themselves against charges of discrimination, etc, not just publicly, but, more importantly, psychically. They have nothing against black (Latino, immigrant, etc) folks -- just the ones who won't act right, which is 99 percent. But this one here is a good one.

As to why a black person who isn't stinking rich would be a Republican, two words: self hate.