Three of us at the VBC decided to voice our opinions on something that has bothered us over the past two weeks…
From Terrence Boulden: Posted on Bearing Drift
Cicadas in the GOP
Lately the Republican Party has gone through a very peculiar renaissance. I have noticed many of my fellow Republicans become spokesman on black conservatism. Oddly enough, after the nomination of E. W Jackson as our candidate for LG, I have heard many folks say, “Jackson needs to say this,” or, “Jackson needs to do this.”
I have news for these folks: Mr. Jackson is not the first black conservative in the Commonwealth of Virginia – we have been around for some time and would have appreciated the same enthusiasm before this nomination as he is receiving now. E.W is not a novelty act, he is a Republican, he does not need to be pointed to the nearest black neighborhood, nor does he need to speak to so and so’s black church. That is irritating and a turn off.
Rallying around him wouldn’t be such a big deal if it was an ongoing thing, but I feel like some in the party are like our friends the cicadas that have been chirping outside for the last two weeks – they come out when it suits them and disappear and hibernate the rest of the time.
This is the wrong way to do anything. I have not seen this rally cry go out when black conservatives run for city council, school board or sheriff, yet we have a state wide candidate the parade begins and the experts of minority issues come out of the woodwork. This is why Dems will label the Republicans as out of touch with minorities, this is wrong and this is bad.
I do hope that E.W Jackson is successful in his journey. This will be a big step taken within our state and party. Though I don’t stand behind a few of his statements, I do respect his heart and his passion. I am also convinced he is better for the Commonwealth than either of the Democratic candidates. My Hope and my expectation is that when this is over with victory or not, the new experts of outreach that have appeared stay awhile and encourage others and support every Republican with as much vigor as you have with Mr. Jackson. Let’s use that energy and this new knowledge all the time..
Lets not make it a one time deal.
From Carl Tate : Posted on the VBC Blog
New Numinous Negroes
It’s no secret I, and many of my colleagues at the Virginia Black Conservative Forum, have been frequent critics of the Republican Party’s failure to develop a meaningful plan for reaching out to the minority communities in Virginia and across the country. Indeed we’ve been part of many false starts and failed programs such as the defunct Welcoming Committee and the defunct Ethnic Coalitions Committee – ad hoc groups started by the state party, with no independent authority and no funding that could be, and were, eliminated by the party chair and executive director.
Instead, much to our surprise and consternation, we realized the party’s real outreach plan has consisted of relying on Great Black Hopes, or what National Review once referred to as Numinous Negroes, or what’s known as magical Negroes in Hollywood. They go by names such as Artur Davis, Paul Harris, Colin Powell….and now E.W. Jackson. They are blacks of considerable talent and ability who are supposed to embody all Republican outreach. These figures, of mythic proportions, assuage Republican white guilt by making up for the years of conservative neglect toward the black community. Or at least that’s what they’re supposed to do. Decades of not campaigning in inner cities and not addressing the problems of the black community are supposed to be forgotten because the Republican standard-bearer happens to be black.
Never mind whether or not that stand-bearer is palatable to black voters, or any voters beyond the narrow conservative base that makes up the Republican Party for that matter, no, just being black is sufficient is what we’re told. And, of course, other black conservatives are expected to jump on board because all black conservatives think alike.
But the Republican Party, specifically the Republican Party of Virginia, must realize (and should have realized a long time ago because we’ve been around this Mulberry tree before, see Maurice Dawkins to see the end result) that simply nominating a black candidate isn’t enough. Now more than ever real resources must be put behind a real program to attain the support of African-Americans and Hispanics and the young and women.
That’s why I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen/heard/read concerning the efforts coming out of the Republican National Committee as of late. Significant amounts of money are being poured into its latest outreach program, there seems to be a genuine attempt to pierce the hereto unbreakable veil that seemed to have separated the black community and the Republican Party for so long. And contrary to what I initially believed would happen the RNC is actually hiring on staff to the work many of us have been begging them to for years. The RNC seems to finally understand that outreach can’t be about winning campaigns in the short term, rather it must be prefaced on building relationships in the long term.
True outreach is bigger than just one campaign, one candidate and one movement.
From Coby Dillard : Posted on VAPolitics.us
Under Absolute Despotism
A few months ago, Pat Mullins directed Mike Thompson to figure out why RPV failed so miserably among minority voters, specifically those in the African American community. As part of his work, Thompson was directed to speak to key leaders in the black community, and to come up with a viable strategy for RPV to successfully reach out and build bridges to black voters.
At some point, Thompson’s work showed up in my email. I took a look at it, wanting to know what the ideas were. Sadly, none of the black Republicans that I knew or had worked with in the previous years had been contacted for their input. Wouldn’t have mattered, if there was a viable plan.
To date, nothing has come of that report, its analysis and suggestions. But something else has happened.
With the emergence of E.W. Jackson as the nominee for LG, a good number of, let’s say, non-minority conservatives have suddenly come up with a strategy for African American outreach; they want to open up offices in the community, walk in neighborhoods, attend events, and have a presence long before Labor Day.
That’s great. That’s how it should be.
But I have to ask: where has this level of excitement been before now? And why was it not extended to other black Republican candidates before Jackson?
Black Republicans across Virginia, as well as those of other minorities, have been asking RPV to come up with a way to engage their communities for years. While unit and district committees have, and continue to do, and excellent job building ethnic coalitions, the only thing coming from the party at the state level has been a reluctance-or outright refusal-to do the same. RPV has also failed to identify potential minority candidates and party leaders, groom them, and give them positions of influence.
Yet these same individuals have been expected to be RPV’s “messengers” to the black community-especially when a unit chair or other leader makes a “mistake” and says something they really shouldn’t. That’s when they get the call to clean up someone’s mess; to explain why that picture of the president as a zombie was an innocent drawing, why the email about all blacks being on welfare was just an innocent joke. They’re pushed out to be surrogates for the candidates, with little preparation and less support.
While Pat Mullins and RPV run to the Jacksons and (Artur) Davises that they can find, the Tates, (Chuck) Smiths, Bouldens, and Scogginses-the stalwart, intelligent, committed Republicans who have been doing this work for years-go unrecognized, unacknowledged, and unappreciated.
When we voice our concerns-as my friends Carl Tate and Terrence Boulden will join me in doing today-we’re labeled as unsupportive. Our loyalty is questioned. People wonder whether we’re really Republicans or merely closet Democrats, because no “real Republican” would be critical of their party.
But, as Jay-Z said, why should we listen to a system that doesn’t listen to us? Why should we play by the rules we’re given, when those rules do nothing to advance or alleviate the concerns of our communities? More importantly, why should we continue to silently tolerate it; to allow the neglect of our community to continue by the political party we call our own?
The answers to those questions are simply. We shouldn’t. We can’t. And, from this point forward, we won’t.
If you’re asking, “why now,” it’s because of what we’ve seen in the weeks since the convention. We’re concerned, not only for ourselves, but for Bishop Jackson as well. We’ve seen what happens to black Republican candidates in Virginia who don’t win their races. While we hope Jackson is successful in his race, we don’t want to see him discarded as soon as Mullins and RPV are done with him, should he not win. Jackson’s ascendancy presents the perfect opportunity for RPV to finally, sincerely, and decisively address its long-standing issues with outreach and inclusion.
If all this “expertise” has been sitting dormant, then there’s a chance for our party to make good on the commitment made by Mullins at a Hampton Roads Tea Party meeting earlier this year: taking the necessary actions to fill a room of Republicans and supporters with people who do not look like him.
I hope we take it.