Folks, it’s official. This particular part of the blog series has been dubbed a “roasting” by me. This part is a bit longer, so get comfortable & fasten your seat belts. I had written this piece & was ready to publish it but after a few re-reads, I realized that what I had originally written was too politically correct & I needed to be true to myself, so I re-wrote it. Actually, I was most eager to answer this question above all others, because even though I perceive the first part regarding white Republicans as a loaded question, it is a legitimate one because the topic needs to be addressed, one way or the other. Some of you may see the two components to this topic as different questions but I don’t, so in order to keep the list at ten, I have combined these two questions regarding white people & their presence in the black community. I have no doubt that there are parts of my answer that some black people & some white Republicans won’t like or agree with but such is life & as is colloquially expressed, “If you can’t stand the heat…” well, you all know the rest. To start, let’s give a little background information on the black vote as it relates to the GOP (Good Ole’ Party aka Republican party), according to Wikipedia:
“Currently, most of the Republican voter base is Caucasian. While historically the party had been supporters of rights for African Americans since the 1860s, it lost its leadership position; the GOP has been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2008). The party has recently nominated African American candidates for senator or governor in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, though none were successful. In the 2010 elections, two African American Republicans were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican Party abolished slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave blacks the vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s. Until the New Deal of the 1930s, blacks supported the GOP by large margins. Most black voters switched to the Democratic Party in the 1930s when the New Deal offered them employment opportunities, and major figures, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, began to support civil rights. They became one of the core components of the New Deal Coalition. In the South, blacks were able to vote in large numbers after 1965, when a bipartisan coalition passed the Voting Rights Act, and ever since have formed a significant portion (20-50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.”
So there we have it. The major shift from the GOP to the Democrat party for most black people came essentially because of entitlements. The Democratic party, led by then president FDR in the 1930’s did all of the things above in addition to the expansion of the public welfare program to include black women, which played a key role in the destruction of the black family & the decline of black marriages. Even today a family won’t receive the maximum benefits if the man is in the household, regardless of race. It’s interesting to me that this Wikipedia article doesn’t go into this reality of the welfare system but, I digress.
Currently, most black people’s perception of the GOP as a racist party has indeed kept the GOP from doing outreach in the black community, or has it? I mean the GOP does a ton of outreach in the white, Hispanic, Asian & Native American & other ethnic communities right? NOT! Black people, I hate to burst your bubble, but the GOP is terrible at outreach in ALL communities – we aren’t uniquely ignored and there is no racism directed towards us. Many of you really should stop believing the trumped up racism charges from the likes of Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Roland Martin, Maxine Waters & others. Use your own mind & investigate for yourself. Don’t rely on the overwhelmingly liberal media to dictate to you, who and what is racist & don’t rely on me or other republicans/conservatives to tell you who is lying about the GOP – take what I share with you and research it for yourself! That is just the cold, harsh reality.
Republicans, white or otherwise, for the most part, absolutely fail at community outreach. I’m inclined to believe the failure of the GOP to do outreach in our communities is actually something that some of you enjoy, as it gives you the excuse needed to charge the party with racism, every opportunity you get. <sarcasm alert> Oh I’m sorry, I meant the WHITE members of the party – I guess the 11% of us non-white Republicans are off the hook because we do a tremendous amount of outreach also. When I saw “white Republicans” in the questions I was thinking to myself, “Do they really think most black Republicans are any better?” So black community, does it really concern you THAT much, that white Republicans are not in your communities doing outreach? Poppycock! (as Dr. McCoy from Star Trek TOS would say-hey, proud trekkie here!) I don’t believe it one bit, I think it’s just another thing to complain about regarding white people or else you would have included all republicans in your question. I just think it is hypocritical of so many of you to charge Republicans with racism over and over again and then reach your hand out for them to do outreach!? Excuse my candor, but what the hell? Some of you have a lot of nerve!
The overwhelming majority of Black people have been voting faithfully at the local and national level for Democratic candidates for years (that’s the thanks the GOP gets for doing small things like….oh I don’t know – freeing the slaves & other things, oh how quickly we forget & how frequently we ignore this in our haste to shout “GOP Racism!”). Now don’t get me wrong, this is your prerogative, people can vote for whomever they want. The interesting thing is that the majority of Americans (nearly 80%) don’t trust the government or politicians. In my opinion, that is definitely the case throughout the black community, as so many of the black people who responded to my survey echoed this in the phrasing of certain questions that did & did not make the list. The irony is, if this is the sentiment throughout black communities, then the mistrust and aversion to the GOP is really misdirected. Why? Because we keep electing Democrats mostly, especially at the local level! Some of you, in your responses to me, have falsely assessed that the problems in our communities can be traced to racist Republicans – it’s complete nonsense! You don’t vote for Republicans! You don’t give them the chance to “corrupt our communities” & express racism in the black community! Give me a break already with the accusations!
The GOP thinks that if they come into our communities to do outreach they will not be received well and will be charged with racism and they are right in my opinion. Many black people act as though they really want to hear from the GOP and they don’t. They just want the opportunity to charge racism & protest their presence in person – again, my opinion. When I asked one of my fellow conservative bloggers John Hawkins why white Republicans don’t do outreach in the black community, this was his response and I concur:
“Simple. They believe they will be called a racist no matter what they say and I think there’s a secondary fear that they simply won’t be listened to because they’re white. The fix for that would be to get black Republicans to do outreach, but Republicans consider that to be “identity politics” and are ideologically opposed to it. It’s a no-win situation. White Republicans don’t do outreach because they think they’d be called racist, but they don’t want to have black Republicans to do it because they think it’s wrong to do race based politics. So, in the end, they just do nothing.”
John is correct. Consider the recent incident with Charlotte Bergmann, a black Republican candidate for U.S. Congress (9th district) from Tennessee. She was an invited guest on the Thaddeus Matthews radio show in Memphis, TN. To say that Matthews, a wannabe “shock jock” who is a black Democrat was disrespectful to her is an extremely, serious understatement. Here is the exchange:
Now black people, if a BLACK Republican, a woman, a mother, can be treated in such a vile, disrespectful, hateful manner by a black Democrat, why on the earth, sun & moon would you think ANY white Republican with half a brain would voluntarily step into our communities for a potential, similar, public, political lynching? I’m gonna leave it at that and move on to the whites in the GOP because I have a few choice words for them too.
Now we all know that nearly 73% of the US population is white according to the 2010 census. Of that number, 63.7% are non-Hispanic whites. 16.3% of the population is Hispanic, and 12.6% is black. US Census data shows that from 1990 to 2000 we had a population which consisted of 75.1% white people, 12.5% Hispanic & 12.3% black. Do I need to spell it out to you white Republicans? The number of minorities is growing and the number of white people is getting smaller – bit by bit. The GOP cannot afford to continue to use the no-win situation described above as an excuse to not do outreach. I asked three of my wise, black Republican friends why they thought outreach was important & here are their responses:
“Out reach is important! But I do understand that one of the main reasons why republicans don’t is because of the cold and even hostile reception. Case in point, Thaddeus Matthews, and how he treated Charlotte Bergman. But yes, there should be a coalition of republicans & conservatives prepared to tour and promote conservative ideas!”
Walter Myers III:
“Simple. If you don’t show up they don’t think you care. They’re not just looking for the values of the party, they’re looking for actions.”
D Adam C (a Moderate actually):
“I don’t think white Republicans really get what it means to outreach to diverse communities. The demographics are changing and the party is only looking at it from a surface level. In order to expand the party and untarnish the brand it means that members have to do some cold, hard, soul searching and start to address issues they would soon rather not discuss.
One can say Democrats have squandered the black vote without really doing much to change people’s economic lives. But being called out for not doing enough or not doing the right things is a heck of a lot better than doing nothing.”
I have researched relentlessly for GOP budgets which included outreach not only in minority communities, but outreach period and let me tell you – it’s almost non-existent. As far as I am concerned, you spend money on the things that are important to you. If the GOP wants to remain relevant and not become obsolete, outreach is a must. Black Republicans, in my opinion, must help lead this charge. In my home city of Atlanta,Georgia, I only know of one group of Republicans who are doing a voter registration drive on college campuses – ONE! and Georgia is one of the most red states there is. Republicans – white & black, start doing outreach or get ready for extinction. Do you really want to be known as a club for wealthy, elitist, white people only, with so few minorities, that it appears as if you have just enough to meet a quota? (Of course there is no actual quota just making a point here.) If so, then keep doing what you’re not doing! Let’s face the initial backlash directly with courage, for the truth is on our side! We have the most viable & fair solutions to many of the ills in black communities so get your white, elitist heads out of the clouds (many of you not all) and do what needs to be done! You have the support of your minority members including me, so wake the hell up!
Moving forward, “Why do white people fear black neighborhoods?” Look, this is a no brainer. My short answer to this question in Part I was “the same reason that black people are afraid of black neighborhoods!” – and that’s the answer. Black on black crime is rampant in many of our communities. In fact from 1976 to 2005 94% of black homicide victims were killed by other black people. Now, it’s important to note that 86% of white homicide victims were in fact, killed by other white people as well. Most homicides are intraracial, regardless of the race. The reality is though,that the rate of homicides for black people is higher. I wish it were not the case, but black people commit homicides seven times higher than the rates for white people. Bear in mind that there are less black people in the country, remember, we are only 12.6% of the population as of 2010. Now some of you are brooding with:
- It’s the white man’s fault.
- It’s the unfair sentencing of the judicial system.
- It’s slavery and racism.
- Some other ridiculous excuse that I’d rather not hear.
None of those things matter, even if they all were true, the alleged judicial system biases are irrelevant to this discussion because we are talking about why white people fear going into black communities, so personally, I don’t want to hear those excuses. Furthermore, if white people were the cause of all of this, why are we killing each other? It’s reminds me of the stupidity in the 1990’s after the Rodney King verdict – we rioted & tore up our own community! How does that punish anyone but ourselves, if we are so upset with the white man? How does attacking & brutally beating up a random white person in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting serve any purpose? If I didn’t know so very many sane & rational black people like me, who don’t like this foolishness either, I’d think we were animals by some of the behavior I have seen in our communities.
No, I don’t want to hear “they do it too” because the question is asking about the perceptions by a specific group of people towards another. For the record, I think that the perpetrators of homicides in the white community whose victims are white, are animals too. Now since only 6% of homicides with black offenders involved persons of different races, statistically speaking, white people should not be afraid of black neighborhoods. Instead they should fear their own neighborhoods more, but those statistics are one thing, real life perceptions are another. Add in the amount of media coverage for crime involving black people – especially black men, then add in the disproportionate rates of violent crime. Of course in both communities, I don’t know what percentage of those homicides were justifiable homicides, as in self-defense scenarios, or accidental ones. So yes, if I was white, seeing and hearing the reports and reading the statistics I might be afraid to enter a black community since we are leading the way in violent crime statistics. However, I’d also have the common sense to know that not all black people commit crimes, much less violent ones. People are generally more comfortable around others that look like them and this is applicable to all races. It’s not up to me or any other black person to tell them that their fear is not justified at all, in light of statistics like those.
I will ask white people to keep in mind that not all black people want to snatch your purse, kill or rape you – one of the statistics that is higher for white people are homicides involving sex crimes. Black people commit the fewest of those, but we commit the most drug related homicides (refer to DOJ link earlier). I will also say to white people that there are plenty of law-abiding black citizens who hate the crime in their communities just as you do and many are working hard to eliminate it and speaking out more & more. We are elated when a criminal is taken off of our streets and we are angered when they are not apprehended. We have active neighborhood watch groups in many of our communities and we want our children to be able to play outside and walk down the street safely, just as you do. Many of us love the second amendment and if you break into our homes, or come onto our properties with ill intent towards our families, you will get some hot steel coming your way, no matter what race you are. Please believe it.
The last point I want to make on this topic is that the number of mixed communities in America is growing. In fact, more than half of white, black & Hispanic people said they prefer to live in a racially, heterogeneous neighborhood and many actually do right now. Of course there is still voluntary segregation, but that is changing slowly. One of these days, we won’t speak of communities as separate racial entities because we’ll all live together – that’s what MLK, Jr wanted, let us not forget! I have to be honest and say that my only personal preferences would be to live near those of the same religious faith and value system which I subscribe to. The bottom line is this though, if you leave my family and I alone and respect my property, privacy and don’t violate any general rules of courtesy & decency, you can live next to me. I don’t care what race you are if you do those things – you’re alright with me. I will do the same for you. Black people, let’s stop worrying so much about white fear of our homogeneous neighborhoods and deal with the probable source of such fear – high crime. If you are honest with yourselves, you know, you have some of the same fears. If I have to walk down my street at night, I’m not looking over my shoulder for a white man or woman, that’s just the truth. Let’s do this for ourselves. What good is it, to concern ourselves with how others perceive our communities if we live in fear constantly, of one another.
Finally, I know the personal attacks are coming. I can feel it in the “cyberair”. I’ll save some of you the trouble of launching such attacks by launching the attack myself, on myself. Some of you will call me a sellout, Uncle Tom, House negro (or the pejorative n****r), disgrace to my race, uppity, ignorant, a “female dog”, wannabe white person. You’ll say I’m trying to garner favor with black people, some white Republicans might even say I’m trying to garner favor with black people or Democrats (as if!) or that I have offended them or brought shame to my political party. Some will rush to tell me of their personal experiences in outreach or any experience that “disproves” something I have said, as if all of America is represented by your experiences in life or where you live. I know of outreach efforts in the Hispanic community by some republicans but those are fairly recent and a drop in the bucket of GOP outreach to minorities. Besides that, the question was specifically about the black community. I’m pretty sure that I have left some potential ad hominems off and someone is bound to get creative with one but this is my opinion & I stand by it. I have made that crystal clear. It’s not Kira Davis’ opinion or any contributor to this site except me. Kira is just kind enough to let me share my thoughts here because she thinks I’m a good writer, and I thank her for this space. I don’t represent all black people nor all white republicans or all republicans period. I am Talitha K. McEachin, these thoughts and opinions are my own and I can only be me. Next time:
Part III Question I (to be clear these are only Questions II in the overall series, “The Top 10 Things Black & White people want to know about One another, but won’t ask”)
From white people:
Why is it okay for black people to use the “N” word , and wrong when a white person uses it?
Short Answer: It’s not okay when white or black people use it! It is also a double standard since black people use pejoratives for white people as well.
From black people:
Why do white people dismiss slavery as if it never happened? Why don’t white people want to pay the reparations they owe black people for slavery?
Short answer: While I don’t think that most white people completely dismiss it, I think they are sick of hearing it used an an excuse for failures and being blamed for it when they, like today’s blacks, are so far removed for it. They don’t want to pay reparations because they are not responsible for something an ancestor did hundreds of years ago. Then there are many others who whose early ancestors did not immigrate to America until after slavery.
*If you’ve missed the previous parts of this series, it’s okay! get caught up here*:
(For other blogs before this series, just click my name under the title of any blog & a complete listing will appear in chronological, descending order)