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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fundamental Differences

It seems that the Republican Party's attempt to court Black voters is coming up a bit short - kinda like Rush Limbaugh. While the reasons for Black folk's disdain for the Republican Party are many and sundry - from Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrats who migrated into the Republican Party, to Ronald "I believe in states' rights" Reagan, to George "Willie Horton" Bush, to Trent "All these problems" Lott, to George "Heckuva Job, Brownie" Bush - but these are not the primary reasons why Blacks cannot abide the Republican Party.

There is a fundamental philosophical divide between Republicans and Black folks that is impossible to reconcile with being Black in America. You see, Republicans absolutely will not support groups - they believe in the sanctity and autonomy of the individual - while Black folks are necessarily about the well-being of Black folks, our primary identity group. Republicans try to appeal to the individual when Black folks are concerned about how Black folks are doing, and that's something that the Republican Party couldn't care less about - not that they necessarily dislike or hate Black folk (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding), but they don't generally support any group based on their inherent characteristics. Republicans will support groups based on behavior - hunters, business owners, et al. - but not based upon inherent traits, that's purely the purview of the Democratic Party.

JC Watts admits as much, saying, "I take my hat off to Ken [Mehlman, Chairman of the GOP]; what he has done is unprecedented in the time I’ve been a Republican. However, I remain unconvinced that it is in the DNA of our party to get it done. There are just too many things out there that I think Americans of African descent have concerns about."

The GOP has America as its primary identity group - to Republican thinking nothing should trump one's identification with one's nation-state. A Longhorn may have Texas as his primary identity group but so long as he does not make any demands on all of America to accede to the needs of Texas then all is well and good within the GOP. That paradigm doesn't work when it comes to most Black folk - we make demands on the culture at large to accede to the needs of Black folk, as Black folk have many unpaid claims that must be addressed. And no, reparations in and of themselves will not pay those claims. Black folk who do fit the GOP mold are those who can focus on individual needs without asserting the needs of any particular identity group, Black, Brown, or otherwise. Within the Black community we have a name for people who look out for individual needs without considering the needs of our identity group, for those who put individual needs above the needs of Black folks.

Uncle Tom.

This is why Blacks will not migrate en masse to the Republican Party, short of Black folk giving up on the Black community, but the issue of homosexuality is one issue that could facilitate that migration if the Democratic Party in general and progressive activists in particular insist on equating homosexuality with the historic struggle of Black folk in America. If the Democratic Party will not tolerate and acknowledge a diversity of views on this issue within the Democratic Party then there will indeed be a Chocolate Migration to the Republican Party, sooner or later.

Increasing Black home-ownership and trifling neighbors could also expedite the Chocolate Migration.

I am not looking forward to that day.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:45 AM

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Excellent Blog and excellent post. I just stumbled upon this blog today and I'm glad I did. I look forward to reading and commenting upon further posts.

Posted by Blogger Cocacy @ Tuesday, July 18, 2006 5:58:00 PM #

The premise with this whole post is that black folks talk with one voice. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and more wrong, we have rarely spoken with one voice at one time. It took a few years to get some black folks specifically in the south to even agree about the need for civil rights, let alone the approach. You debate approach, rather than substance, just like most every black person who rises to leadership, who automatically gets and wins the nomination for leadership for black America. But you constantly hear "black folks don't need or want a leader”. But we REST and relax in the daily rhetoric of they are not for us, or there policies work against us. When we are not listening with one hear nor talking with one voice. From my comments you should at least give some consideration that all black folks don't agree. SO stop trying to make the Republican Party tailor made for blacks, because we come in different shapes, COLORS, and sizes. If you were to ask 100 black folks why they were democrats 85 to 90% would say because the Republican Party is for the rich, or big business which translates to white folks. No substance could even be discussed because we are not ISSUE oriented; we are FEELING oriented which makes for emotional discussions with little room left for logic.

Posted by Anonymous nod for knowledge @ Tuesday, July 25, 2006 12:56:00 PM #

No, black people don't speak in one voice...we vote in one voice. 85%-90% is a pretty solid majority no matter how you slice it. Even if you aruge that we are feeling oriented in our political thinking...those are pretty strong feelings and they come from somewhere.

During the go-go 80s many became Wall street rich, while inner-cities choked on crack and neglect. Republicans controlled the White House at that time. Its partially why I don't vote Republican...can I really trust that they will work for me when the chips are down?...No...because Republicans only seem to deal kindly with those who have chips. No chips?...and you get the enforcement of archaic quality of life laws in your neighborhood.

Republicans tout this pull yourself up by the bootstraps philosophy...What if you haven't any straps...even worse..what if you have no boots?

During the Transit strike in December, a strike that adversely afffected millions here in NYC our Republican mayor basically told us to deal with it..take a bike to work...great message to send to the guy who has to work a construction site for 12 hours. This summer during a Con-Ed caused power outage that left many without water and electricity for days he defended the CEO of Con-Ed saying, "he did a hell of job restoring service" Um...are you a mayor of the people or of the corporations they work for?

I don't deal in feeling I deal in fact. And the fact is we elect our politicans to address our needs and concerns. Republicans have not addressed either very well for black people.

I'm saavy enough to know that I cannot blindly support any party or candidate, but when it comes to the party that identifies with my needs, for better or worse, its been the Democrats.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Wednesday, July 26, 2006 11:55:00 AM #

@ nod

The premise of this whole post is that most Black folk - at least 85-90% of us - share a common perspective that is diametrically opposed to the base philosophy of the Republican Party. I'm not debating an approach so much as I am asserting an idea - one that is certainly open for discussion. I don't think that I've tried to make the Republican Party tailor made for Blacks - I've said that there is a fundamental philosophical difference between the Republican Party and most Black folk that could keep many Blacks away from the GOP that might otherwise naturally fit within the confines of the Republican Party. People like me.

Now your juxtapositioning of Blacks' feeling vs. logic would be rather offensive if it didn't so completely and comically contradict your initial assertion. You say:

The premise with this whole post is that black folks talk with one voice. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and more wrong...

before you say:

...we are not ISSUE oriented; we are FEELING oriented which makes for emotional discussions with little room left for logic.

So, do we speak with one voice or do we not speak with one voice?

Or, could it be that the way that we view things (our approach) is fundamentally different from the way Republicans view (i.e. their approach) things? That's the premise of my post. The coup de gras is that Democrats are not ISSUE oriented; Democrats are FEELING oriented which makes for emotional discussions with little room left for logic. Ever hear of the term Bleeding-Heart Liberal? There's a reason why the overwhelming majority of Blacks vote Democratic, and it isn't just Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan and Trent Lott.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Thursday, July 27, 2006 7:42:00 PM #

What the black progressives want is a capitulation by whitefolks in the GOP. They want nothing less than a host of apologies and initiatives that will wash America clean of its racist past. The very idea that blacks have to DEAL, is not part of the program. That's why black conservatives (all us Toms) get no play. Because we presumeably don't need the anti-racist mojo of the Left. And to a certain extent it's true - at least I wouldn't mind claiming this to be true of myself. I'm where Ralph Ellison was. Nobody can make me feel less of a man because of my black skin. Nobody. So I walk without fear of inferiority anywhere. Lily white doesn't bend my psyche. So I don't need apologies, nor do I need the apology extraction industry. I don't need white America to be any better than it is for me to succeed.

From the existential position of a successful, strong black husband & father, this is what it feels like to be a black Republican. When you can honestly say that your fate does not require blackfolks to be any better or whitefolks to be any better, then you are truly a full human being beyond the stupidities and traps of American race. It is at that point when you can walk in and out of any door.

Posted by Blogger Cobb @ Friday, July 28, 2006 11:45:00 AM #
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