If Black Republicans ever want to be taken seriously by the Black community, they have to stop accepting the silly ultimatum being offered by the Republican Party. Some in the party think Blacks have to choose between their community and the GOP. The proper thing to do is to be both Black and Republican. This isn’t an ‘either-or’ scenario; Black Republicans must represent their community and the GOP at the same time.
Some Black Republicans that appear on television must be so starved for money that they are willing to sell their souls for 30 pieces of silver. You can always make more money, but you can’t make more integrity.
Republicans obsessive love affair with hiring Black Democrats continues to come back to bite them in the butt. Back in February, ordained minister and reality TV villain Omarosa Manigault appeared on a segment on Fox News to bolster support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The former Clinton aide spent more time name-calling and obsessing over another guest’s cleavage than giving strong reasons why the Black community should vote for Trump.
Omarosa should have been barred from anything to do with the Trump campaign after this embarrassing interview. How can Blacks take this campaign seriously with surrogates like this?
Some will accuse me of taking one bad interview and going off the deep end. Oh really? Check out Roland Martin’s interview with Ashley Bell, a newly hired Black staffer at the RNC. The train wreck starts at 10:10. I cringed while watching this interview. This is what happens when you hire inexperienced people who make you feel comfortable, versus someone who is a bonified professional.
Need more proof? Okay. My good friend, former Congressman Jack Kingston from Georgia is also a Trump surrogate. Kingston is White. This interview is bordering on insanity and racism. I know Jack very well and he is neither, but when you speak of things which you have no knowledge of, like the Black community, this is what you get.
I have provided media training to some of the biggest names in business, politics, entertainment, and sports and have offered to do the same for the Republican Party, but of course, to no avail.
Some racially-tinged jokes and campaign antics that are funny to White folks are simply not funny to Blacks, and Diamond and Silk are prime examples. Diamond and Silk are two Black women, who are Internet sensations from North Carolina. They also support Trump. So, in usual Republican fashion, they have become “the flavor of the month.” They are Democrats and are now being flown across the country and being paid to “entertain” mostly White audiences.
Memo to White folks: “Blacks don’t think this is funny.” Diamond and Silk give us flashbacks of the minstrel shows of old.
Most Black Republicans complain in private, but don’t have the guts to complain publicly. These are the Blacks that this party hires and promotes. You can’t complain about your opponent’s behavior and remain silent when one of your own behaves in a similar manner.
The only Black involved in the election cycle with any professionalism and credibility is Katrina Pierson, Trumps national spokesperson. The rest do not even meet the minimum requirement to be in the role they occupy. They provide nothing more than race insurance for the party (“We hired a few Blacks, therefore we can’t be racist.”).
None of them possess any institutional memory or knowledge of the Republican Party. None of these Blacks would be deemed qualified for similar positions in the private sector.
But these Blacks are simply a reflection of the organizations that hire them. The Republican Party has shown absolutely no interest in engaging with the Black community. As a matter of fact, I find it quite offensive that Trump would give remarkably strong speeches laying out a rationale for Blacks to vote for him, but doesn’t think enough of Blacks to show up in our community.
What Trump is doing is equivalent to a male going before a group of all males to deliver a speech about women’s issues. But Black Republicans are so politically bruised and battered that they are simply thrilled that Trump invokes the Black community’s name, regardless of the offensive manner in which it is done.
As long as the party continues to hire Blacks who think we “need” groups like the NAACP or the National Urban League to validate our existence as Black Republicans, we will continue to lose the Black vote.
Republican candidates and leaders need not speak before these groups to “prove” that they are not racist. They simply need to speak before Black Republican groups to prove that we are valued and a welcomed member of the party.
The bar has been set so low relative to engagement with the Black community that far too often Black Republicans heap praise on Republicans simply for “showing up” or “mentioning us as a group by name.” I find this bigotry of low expectations thoroughly repulsive and it is the fault of Black Republicans for accepting this treatment.
As I am fond of saying, “the best way to get attention in the Republican Party as a Black is to be a Black Democrat.”
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.