The Black Split With the Republican Party, From Ebony’s Perspective

The previous post analyzed the magazine Ebony during the Civil Rights era. The post utilized the magazine’s archive, which can be found here.

The archive also provides a fascinating picture into the gradual alienation of the black community from the Republican Party. In the early 1960s Republicans were still very competitive with the black vote. Indeed, the April 1962 issue of Ebony has a story titled “What Republicans Must Do to Regain the Negro Vote” in which Ebony interviews a prominent Republican. The interviewee? Richard Nixon!

Mr. Nixon is still visibly reliving his defeat to President John F. Kennedy, when Mr. Kennedy’s phone call in support of the jailed Martin Luther King Jr. swung the black vote Democratic. Mr. Nixon blames himself for losing the black vote; “It was my fault for not selling myself in such a close election.” He also argues strongly against the views of Senator Barry Goldwater, who wishes not to pursue the black vote, stating:

If Goldwater wins the fight, our party will eventually become the first major all-white political party. And that isn’t good. That would be a violation of GOP principles.

What irony!

By 1964, the Republican Party and the black community have visibly moved apart. A March 1964 article is titled “How Republican Leaders View the Negro.” In it, only three of eight prominent Republicans are willing to respond to a questionnaire by Ebony. Mr. Nixon is not amongst them. In February 1967, Ebony writes, “At no time since the Republican Party ended slavery has it been so flagrantly anti-Negro.”

When Mr. Nixon is elected president, Ebony’s mood has hardened even further. It writes, in January 1969, “Outside of the familiar breed of white segregationists and supremacists, few men in American public life have incurred the wrath of blacks as Nixon.” The magazine accuses Mr. Nixon of abandoning blacks during the 1960 presidential election. Interestingly, the magazine is a lot more upset about the 1960 election in 1969 than it actually was during 1960.

By then the rupture with the Republican Party is complete. Ebony’s 1969 article about Richard Nixon could, with different details and names, be written about any Republican politician in 2011. In less than a decade the Republican Party has gone from a legitimate contender of the black vote to the party of white people, in the eyes of the black community. It is a shocking and sad development.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/ 

 

Why Blacks Need A New President

“There was an expectation, particularly among African Americans, that the first African-American president would at least be vocal about feeling their pain,” Blow said last week on MSNBC’s Hardball. “I think that has not been the case. The president has given a couple of speeches and he has been very heavy on the stick and not very heavy with the carrot… Just in the inability for him to commiserate with that group of people, people feel a bit deflated… He said he’s not going to focus separately on African-American issues at all. That let a lot of people down.” - Charles Blow

As we begin the second half of President Obama’s first term I think it is important for black Americans to access what having the first black President has meant in terms of their overall well-being. As someone who has stated and understands that President Obama is not the President of black America but of all America I understand the limits of his influence. My concern though is that with the rising tide of the teabaggers and the constant push back provided by Limbaugh and Beck saying the President is racist against white people this President will actually do less for black Americans than a liberal white President would do. Why? Because a white President would not have to defend his support for black issues as some sort of undercover reparations or be afraid to discuss black issues in public.

It’s funny but having the first black President has been a dual edged sword. On the one hand we have been given the boost to our pride of finally achieving the highest office in the land and that black folks have all the skills necessary to overcome centuries of racism and on the other hand we have a President who can barely use the word black in public for fear of agitating the racist who will be agitated no matter what he says. The thing about those who accuse this President or any successful black man of being racist is that no matter what these men do it will be twisted to fit the real racists scenario. It is similar to what I hear all the time when I discuss publicly the subject of how blacks are undermining their own success through black on black violence, absentee fathers, and the lack of education being a priority in our community. There are those that say that the racists will use this as fuel for their already racists views.

But think about that for a minute. These folks are going to misconstrue any information they find to fit their narrative and by us being afraid to discuss these issues it only hurts our credibility not theirs. So by this President not being willing to stand up publicly and do what other white Presidents have been willing to do (namely discuss the disproportionate effect this economy has had on black folks and seek specific remedies) it sort of makes having a black President a liability, not an asset. This is not to say that the President should specifically seek to develop policies that only benefit blacks, but I think it is important for him to at least acknowledge that there are unique differences and issues that affect black communities and black people.

For me one of the biggest criticisms I hear concerning this President by black people is his inability to articulate or even acknowledge these differences. This may be due in large part to the style of this President who is seen as more detached and rational than empathetic and perceptive. When Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain.” He touched a nerve in the American psyche that could not be reached with cold impersonal data or a logical recitation of the facts. There are times in this country and in a way I suppose every nation that the people want to believe that their leaders understand their personal daily struggles and their uncertainties. I believe that this President has the capacity to do it, but does not have the personality type to do it. I believe that if he tried it would come off as feigned and counterfeit. Somehow this President has to reach out to black folks and let them know that his being the first black President has some real benefit in their daily lives besides this sense of pride. Pride is important and God knows we need all of the positive male role models we can get, but pride only goes so far, it doesn't pay bills or hire people.

At some point we need answers to a criminal justice system that is marginalizing our communities by strapping our young men with felonies in many cases before they are even eligible to vote and sentencing them to a life of poverty. We need answers to an inner city education system that has been allowed to become more impoverished and darker because we have allowed suburban districts to opt out as our cities expanded. We need answers to a shrinking manufacturing base that once created a pathway out of poverty for those who were either unable or unwilling to go to college. We need answers to the redevelopment of our urban neighborhoods that will not just plaster over the decay and condemn these neighborhoods to stay what they are but create new and vibrant neighborhoods that people will want to live in.

The problems we face are huge and no one is expecting this or any President to be able to overcome decades of neglect with some magic wand. However, sometimes it is important to just get an acknowledgment that you are not being taken for granted and someone can identify with your struggles. There is no benefit to having someone in office that looks like you if they are going to ignore you. I understand that this President has given a great deal of access to black folks in the media and has hired a number of blacks to high level positions, but the truth be told I haven’t heard this President use the word black in public since his campaign speech on race. It would be a shame if our first black President were not allowed to speak to the very people who understand him the most for fear of alienating the people who understands him the least.

But unlike previous presidents, Obama doesn’t need to win over the CBC in order to pick up support in the black community. Polls show that 96 percent of black voters view him favorably — a number the CBC members probably can’t match themselves...“I think if you look at the polling, in terms of the attitudes of the African-American community, there’s overwhelming support for what we’ve tried to do,” said Obama. - Politico

The Disputed Truth

Our Best And Our Brightest

    For years many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

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You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be?

     With today's historic inauguration of President Barack Obama as the nation's first black President I wanted to try and put into words what it meant to me as a black man in America. I also wanted to try and put it into an historical content for myself and other black children who grew up during the civil rights era of this country. However, as I began to contemplate the enormity of the event and the history I realized that I was overcome with so many conflicting emotions that I would not be able to present them in any coherent manner and still stay within the constraints of this medium. So I decided to take one aspect and try to focus in on it.

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Is Barack Obama Talking Down To Black Male Voters? (+)

Barack Obama was heckled and accused of not focusing on black issues. Obama appeared in St. Petersburg, Florida and was interrupted when 3 black men stood up, put up a banner that said, "What about the black community, Obama?" and hollered, What about the black community?  

Obama told them they would have time to ask questions after the speech was over, and they did. They asked why he was not focusing on issues like the sub-prime mortgage crisis, Jena Six, Sean Bell and "the numerous attacks that are made against the African-American community." Obama responded twofold: telling the hecklers that he had, in fact, been focused on these issues and explaining that there would never be 100% continuity between his agenda and that of the voters.

"Listen, I was a civil rights lawyer," Obama said. "I passed the first racial profiling legislation in Illinois.

I passed some of the toughest death penalty reform legislation in Illinois.

That doesn't mean I am always going to satisfy the way you want these issues framed... which gives you the option of voting for somebody else, it gives you the option of running for office yourself, those are all options.

Did Barack Obama have say all that? Did he have to say, "which gives you the option of voting for somebody else." 

AAPP: I wonder why Barack went there on the brothers? why did he have to give the riot act on voting to the brothers? Was Jesse Jackson right, but just said it the wrong way? Is Barack having issues with black men, or is it a tight rope he is walking on? Candidly, i don't think he needed to go there on the brothers.

More at: http://tinyurl.com/6m2j27

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Diaries

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