by Raynard Jackson
In the immortal words of the cartoon character Popeye the Sailorman, “That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.”
So it is with me. If I hear of another Black Republican who gets hired as a staffer or consultant who tells their employer that they “don’t want to be Black;” I am going to scream.
Let me make this perfectly clear, I will do everything in my power to make sure you never get another job or make any advancement within the Republican Party. I am thoroughly embarrassed with Blacks who harbor these types of feelings.
I am tired of getting calls from members of Congress asking me why a Black would make that type of statement to them. Many Blacks don’t want their employer to call them only when there is an issue that impacts the Black community. I get that and I totally agree.
But, you need not deny your Blackness in order to work in a White world. In January of 2012, I wrote a column titled, “The Optics of Iowa.” Click on the link to read it: http://politic365.com/2012/01/06/iowa-optics-where-did-all-the-black-and-brown-folks-go/.
As shown in my piece on Iowa, being Black in the context of politics is a great asset to be valued, not one that should be hid. From my Iowa piece, “…In many respects, minority operatives are more valuable to a campaign than non-minorities.
Minority operatives, in most cases, are able to work within their respective communities, but also have the added skills of being able to function within the non-minority (White) community also.
Most White operatives have no clue about how to work within various minority communities. So, minority operatives are like having an athlete who can play several positions. If money is tight, the minority operative can bring more skill sets to bear, therefore has more value to bring to a campaign.”
So, by these Black Republicans telling their employer that they don’t want to be typecast as a “Black” fill in the blank, the employer is now hesitant to seek the advice and guidance of this Black staffer on issues affecting their community.
Most Black Republican staffers who work for members of Congress are totally unknown to veteran political operatives like me and others; and they seem to want it that way. To my dismay, most of these staffers have absolutely no idea who paved the way for them to be on the Hill—people like Bill Coleman, Bob Brown, Sam Cornelius or Curtis Crawford, to name a few.
It’s not an either/ proposition; but rather, it is a both/and proposition. You can be a Black Republican and work in a “non-Black” position; but yet make your being Black an asset to your member of Congress. These Black Republicans have an obligation to their bosses to avail their unique perspective on issues impacting the Black community. These staffers should also be aware that their Blackness can and should serve them as an asset that should make them more valuable to their employer.
They also should feel an obligation to know who these Black Republican trailblazers are and to propagate their memory and legacy. They should view it as in their own self-interest to have personal relations with people like me, David Byrd, Aaron Manaigo, Mike Gunning, Shannon Reeves, Tara Wall, Tim Person, Bill Stephney, Sean Moss, Boyd Rutherford, Allegra McCullough, Patricia Ware, Kay James, Tiffany Moore and Alvin Williams to name a few.
As a graduate of Oral Roberts University, I fondly remember Oral always telling me to “go into every man’s world and meet them at the point of their need.” If any of these Black Republicans who are guilty of engaging in this idiotic behavior and want to establish relations with some of the veteran operatives mentioned above, I am prepared to meet you at the point of your need.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.