By Raynard Jackson
When I read the recently released report by The College Republican National Committee (CRNC), titled, “Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation,” I immediately thought of two cartoons: the Flintstones and the Jetsons.
The Flintstones was an animated, prime-time TV show that debuted in 1960. It was a cartoon about a working class family in the Stone Age. The Jetsons was a cartoon that debuted in 1962. The show was about a futuristic family who lived 100 years in the future (2062).
While the Flintstones lived in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons lived in a world of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, and holograms.
What was interesting about both cartoons was that there were no Blacks in either—so, we were not part of the past (Flintstones) and we were not part of the future (Jetsons).
As it was with the Flintstones and the Jetsons, so is it with the College Republicans: no Blacks anywhere to be found. How can you talk about the future of a major party organization and not say a word about the Black community?
According to their website, “the CRNC conducted six focus groups throughout the United States earlier this year with people from many different backgrounds who had previously voted for President Obama and did a poll of 800 registered voters.”
Politico went on to say, “The report is based largely on two national surveys of 800 registered voters each, ages 18-29, and six focus groups of young people, including Hispanics, Asian-Americans, single women, economically struggling men and aspiring entrepreneurs in Ohio, Florida and California who had voted for President Barack Obama — he cleaned up with 60 percent of the youth vote — but were considered “winnable” for the GOP.”
Did they talk to any Blacks in any of those focus groups? Were there any Blacks included in the polls? There is nothing in their report to indicate that they received input from any Blacks. I have yet to hear one mention of the Black community from the people involved in putting this report together.
The CRNC and Kristen Soltis Anderson of the Winston Group (who organized the focus groups and did the polling) have been all over the media high-fiving themselves, but never even mentioned the Black vote.
The largest voting bloc for Obama was the Black community and no one talks to them? Wow!
Last week, I made several calls to Alex Smith, national chair of CRNC, but never got a return call. But, in fairness to her, she was in the middle of final preparations for their national conference this past weekend in D.C. I have no personal connection to her or the organization.
So, I went to the CRNC’s website and noticed that they have no Blacks in leadership, not a Black in any photos on their site, and not one Black speaker during their conference this past weekend.
So, CRNC, let me make sure I understand. You criticize the direction of the national party, but yet you are doing the same thing you have accused the national party of doing—having no diversity, insensitive rhetoric, and no messaging that appeals to those outside the party or your group.
H-e-l-l-o. Can I introduce you to my friend pot calling the kettle black?
Can someone please tell me how the CRNC, in the 21st century, can continue to be a lily-White organization and expect to be relevant?
Did the CRNC really need to spend all this time, energy, and money to state the obvious—that they have the same problem as the Republican National Committee (RNC)?
Reince Priebus, chair of the RNC, seems to be the only one in party leadership that understands what needs to be done and he has actually put his money where his mouth is. He has hired minority staffers, given them budgetary and hiring authority; he is open to new thoughts and ideas; and he is committed to changing the face of the RNC.
The House, Senate, and CRNC leadership should be following the same blueprint that Priebus is using. I am stunned that the CRNC has no Blacks in any photos on their website and none in leadership (they have one Latino).
But, what is more insulting to me, as a Black Republican, is that the CRNC is probably totally oblivious to the fact that they have no Blacks involved in the group; that they have no Blacks speaking during their conference; or that they said nothing about the Black vote in their report.
It is very easy to help a person with a problem when they acknowledge they have a problem; but what do you do when the person is not aware that they have a problem?
So, to the CRNC, we, in the Black community, have already played the role of the Flintstones in the past of your organization; and in your just released report, we are playing the role of the Jetsons, not in your future.
Is this really the role you want the Black community to continue to play in your organization—no past and no future?
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.