Probably, like most of you, I’ve been watching the republican primaries with the peripheral interest of a circus sideshow. As Gingrich, Santorum and Romney duke it out, I’ve heard such alienating phrases as, “I want African American people to demand paychecks, not food stamps,” (Gingrich), ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” (Santorum), and Romney’s flub about not caring about the unemployed–never mind that blacks make up 12 percent of that group. And to put icing on the cake, a recent report indicated that 29 percent of republicans from the Deep South think interracial marriage should be illegal, and it appears none of the presidential hopefuls have chosen to disabuse them of this notion. Surprise, surprise.
All this pandering to the extreme right wing of the party has backfired because the ignorant comments, Freudian slips, and allusions to swipe at women’s hard-won reproductive rights impacts not only blacks, but other minorities and white soccer moms. Rick Santorum’s recent comments about how Puerto Ricans should speak better English is just another on a long list of buffoonish remarks aimed at minorities. Santorum single-handedly managed to offend both Hispanics and black people part of the African diaspora.
But it looks like republicans don’t too much like it when “off color” remarks are thrown in the other direction. At a recent fundraiser for President Obama, Robert DeNiro joked about America not being “ready for a white First Lady.” Newt Gingrinch was outraged, OUTRAGED!! He said DeNiro’s comments were inexcusable, and wanted the president to apologize for DeNiro; I guess because an apology from the mega-star wasn’t sufficient for Mr. Gingrinch.
Republicans have essentially given up trying to win “the black vote,” so there seems to be little self-editing happening. Lenny McAllister, senior contributor at Politic365.com and radio host of “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” (www.LMGILIVE.com), and frequent guest on CNN, says that the recent antics in the republican party aree less about alienation, and more about a failure to connect. “There hasn’t been a concerted effort to reach minorities [in the republican party] for 40 years.”
McAllister, who is a member of the group, Hip Hop Republicans, worries that this continued failure to connect will prevent republicans from leading a more diverse America, and the country continues to “brown.”
But there’s good news for Obama fans: Although McAllister thinks the president should get a “C-” for his first term, he still predicts a narrow win against Mitt Romney, whom he believes will be the single man standing after the republican primary. Who do you think will win the republican primary?
Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” (to be released May 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.
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