Memo to Republicans: I Was Kanye, Before Kanye
By Raynard Jackson, (NNPA Newswire Columnist)
Why do Republicans continue to be obsessed with shiny new objects when it comes to the Black community as opposed to being willing to keep their eyes on the prize with the “hard” work of coalition building?
I have had enough of the Kanye West-Donald Trump “bromance.” KANYE WEST IS NOT A REPUBLICAN NOR IS HE A CONSERVATIVE!
In my almost twenty years of being a columnist, I have said ad nauseum what Kanye has said, but my words seem to fall on deaf ears; whereas Kanye’s words are celebrated like he’s the second coming of Christ.
I have written columns, made speeches, appeared on TV all over the world, and discussed how Blacks are not monolithic in their political views; that Blacks are open to the Republican Party and the conservative message; and that Blacks are not opposed to Trump’s policies, just his drama.
I have criticized Obama vociferously over his neglect of the Black community during his eight years in the White House, especially in regard to the murder rate in his hometown of Chicago.
The Republican Party reminds me of the child who can’t wait to get his new toys every Christmas, only to find them boring and unattractive within a week, because he is now looking for a new, shiny toy to keep his attention. This is repeated every year.
Every year the party unofficially designates someone as their flavor of the month. People like former party chairman, Michael Steele (before he became the powerhouse that he now is), former congressman J.C. Watts, conservative pundit Armstrong Williams, and Starr Parker.
Unlike the more recent flavors of the month, at least those listed above, one could argue, have some connections with the Black community. I don’t mean in terms of them all being Black, but in terms of their ability to stand before the Black community with some modicum of gravitas and credibility.
The more recent flavors of the month have been people like actress Stacey Dash, faux entertainers Diamond and Silk; the latest is Candace Owens.
What do all these flavors have in common? They all appeal to an overwhelmingly White audience. None of them have any standing in the Black community, nor would they be able to fill a room with Blacks. This does not mean they are not good people; they simply do not have any appeal in the Black community, especially in moving Blacks into the Republican Party or conservative movement.
As a matter of fact, most Blacks are repulsed that the Republican Party would even think to try to push people like Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk onto our community.
Stacey Dash is a walking gaffe machine. She has talked about the need to get rid of Black media like BET and awards like the NAACP’s Image Awards, because of their emphasis on the Black community. She advocated for the elimination of these platforms, even though she has made millions of dollars in movies with all-Black casts (“Mo’ Money”) and she has appeared on several TV shows on BET.
While white folks are entertained by Diamond and Silk, most Blacks don’t find them very funny at all. They are viewed as modern day minstrel shows. Their audiences are predominately
white and they have absolutely no standing in the Black community.
Candace Owens recently blew up, because she received a tweet of support from Kanye West and met with him, recently. Again, she has no standing in the Black community and appeals to a mostly, white audience.
Note to Republicans: If the goal is to appeal to the White community, then continue doing what you are doing; but, if the goal is to move the needle in the Black community towards the party, this is all a waste of time.
Unlike Republican leadership in Washington, Blacks are not attracted to these shiny, bright objects you are placing under our Christmas trees.
If the Republican Party was serious about the Black vote, they would highlight real estate entrepreneur from New Jersey, John Campbell, Jr. Not only is he very successful; he also has a national network of Blacks that he has a great deal of standing with, who will listen to his arguments about conservatism. He, indeed, can help move the needle.
You also have former Florida Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll, a twenty-year Navy veteran, former elected official, Black woman entrepreneur from Trinidad. She is a dynamic speaker, with a very compelling personal narrative.
My point is, the party has shown how lazy they tend to be when it comes to the Black community. They need to stop it with all the bright, shiny objects and focus on building relationships with and through those who have real influence within the Black community.
After all, politics is all about relationships.