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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Do Condi and Colin Make the Republicans a Diverse Party?

I recently received the following comment:

you said "whites hold nearly all positions of power in our nation." . . . perhaps this is true in the democratic party, but it's not in the republican party. Examples that come to mind are, Collin Powell (Secretary of State) Condi Rice (National Security Advisor and Secretary of State), Alberto Gonzalez (Attorney General), Clarence Thomas (Sup Ct justice appointed by republican).

It appears it's the Democratic party which is responsible for "white people holding nearly all positions of power."

Well Tom's right that there are at least four non-whites in the Republican Party. I decided to research the percentages of minorities currently serving in elected office. There are 540 members of the Congress (House + Senate combined) but only 74 of them are minorities. This means that whites make up 86.3% of the House even though whites were only 75.1% of the population in the 2000 census. When you account for the fact that the percentage of whites has certainly decreased since the 2000 census, the property right granted by white skin becomes apparent. Minorities are underrepresented in most professions as well. For example, 90% of attorneys are white.

The senate.gov website reveals some numbers that prove which party is more diverse.

25 Hispanics are in the 108th Congress. 20 are Democrats, 5 are Republicans.

39 African-Americans serve in Congress. All are Democrats. Let me restate that. There are zero elected black Republican officials in the Federal Government.

7 Asians serve in Congress. 7 are Democrats, 0 are Republicans.

3 Native Americans serve in Congress. The Republicans finally have an advantage (albeit with a ludicrously small sample size) 2-1.

Altogether, 68 of the 74 non-whites in Congress are Democrats. 91.8% of the elected minority Congresspeople are Democrats. Tom's claim that the Republicans are the more diverse party is patently false.

But Tom is likely not alone in believing that the GOP really is more diverse. I'll tell you why. Just like a bad sitcom, the GOP knows the power of the token black guy. You bring in one or two blacks and suddenly people get the impression that your party isn't full of racists. All of Tom's examples -- Condi, Colin, Alberto Gonzales and Clarence Thomas -- are tokens. All four of these people are aggressively working to harm their race, but that's not the point. You can always find self-hating members of any group and the Republicans welcome those people. That's why you have the occassional gay Republican.

The Republicans don't have token minorities on board in order to win minority votes. Non-whites are more keen to the abuses of the Republican party and demonstrate that fact in massive numbers at the ballot box. Blacks voted for Kerry 9-1 in 2004; a majority of Asians and Latinos voted for Kerry as well despite Bush's victory. The reason for these token minorities is to make white people feel safer. Most whites abhor overt racism. People won't vote for a party that is openly racist, so the presence of Condi and Colin make moderate whites feel more comfortable voting Republican.

All of this isn't, of course, to say that Condi and Colin aren't perfectly qualified for their positions, despite their political leanings. It's just that the Republicans should have more minorities than the few token ones they do now. Clinton appointed double the minorities that Bush has when you factor in appointments that do not require Senate approval.

Most importantly, the number of non-white males working for your administration has nothing to do with what your policies do for non-white males. The pro-corporation, anti-affirmative action, anti-public schools, pro-tax cut, pro-war agenda of the Republican party aggressively favors the interests of those with entrenched privilege, aka white males, over those without, aka everybody else. The Democrats' overwheming advantage in minority representation in Congress, however, speaks volumes as to which party non-whites prefer.

The numbers for women are equally troubling and also reveal the Democrats' huge advantage in terms of representation.

Comments on ""


Anonymous Michael Miller said ... (6:22 AM) : 

"Do Condi and Colin Make the Republicans a Diverse Party?"

No. They're rich too.

Your points are well made and true, but money is the real differentiator. Demographically, that still means Whites-Mostly and bigots still welcome, representing a 'token' upgrade from Whites-Only.


Anonymous Tom said ... (11:44 PM) : 

You claim the republican party is full of racists. Why do you make that assertion? Because they don't support affirmative action?

And you go further to accuse the "token" minorities in the Bush administration of hating their own race. You don't even consider the possibility that they embrace conservative ideals more than liberal ones. In her own words this is why Condi Rice joined the republican party:

"The first Republican that I knew was my father John Rice. And he is still the Republican that I admire most.
My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.
I want you to know that my father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I."

The story of why Clarence Thomas is conservative is also interesting but I'll leave for you to research.

Furthermore, there are many blatant examples of racist democrats, i.e. Robert Byrd:

"The Democrats' Klan-coddling today is embodied by KKK alumnus Robert Byrd, West Virginia's logorrheic U.S. senator and, having served since January 3, 1959, that body's dean. Thirteen years earlier, Byrd wrote this to the KKK's Imperial Wizard: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia." Byrd led Senate Democrats as late as December 1988. On March 4, 2001, Byrd told Fox News's Tony Snow: "There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time; I'm going to use that word." National Democrats never have arranged a primary challenge against or otherwise pressed this one-time cross-burner to get lost."

Still, I won't make the same mistake you did by erroneously characterizing an entire party as racist.


Blogger Michael Alexander said ... (10:08 AM) : 

First, I don't think the GOP is "full of racists," in the overt sense.

Second, the GOP is racist in the sense of institutionalized racism, which I'll refer to as the systematic oppression of groups based upon their race. The Republican Party undeniably works to help those with wealth and power. Blacks lack wealth and power, therefore any attempt to help those in power is racist. Tax cuts for the rich and massive corporate welfare, combined with huge cuts in social programs and comments by Ronald Reagan of "welfare queens", prove that the Republican Party is a purveyor of institutionalized racism.

Third, regardless of their public statements, something is up with any Black Republican. They may not consciously recognize their own self-hatred of their race, but somewhere deep inside of themselves they don't like something. Many oppressed people start to hate their oppression and instead of taking it out on the oppressors, they blame their fellow oppressees. So Condi probably didn't like the racism she saw and decided that it was easier to blame blacks than to blame whites. Of course, some Black Republicans just might be confused about the issues or really just like conservative thought, but considering the costs of conservatism on Black America, this is a small percentage of an already small group.

Fourth, Robert Byrd is obviously an evil racist. What you neglected to mention, however, is that Byrd is one of the only Dixiecrats who didn't abandon the party after the Civil Rights Act. If you recall from my earlier post, 99% of the Dixiecrats went directly to the GOP. So Byrd is a relic of a bygone era, not representative of "Democrats' Klan-coddling" as you put it. I'm going to wager a guess that KKK members voted overwhelmingly for Bush in the last election.

Finally, why do you think that 90% of blacks vote Democrat? Why do you think that 94% of minority Congresspeople are Democrats? Are these people just wrong, or do they realize something that elitist whites can't comprehend?

I'll continue to characterize the GOP as racist because their pro-corporate, pro-rich policies undeniably harm the poor, the vast majority of which are non-white. Combine this with the racist sentiments of modern Southern Republicans and the party's aggressive anti-affirmative action stance, and the racist nature of the GOP cannot be denied. 90% of Blacks know this and that's why they never vote Republican.


Blogger Snave said ... (7:25 AM) : 

American voters from "minorities" do seem to be generally more intelligent than the rest of us when it comes to casting their ballots.

I like to counter the Robert Byrd argument with names like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and even George W. Bush. The two Senators may have never been dumb enough to be KKK members like Byrd was, but they haven't done much of anything to advance civil rights. Heck, Dubya even spoke at Bob Jones University, and he was kind of proud of it... I don't think the Republican party is actually "racist", but I do think they don't view race relations or civil rights as an issue of importance.


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