March 17, 2011
Once again Black Democrats have been dissed by the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives; and once again there was absolutely no price to pay.
When will Blacks finally, in the immortal words of civil rights pioneer, Fannie Lou Hamer, get “sick and tired of being sick and tired?” Democrats continue to treat Blacks like second class citizens because no one fears any retaliation or any consequence for how they treat Blacks.
Even the first Black president of the U.S., Barack Obama, has learned that lesson early on. Mind you, it took him almost a year and a half before he finally met with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). But yet in his first year, he met with Latinos (about amnesty for illegals), gays (about recognizing gay marriage, etc.).
Obama, like Congressman Steve Israel, knows that Blacks will only complain about being mistreated for a day or so and then accept the most meager of apologies in order to move beyond whatever slight.
This leads me to what Israel said in a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus last week.
Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC--he is responsible for getting Democratic House members reelected or elected). Israel attended the CBC’s weekly luncheon last week and was quoted by members in attendance as having said, “Can we win the House without the CBC? Yes. Do we want to win the House without the CBC? No.” Israel all but admitted that the quote is accurate.
As usual, the CBC got all worked up and huffed and puffed until Israel agreed to meet with them again the following day to work through their hurt feelings.
So, what was the result of the follow up meeting? Drum roll please----Israel and CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D—MO) issued a joint statement saying their meeting was “constructive” and announced that Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC) would chair a new Member Advisory Board at the DCCC.
This is the same highly respected Clyburn who was forced out of leadership after the Democrats lost the elections in November—and the CBC stood by and watched him be pushed out of his leadership position (see my column from last November regarding this issue).
So, how many times will members of the CBC allow their party leaders to shame and embarrass them before they take a principled stand that has measureable consequences?
Blacks are the most loyal voting block in the Democratic Party, but they have yet to get anything approaching a sufficient return on their investment for their loyalty. This has little to do with race and more to do with raw political power.
If Blacks are going to continue to blindly give their loyalty to the Democrats and not demand anything in return—why would the party give them anything?
Too often Blacks get angry when they should be getting even. I challenge my readers to name one specific thing Obama or the Democrats have done that was uniquely to the benefit of Blacks? I can name a whole list of things geared towards the gay, Latino, Jewish, union communities, etc.
In a rare moment of candor and honesty, Israel said publically what everyone has been saying privately for many years—the Black community never demands anything for their vote; they just want to be made to feel good with symbolic gestures.
They want things like, visiting their churches or singing “We Shall Overcome,” or taking a picture with them.
In many ways, being a Black Democrat is like being a Black Republican—it’s kind of like peeing on yourself in a dark blue suit; it gives you a warm feeling, but no one ever notices!
I don’t have a problem with what Israel said to the CBC. He was speaking the truth. Furthermore, if the CBC is so upset about what he said, then what are they prepared to do about it other than agree to be part of a meaningless advisory board?
Israel was not being insensitive or racist with his comments. What Israel said is real.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).