GOP Chairman Michael Steele Says White Republicans Are Afraid of Him


The problem of racism on the right has received increased examination since the election of Barack Obama. Sometimes it is best to just listen to what Republicans have to say. Republicans tried to respond to the election of Barack Obama by choosing the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee. On Sunday Michael Steele said that white Republicans are afraid of him. This is from an interview on TVOne’s Washington Watch:

MARTIN: But your candidates got to talk to them. One of the criticisms I’ve always had is Republicans — white Republicans — have been scared of black folks.

STEELE: You’re absolutely right. I mean I’ve been in the room and they’ve been scared of me. I’m like, “I’m on your side” and so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you, you know, [say] “I’ll listen.” And they’re like “Well.” Let me tell you. You saw in Christie and you saw in McDonnell a door open because they went in and engaged. McDonnell was very deliberate about spending…

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  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    This is a very significant admission by Steele.
    One of the cornerstone arguments of black conservatives, say Larry Elder or Alan Keyes, is that racism no longer exists and energy spent on combatting racism is therefore energy wasted. It has also recently become popular on the grassroots conservative blogosphere (a phenomenon that appears to have been roughly concurrent with the rise of ‘Tammy Bruce feminism’ and its claims of liberal misogyny) to cast the Democratic Party as ‘racist’ and Republicans as ‘egalitarian.’
    As Republican women and black Republicans start to talk about the real situation in the Republican Party and the real attitudes of white male conservatives, hopefully some of this garbage will be choked off.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “It has also recently become popular on the grassroots conservative blogosphere … to cast the Democratic Party as ‘racist’ and Republicans as ‘egalitarian.’”

    It is popular for them to say, but such claims are only believed in the right wing echo chamber and are no more related to reality than the many other ways in which they typically misrepresent conservative vs. liberal beliefs.

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I never claimed to believe it. In fact, I specifically don’t.
    However, dissent within the echo chamber is always a good thing.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I wasn’t saying I thought you believed it–just that saying this is part of a trend of the right wingers mischaracterizing the views of Democrats and of making claims to favorable attributes for Republicans which are untrue.

  5. 5
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    @Electic- A number of days ago you made an intriging comment that I didn’t want to give a quick two minute thought and answer. I don’t want to generalize here and say, conservatives think this or that, but I personally don’t think one has to say racism is a thing of the past to be against things such as affirmative action.  I believe our society has made significant progress in race relations but it is incomplete.  Laws that penalize racism in things such as employment hiring are not obsolete and still needed.  I have a huge problem with some methods by government to attempt to “fix” these issues. Hate crime laws, I can’t stand them.  If you want to make penalties higher on crimes that is one thing but to try to penalize one person more than another for a similar crime is patently unjust.  If a kid scratches a smiley face in one of my cars and another kid scratches a swastika in my other car, to me that is the same crime.  Go ahead and up the penalty but vandalism is vandalism, I don’t accept the idea that a symbol that we can legally display in jewelry or tatoos in this country suddenly causes more victims when it is scratched in my car than any other damage done by a vandal. Same thing can be said about violent crimes. You want a stiffer penalty on a rapist that vents rage on one particular race than on one that is an equal opportunity rapist?  This is getting long, I’ll break the post here.

  6. 6
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    How does anything like affirmative action help right the wrongs of the past?  If a crooked umpire rigged a sporting event so one team won all the time, how do you correct that? Do you rig it the other way to guarentee future wins by the other team to make up for it or do you get a new umpire to start calling things correctly?    As I’ve already stated, I don’t think bias and racism has been eliminated.  But if someone shows racism in hiring these days, sue them, take them to court and make them pay.  Compelling any hiring based on any type of racial criteria only perpetuates racism.  Imagine some company that has had a documented history of discrimination in hiring, if a judge compells them to hire persons of a certain race, how is someone’s race determined?  Is there a DNA test that could prove if someone qualifys for a particular race?  I’d love to find a place that needed a certain “race” like Hispanic or Black and I’d claim to be that race even though the majority of people would likely categorize me as white.  Have someone try to prove I wasn’t what I claim to be, I could produce evidence I have a little bit of just about everything in me.

  7. 7
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    One more thing regarding alledge racism in immigration law, I don’t know immigration law well enough to dispute your claim. I’ll defer to your knowledge an take your word that there is racism still built into the law that should be corrected.  But that being said, we have a real problem with border security, particularly here in Texas near Laredo.  Is it criminal to want to stop the flow of people illegally crossing the border when a certain percentage of those people are violent criminals?  I was against the stimulus package, but if the government wants to hire a bunch of unemployed, I’d vote for them hiring a ton of border guards to better protect our citizens from the lawlessness that goes on in pockets of Mexico.

  8. 8
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I actually agree with you about hate crime laws, Mike. People should not be criminally liable for what they think or feel but for what they do.
    That said, I understand the basis for federal hate crimes law. The original hate crimes legislation served a real purpose in that it allowed the Federal government to fully and properly prosecute crimes that local jurisdictions might not prosecute. This was once a major problem  in some parts of the South and has not totally gone away. The reason for the desire for new Federal hate crimes legislation regarding violent crime against gay victims is similar, there is a concern that some jurisdictions are not properly prosecuting violent crime motived by anti-gay prejudice.
    I don’t like hate crimes laws and I am aware of the slippery slope issues, but there is a real concern they are designed to satisfy. It’s not a cut and dried situation.
    Affirmative action is very similar. It is not cut and dried. When slavery was originaly abolished, military commanders of Union armies in the South issued restitution orders: the slaves were to be given land or cash. The Federal government, afraid to offend conservatives who saw this as ‘redistribution of wealth’ rescinded these orders. This meant that the freed slaves were never given economic restitution to start their new free lives on a solid footing. This has had major socio-economic consequences ever since. Many of today’s indirect racial inequities are less closely tied to active racism than to the failure of the government to give proper economic assistance to the freed slaves. This is not to dismiss real racism, it is make clear the importance of the economic component of history in today’s racial demographics.
    The purpose of affirmative action programs is not to ‘undo’ the damage of the past in the sense of bigotry and prejudice. It is to help build the economic foundation that will end some of the indirect racial inequities resulting from socio-economic factors. I was against affirmative action until I completely understood the full historical, social, and economic picture of today’s racial questions. One has to do something, and affirmative action is actually the method by which something can be done with the least degree of direct government intervention.
    As for immigration…
    I’ve written on this issue at length. I don’t want to recap everything I’ve written on the topic here, but I don’t want to respond improperly either.
    To put it as succinctly as possible, the ‘problem with border security’ to which you refer is an artificial crisis. I come from California, where we’ve been talking about illegal immigration for longer than the rest of the country’s paid attention to it.  It’s not a problem, it’s a symptom. It’s a symptom of racially motivated changes to American immigration law, economic problems in Mexico that we can never solve from the US side of the border, and corporate desire to circumvent American labor laws.
    If you believe there is a ‘border security problem’ then you need to understand the way to solve it is to change American immigration laws and/or enforce the laws against using illegal labor. Easy legal immigration and the enjoyment of full work rights would eliminate incentives for corporations to use illegal labor, while stouter enforcement for the laws against using illegal labor would attack the real criminals involved in the process… the people who would rather pay someone fifty cents a day under the table than pay a legal worker minimum wage or better.
    Ending the drug war would also help the problem somewhat, as drug-related violence in Mexico is a strong motivation for many illegal immigrants to seek to get to the US and away from Mexico.
    ‘Border security’ has almost nothing to do with the problem. Indeed, the border security ‘problem’ only exists because of the combination of factors I described.
    I will not go into much depth about the violently racist nature of some of the nativist propaganda you are citing, except to say this: there is a very wicked irony indeed in potentially violent vigilantes with no oversight and questionable motives patrolling the border because of their fears of ‘violent crime.’
    I note I am not accusing you of being racist, I am noting that much of the information you are citing is from racist/nativist sources.

  9. 9
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    You make a number of good points. Especially the point of agreeing with me 🙂 on at least one issue.  Although it is a fact that Laredo Texas has a murder rate double the national average, by comparison Detriot has 5 times the national average, so if border guards were the answer to that problem we probably need the guards more on the Canadian border. Ok, you shot down my border argument pretty well and upon reflection, I remember someone saying if you were to build a 100 foot wall, someone is just going to build a 101 foot ladder to get over it.  I’d like to go more in depth on the historical indirect racial inequites, perhaps this week-end but don’t want to test the patience of our host Mr. Chusid on the subject so I might continue with comments on your blog page.  Besides, I’m pretty busy right now organizing  Michigan border minutemen to protect Ron from all those kill crazed Canadian illegals streaming across into Michigan.

  10. 10
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘Although it is a fact that Laredo Texas has a murder rate double the national average, by comparison Detriot has 5 times the national average, so if border guards were the answer to that problem we probably need the guards more on the Canadian border.’
    In the case of both Laredo, Texas and Detroit, Michigan there are factors that have nothing to do with immigration. Texas and Michigan, as a whole, both have significant issues with poverty and unemployment that have the collateral effect of raising crime rates across the board. Higher than average crime rates, especially when connected to gangs and/or drugs, lead to higher than average murder rates. It’s all basic mathematics.
    I’m always happy to get into it on my own blog, so feel free.

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