FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Blacking Out GOP Racism

by LINN WASHINGTON, Jr.

The news media have failed once again to report a significant story about an example of the racism always so obvious at Republican National Conventions.

That story this time is not about the usual paucity of black delegates participating in the GOP’s quadrennial presidential candidate nominating confab (evident to anyone viewing video of the convention floor) or about Republican leaders lamely decrying Democrats for “falsely” claiming the GOP exploits racial prejudice.

Rather, the story persistently missed by mainstream news media this time concerns the failure of the GOP to include black-owned businesses in the economic opportunities arising from its nominating convention.

This exclusion belies the GOP proclamations that it is a champion of both business opportunity and of even-handedness.

The recently concluded Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay pumped an estimated $153-million into that region’s economy.

However, very few black businesses around Tampa received any revenue from RNC-related expenditures.

The presidents of the Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce and the Sun Coast African American Chamber of Commerce both said economic exclusion ruled at Tampa’s RNC event.

“There was no big tent of inclusion,” said Tampa Bay Black Chamber head Willis Bowick. “The RNC had no real outreach to black businesses here.”

David Venson, president of the Sun Coast African American Chamber of Commerce, said a few blacks businesses received contracts, mainly food service, but it was very minor.

“The RNC provided opportunities to white-owned businesses first. There were very limited opportunities for blacks, and those opportunities were not even made available until the last minute,” Venson said.

Bowick and Venson were interviewed a few hours before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, esponding to a question about charges of racism consistently leveled agaiinst the Republican Party, told CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley that he supported “civil rights and equal opportunity.”

Tampa Black Chamber head Bowick voiced a belief held by many blacks that both the Republican and Democratic parties “take advantage of the African American community…”

The exclusion of black owned Tampa Bay businesses from that recent RNC paralleled the black business exclusion that was evident during the 2008 RNC in Minnesota –- exclusion which was also overlooked by the mainstream media at the time.

Only the black-owned Minnesota Spokesman-Reporter newspaper reported on that 2008 black business exclusion.

“None of that convention money trickled down. We have significant businesses that could have benefited that didn’t,” Spokesman reporter Charles Hallman said in an August 2008 interview about his coverage headlined: “Republican Convention Host Committee overlooks Black businesses.”

When the GOP held its 2000 nominating convention in Philadelphia, which was extravagantly themed around racial inclusiveness, the mainstream media failed to find the festering story about the exclusion of black-owned businesses in the Delaware Valley. Only Philadelphia’s black-owned media reported this economic apartheid.

Months before that August 2000 RNC in Philadelphia, the then vice-chairwoman of the GOP’s minority outreach/recruitment initiative, Faye M. Anderson, resigned publicly from her post, expressing her frustration at that party’s “pattern of racial blunders.”

Anderson, in an August 2000 New York Times commentary, stated it was “past time for the party to move beyond the oratory of inclusion.”

Days before the August 2012 RNC in Tampa Bay, one of that city’s most prominent Republican Party activists, W.J. Robinson, similarly resigned from the GOP, citing his frustration with the GOP’s lack of response to African American issues including the lack of black business inclusion at the RNC.

Robinson, like Anderson in 2000, said his resignation arose largely from his seeing so many instances of GOP officials (locally, across Florida and nationally) putting their feet in their mouths around issues involving race and racism.

“I started getting [snubbed] by the Party for speaking out for black concerns. My thing with the GOP was always getting opportunities for black businesses,” Robinson said. “We tried to help everybody instead of operating on a partisan basis.”

Robinson, who owns an engineering consulting company, said he couldn’t even generate GOP support for publishing a small directory of African American-owned Tampa Bay businesses for distribution at the RNC –- a project that Robinson envisioned as showing that the “Republican Party is concerned with black people.”

Robinson, a GOP activist since 1999, said he witnessed things for blacks increasingly worsen within the GOP during the past few years paralleling the ascendancy of Tea Party influence.

“The new crew changed the landscape,” Robinson said. “There is nothing for black folks in this Tea Party mentality. With the GOP they do not even give us trickle-down crumbs.”

The mainstream media presented dozens of stories from the Tampa RNC concerning on the defection of former black Democratic Congressman Artur Davis to the Republican Party.

Yet there were no Tampa convention-generated mainstream media articles listed in the LexisNexis database about W.J. Robinson’s resignation from the GOP. That high-profile defection made front-page news only in the black-owned Florida Sentinel Bulletin newspaper.

In contrast to the black business exclusion at the Tampa RNC, black businesses apparently are receiving more equitable access to economic opportunities generated by the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Herb White, Editor of the black-owned Charlotte Post newspaper, said, “The Democrats did have a goal to work with people or color, veteran-owned businesses, women-owned business and businesses owned by gays and lesbians.”

White added, “There has been some tangible proof of minorities getting contracts from the DNC.”

A front-page article in the August 30th edition of Canada’s National Post newspaper provided compelling evidence of the unwillingness of mainstream media in North America to present probing coverage on the topic of Republican Party racim.

The central thrust of that article was the quoting of Republican Party leaders bashing the Obama administration, the Democrats and the liberal media for constantly playing the “race card” to make the GOP “seem racist.”

The National Post’s article omitted important context such as referencing the ugly race-baiting resorted to during the Republican presidential primary campaign by candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

When referencing criticisms of “Republican-led” Voter ID laws, the article in the conservative-leaningNational Post blacked-out facts documenting that in-person voter fraud is extraordinarily rare and that such ID laws disproportionately disenfranchise non-whites.

That article also ignored the GOP’s history of assaults on affirmative-action, a governmental and court initiative ironically initiated by Republican President Richard Nixon who wanted to provide economic opportunities to black businesses disadvantaged by decades of America’s legalized segregation.

That National Post article, while quoting GOP leaders like Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor and Republican Party chair, did not quote black Republican critics like Raynard Jackson who’s insightfully examined GOP prejudicial practices this year.

For example, Jackson, in a Washington Post commentary published two days before that Canadian newspaper article, again criticized the lack of top black staff in the Mitt Romney campaign.

Curiously, that August 30th Canadian article did refer to an August 28th Washington Post article criticizing Republican Party racism published on the same day as Jackson’s WP commentary. Jackson’s article clashed with that Canadian article’s slant asserting that the liberal media was maliciously assailing the GOP.

Critiques of Raynard Jackson are similar to 2000 when Faye M. Anderson decried the GOP’s illusion-of-inclusion involving blacks and Hispanics, where that party seeks support from persons of color without supporting issues important of to those groups.

In 2000, Anderson criticized Republican candidate George W. Bush for addressing the NAACP’s convention that year without addressing “issues of concern to the group’s members” -– the same criticism Jackson raised about Romney’s 2012 NAACP convention address.

Jackson, in a July 12th commentary, faulted the mainstream media for downplaying the real “leaders” in the black community: businessmen and businesswomen.

“Black business leaders are the most important entry point to the Black community and Republicans, of all people, are totally ignorant of this fact,” Jackson wrote.

Linn Washington, Jr. is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He lives in Philadelphia. 


COMING IN SEPTEMBER

A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch

Featuring recollections of Alexander Cockburn from Jeffrey St. Clair, Peter Linebaugh, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Mike Whitney, Doug Peacock, Perry Anderson, Becky Grant, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Neumann, Susannah Hecht, P. Sainath, Ben Tripp, Alison Weir, James Ridgeway, JoAnn Wypijewski, John Strausbaugh, Pierre Sprey, Carolyn Cooke, Conn Hallinan, James Wolcott, Laura Flanders, Ken Silverstein, Tariq Ali and many others …

Subscribe to CounterPunch Today to Reserve Your Copy

 

Linn Washington, Jr. is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He lives in Philadelphia.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail