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Yvonne R. Davis

Yvonne R. Davis

Posted December 31, 2008 | 01:21 PM (EST)

Ken Blackwell, If Barack Obama is a Magic Negro, Then What Type of Negro Do They Think You Are?


As an African American Republican who has been a member of the party for over 13-years, one of the big irritations I have are with other Black Republicans who are apologists for actions and statements made by white leaders in the Republican Party that are clearly racist and exclusionary. It is highly frustrating to see someone like former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell say there is a "hypersensitivity" by the media when it comes to issues of racism and implies the Barack the Magic Negro thing is not that big of a deal. Blackwell's statement comes as he vies for the RNC Chairmanship.

I wish the very accomplished, well respected and articulately spoken Mr. Blackwell would wake up! Chip Saltsman, his competitor also running for the RNC Chairmanship is not a fine person for sending other white colleagues and members of the RNC this CD.

Mr. Blackwell and other African Americans that believe a statement like this is not that important or remain conveniently silent, please allow me to tell you why the word "Negro" is harmful. The word Negro is Spanish for black. The Spanish language comes from Latin, which has its origins in Classical Greek. The word Negro in Greek is derived from the root word necro, meaning dead. I can see how someone racist like Saltsman and others might think it would be magic to see a walking dead man like Barack Obama become elected as President of the United States. If I had to ask Mr. Blackwell a question, I would ask, what type of Negro do you think they might see you as?

I am not a Black Republican who screams racism at everything that has a twist of negativity when it comes to African Americans or people of color. It is true black folks in particular can get a bit too petty sometimes and yes over react. However, in this instance select members of the Republican Party leadership who continue their overt assaults against President Elect Obama is not hyperbole. This song should be insulting to anyone who has any form of civility and respect for others not like themselves.

If the Republican Party is going to ever become serious about attracting and maintaining its people of color, then leaders like Blackwell must stop prancing around this problem inside the party, speak up and condemn these statements and divisive actions once and for all.

Perhaps since President Elect Obama will be sworn in next month, this is a ploy by Blackwell to garner support for chairmanship? The truth is Blackwell or any black running for this post can't have it both ways - on one hand support racist stupidity by being silent or playing it down, and on another hand try to leverage the fact that a Black man going into the White House is an opportunity for a black man to lead the Republican Party.

Maybe Republicans are astute enough to see the value in this strategy. However, in the end, I do not think the white establishment in the party want to or even plan to let go of the reigns. They can't or won't even imagine the "new" face of the RNC as black. That is too much blackness in one year already.

Additionally, another real point about being a National Party Chairman is that you must have the capability of raising tons of money. African Americans like Blackwell and others like former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele wanting the position have not proven they are money machines. As a matter of fact, there has not been any African American Republican candidate of prominence who has demonstrated a capability to consistently raising or has access to millions. However, the other side of the aisle has - Ron Brown when he was DNC Chair did it so well he forced the hand of former President Bill Clinton to make him Commerce Secretary, and of course Billion Dollar Man himself Barack Obama. This is a small diversion to the point of this article, but a point that must be made nonetheless about how white Republicans are also thinking.

Therefore, since there are also other realities to this position, turning a blind eye to racism will not get Blackwell or any person of color closer to becoming elected head of the RNC. To Blackwell and Steele and others who are black and "powerful," and can make a difference, try having just a little bit more General Colin Powell style backbone for a change. It does a mind and soul good.