Sojourner's Place

eeny meeny miny mo: steele or blackwell?  

Posted by SjP in ,

Eeny meeny miny mo. Catch a tiger by his toe. If he hollers let him go. Eeny meeny miny mo. My mother told me to pick the very best one and that one is not you.

I'm sure that you all remember this little ditty used by children of all ages to determine who would be in or out in some school yard game. When I was in about the 3rd grade I learned, however, that my white classmates learned a very different variation to this little ditty. There I was reciting along, but as I said "tiger" they said something entirely different. Stopped me dead in my tracks as I wondered why their parents did not teach them the correct way to say this rhyme and just what did it mean to catch a "nigger" by the toe. Oh well, I said to myself and was realized at that moment that it was not my classmates who didn't want me to come to the birthday party but their parents. A pretty hard pill to swallow for 9 year old who attended a "Christian" elementary school.

When I read an article today entitled,African Americans Vie to Lead Republicans, I immediately remembered this incident from my youth. As the Republicans finalize plans to determine who will be the new "face" of their party next weekend, I wonder if they will opt to catch a "tiger" or "nigger" by the toe as they make their final decision. To say the least, it will be very interesting to see how Michael Steele and Kenneth Blackwell fare in the selection process. The "who" they select, whether it be Steele, Blackwell, or someone else, is far less important than the "why" they selected the "who". Unless and until the RNC is willing to recognize and resolve to the fact that this Country is comprised of those who are poor, those who are infirmed, and those who are well beyond middle-age, and those who do not share their experiences or frames of references it will matter not who is placed at their helm. In addition, and regardless of who is at their helm, if the RNC wishes to be more inclusive they will have to come up with much more of a committed and dedicated strategy that simply adding a bit of color to their team. One only needs to look at the Illinois Senate race in which Alan Keyes was beaten badly by the current President of the United States.

Frankly, I would be hard pressed to consider anything coming from the RNC if either Steele or Blackwell were selected. The billboards erected by National Black Republican Association during the Democratic National Convention as well as the literature distributed proclaiming Martin Luther King, Jr. to have been a Republican for me is testimony that the RNC just doesn't get it. And what is even worse is that the NBRA doesn't get it either. I am assuming that both Steele and Blackwell are members of the Association, but even if they are not they are surely recognized leaders of the party in some capacity and as such should have spoken against such a tactic to garner the support of African-Americans. In addition, I have never heard either of them provide a cogent argument or evidence that the Republican Party is interested in anything other than my vote.

But, I suspect that the RNC is not willing to take the "leap of faith" that would be required of them by choosing either one. After all, the Black voices of the RNC were relegated to non-primetime slots during their convention last summer. What better time to show inclusion than at that time, but instead they opted not to do so. I just don't see the Joe the Plumbers and the Hockey Moms allowing an African American to formulate their agenda. But, if they do, I hope that the African American selected refuses to merely play the role. As Hattie McDaniel said "it is better to play a maid [in the movies] than to be one [in real life]".

So, we'll learn next weekend who the RNC will select as their new leader. I just have a feeling that after after a real and in depth investigation of who would best server the Party that Steele nor Blackwell will emerge the victor. Just have a feeling that they, too, will remember the rhyme taught to them by their parents:
Eeny meeny miny mo. Catch a nigger by his toe. If he hollers let him go. Eeny meeny miny mo. My mother told me to pick the very best one and that one is not you.

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is considered a leading candidate to chair the RNC. Steele has repeatedly argued to his fellow Republicans that the party should expand its base to include more people of color. In 2002, Steele became the first African American to win statewide office in Maryland. Four years later, he lost a bid for the U.S. Senate to Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat. Steele currently heads GOPAC, a political action committee that recruits and grooms Republicans for political office.

The other African American hoping to lead the Republican Party is Kenneth Blackwell, the former secretary of state of Ohio. A staunch conservative who believes that the party should stand its ground whether Blacks are attracted to it or not, Blackwell is vice chair of the RNC's platform committee and was the party's 2006 nominee for governor in Ohio.

Obliged to you for hearing me,
and now old SjP ain't got nothin' more to say...
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This entry was posted at Sunday, January 25, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

8 sojourners hollin' back

The RNC is at a very delicate place in their history right now, what got them in office with Bush basically hopping in bed with anybody who hated Clinton, is no longer going to fly. They are going to have to show they are willing to rebuild by cleaning house of all the extreme wings, like the Christian right, corporate influence, war hawks and so on.

The exact people who would never accept a black to lead them.

I cant see them doing that for a more center driven platform since they make up such a huge money support, and voting block.

The Republican way is to burn and smash anything that doesnt work and rebuld it's self with a new image which worked for Bush.

But this time it would take changing the DNA of the party to get it done.

I cant see that happening, even if they elected a black which would still come off as fake since very few black Republicans are respected by the black community in genreal for a number of reasons no least of which is the view that black republicans are unwilling to chin check member in their own party when they engage in behavior that is CLEARLY racist in nature.

No, the RNC best policy is to put a muzzle on the idiots in their party and keep them out of the light, pray that Obama screws up big time, and try to open the back door for like minded blacks with their constant attacks on black pop culture like Hip-Hop, (Fox News does an exceptional job at this).

January 25, 2009 at 5:29 PM

@ Mike, I agree with you 100%. It ain't gonna happen and if it does it will be viewed a fake. There best hope for the revitalization of the RNC is Obama. A major Obama screw-up that is. And I mean major!

January 25, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Hello, thanks for allowing me to post. If Michael Steele and Ken Blackwell want to (re)claim the Republican Party.

They need to start with the hate-mongers,and the propaganda puppets like Hannity, Rush, Michael Savage, et... I am yet to here one Black Republican address the non-sense that Rush was pushing last week.

Therefore they need to do more than talk about the Republicans' treatment of African-Americans after the "fact". They need to denounce the hate that spews from right-wing pundits.

Steele and Blackwell needs to let everyone know that Republicans like them are the norm, and NOT the exception.

January 25, 2009 at 9:12 PM

You mean sellouts to their people?

Blackwell helped steal the 2004 election for Bush in Ohio, suppressed 166,000 provisional ballots and made it harder for AA's to cast their ballots in that state.

Steele has been an apologist for Bush and everything GOP while remaining silent on the bigotry and racism in the party.

Far from being different kind of Republicans, they're just like them.

January 26, 2009 at 11:39 AM

You guys are right. The RNC wants it but they just do not want it bad enough to throw a "tiger" into the ring. With all the nasty little comments spewed by the Coulters, Hannitys and that round fella, there is no way that they are ready to actually allow either one of them to lead. Now they might let one move into the big house but not 1600.

Instead, they will moan, groan, cuss, and fuss because Barack has not moved fast enough doing this or doing that and gain as much hate filled support as they can. They feel they can win on hate, its worked in the past and although its broke, they just ain't ready to fix it.

January 26, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Such a Queen. Here's some food for thought though. A black Republican once said to an audience "well what are the democrats doing for you?"

We will not be fooled by Barack Obama being in the office of the Presidency and begin to think that the Democrats are going to hear our cries when the Dems are for big business too and not the little people. we know this.
Truth is blacks are very conservative and have very similar views to some of the fundamentals of the Republican party. The problem with people like Steele is that in order to get where he might want to be he has had to sell his soul to appease to those extremist right wingers that you speak of.

But all of this rebuilding of the Republican party can fair well for people of color if we get away from our brand loyalty to the Democrats. When a brand no longer performs the way you need it to we must look at other options.

The Democrats take us for granted and the Republicans ignore us, well what if the republicans started paying us attention and made good on some of the promises that are important to us. Then we would be in a much more powerful position with respect to our voting bloc.

On another note, we really need to create a coalition of blacks and browns so that our bloc is even stronger. Quid pro quo "we all we got". Love ya

January 27, 2009 at 2:33 PM


Well, it is Saturday morning January 31st 2009, and the RNC just elected Mr. Steele to lead them. I hope that he will look beyond party lines and do what is best for the nation.

As for the republicans, they should have given Alan Keyes more consideration (He probably was the best candidate running for president not only this year but also in 2000).

As for the Democrats, do not forget Clarence Thomas (The abuse he received from the democrats)

Then let us not forget the Media, and what they do to candidates, Colin Powel (would have made a great president, but did not want to but his family through the media garbage).

January 31, 2009 at 8:44 AM

As I say in yesterday's post (1/30/09), I was certainly wrong and the RNC did in fact elect Steele as their chair. I'm surprised to say the least!

@ JJ, Steele has said that obstructionist will not be tolerated. Have to wonder if he includes Hannity, Rush, Michael Savage in that category.

@ Monica, unfortunately, I too fear more of the same regardless of the Steele's new leadership position.

@ TRochelle, now we'll have to wait and see if Steele is really the leader or just a pawn like Palin.

@ Native, I agree with you 100% in that the Dems take us for granted. There is something to be said about being an independent as we saw during the presidential race. The independent vote was sought after big time. And it is also true that AAs are fiscally conservative - but socially liberal. It is the latter, that tends to keep us from voting with the RNC.

I'm not sold on a political coalition of "blacks and browns" because I fear that such a coalition will still be fewed as dem or rep. What I think "we" should do is "register" as independent so our support and vote will be courted by both political parties. Its not good to be seen as a predictable voting block. That is the reason we are taken for granted and our issues and concerns not heard or acted upon. I hope Steele recognizes this.

@ II, "Alan Keyes" are you really serious? "Clarence Thomas" forgot from where he came. And it was not the media that thrawted Colin's political rise but his wife who told him "no".

Time will tell what Steele will do at the helm of the RNC

January 31, 2009 at 10:03 AM
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