Newt Gingrich on Black Business

Robert Sengstacke Abbott--Publisher of the Chicago Defender
Robert Sengstacke Abbott--Publisher of the Chicago Defender

 

 

The republican candidates had much to say about African-Americans during the recent South Carolina primary.   Here an excerpt from a 1993 speech that Newt Gingrich made regarding African-Americans and business that’s causing some outcry:

For poor minorities, entrepreneurship in small business is the key to future wealth. This is understood thoroughly by most of the Asians, partially by Latinos, and to a tragically small degree by much of the American black community.”

Is this a true statement?  Well, yes and no.  First, the fact that owning a business can lead to future wealth is indeed true.  That happens to apply to anyone however, not just “poor minorities”.  In the main, Asians, particularly newly arriving immigrants, do tend to pursue entrepreneurship heavily.  The same can also be said for blacks coming from the Caribbean and Africa.  Hispanics seem to be heavily into business as well and depending on the area of the country, American blacks may or may not be engaged in starting small businesses.  For example, in Northern New Jersey, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and other large urban centers, you will find large numbers of black businesses while in other areas you may not.  The involvement of American blacks in business really depends on the area of the country you’re speaking of, however, it is true that most American blacks need to understand entrepreneurship as a path to freedom, first and possible economic wealth, second.  Fully 80% of most businesses fail within the first five years and those who survive may not necessarily provide vast wealth, but can provide another form of wealth that’s potentially far more valuable–that would be freedom and from that comes economic and political independence.  This sort of independence, above every other reason, is the main outcome of more African-Americans going into business. From my perspective, that sort of freedom is priceless.

This is an area that I can speak with some authority on as I’ve direct experience with both starting a small business and advising small business.  I’ve been running a Certified Public Accounting firm for 29 years and although my client base is quite diverse now, I started my business servicing  African-American communities in Northern NJ and New York and many of those clients remain with me to this very day.  Over time, my business expanded to other communities and my clients range from individuals to mid-sized businesses.  The bulk of my firm’s services are oriented towards tax, accounting and consulting work and generally in all instances, my firm’s clients are looking to me for advice, so some of the things I do directly impact the growth and viability of the client’s business which has a sort of symbiotic relationship to my own firm’s growth.  In other words, the situation is such that as the client’s business grows, they need more services which means that my business grows as well.  So as I commit to help them grow, I grow my own business at the same time.  Central to my philosophy in business is the concept of win-win.  Win-lose is never sustainable while win-win feeds itself. As I’ve remarked on several occasions in this blog, it’s the win-lose proposition that’s at the heart of America’s economic problems.

As my business has grown outside of the African-American community, I’ve come in contact with a wide variety of people with diverse views and philosophies. At times, very different than my own, yet we still do business.   I really can’t say that I’ve lost out on opportunity owing to race.  Perhaps I have and didn’t realize it, but I think I’d know.  It’s been my experience that people do business with those who establish competence and who they like and come to know.   I need to also say that I’ve always opted to operate in the broad marketplace and I’ve never participated in a set aside or any minority business sort of program where extra points are given because one is a minority or women owned firm.   I’ve not found these things attractive because they don’t align with my philosophy.  I do understand why they exist and I do understand that an argument can be made about an old boy network that amounts to affirmative action for white firms, but getting involved with this has never been my thing.  I operate and compete in the broad market and that’s where I comfortable with the odds of winning or losing. 

Strange as it may seem, I’ve found the dynamic of race in business far different for me as an independent businessperson versus when I was employed in corporate America.  As I mention above, I’ve really not found race to be an issue while I’ve been self employed, however it was THE issue when I was in corporate America and this was truly a burden that had to be borne along with all the other stuff one had to contend with.  Why the difference?  I’ve thought about this often and I guess a good analogy is going into a Chinese restaurant to buy lunch.  You go in there because you want the food and you really don’t care who’s behind the counter.  Of course, if the place looks like a wreck and the food smells like it has toe jam in it, you’re not going to want to have any part of the scene.  So if you can establish that you’re competent and honest while proposing a winning proposition, most people are going to do business.  In this sense, entrepreneurship is a great equalizer.

My business was started wholly due my complete dissatisfaction and wholesale rejection of corporate America and working for someone.  The racial politics I encountered was a huge part of my dissatisfaction. A job change wasn’t going to cure the problem.  There was really nothing for me to do other than start my own business.  I’m not the sort of person who likes to play political games, engage in water cooler talk, pretend I like you when you disgust me or put up with the nonsense that you’re expected to endure to get a paycheck.  It’s an unnatural environment.  I couldn’t do it nor could I make myself do it.  I really had no choice, so I took the lemons and made myself some lemonade.

The first thing that’s done when you go into business is choose freedom and because you choose freedom, by default you’re electing yourself to be a leader.  So my thinking wasn’t really about riches or anything like that when I started.  The main thing I wanted was freedom and the thing that rang in my mind was this quote from the great abolitionist and escaped slave Frederick Douglass:

“ Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them……The limit of tyrants is prescribed by the endurance of those they oppress.”

I don’t do “endure” very well at all and Douglass’ words called out across the century telling me what I had to do.   After I started out on the path for freedom looking for my North Star, I figured I needed to make some money and was able to begin getting that sorted out, but that’s another story that could literally yield several posts and most likely a book.  I tell you, I’ve learned a lot from running a small business.  It’s literally a life classroom on a great many things I never expected.  I just thought I’d be doing accounting, but it turned out to be much more than that—but I’m digressing.

I’d like to return to concept to the importance of Black business and rather than speculate about whether Gingrich is a racist for having said what he said, let’s put a positive actionable spin on what he said and glean out what’s true.  One of the reasons why the African-American community faces the challenges it faces is for lack of organization and a related problem that arises from that is a lack of capacity.  In other words, we lack the capacity to fully utilize any help that may come our way because we’re not organized to direct it, manage it  and maximize it.  The result of this is empty promises from the political system, symbolic gestures or promises to stamp out racism.  This is all we get, because that’s all we have the capacity to accept and manage.  Of course, if the African-American community developed broad based capabilities to organize and build internal capacities, concerns about racism or what folks are saying would dissipate as we’d be too busy taking care of business to even care what was said (By the way, that’s why I don’t care.  It’s not that I don’t abhor racism, I just don’t have the time or inclination to get overly worked up about what someone says, thinks or writes).  Moreover, our relationship to the political class would change from being a collective supplicant to actually driving an agenda which supports whatever we’ve got going on—or we might not even need them at all.

Within the African-American community, the core of leadership comes mainly from either the social justice ranks or from church leadership.  Frequently, those coming from the social justice perspective lack the organizational and managerial skills to execute broadly on something that’s sustainable while being wholly financed internally.  Whereas there are some churches that are doing great work, they can’t get very political due to restrictions arising from tax laws governing non-profits and political involvement.  This same stricture happens to apply to many non-profits like the NAACP and other black non-profit organizations. (Recall there were situations under Bush where there were threats to pull the NAACP’s non-profit status due to it getting too political).  When you add this to the fact that many of the organizations that are supposed to represent us get the vast majority of their funding from corporate America and others since there’s no capacity to develop internal funding streams, then it’s easy to see why we’re unorganized and powerless.  He who writes the check, controls the process and there’s no place where this is more evident than in the African-American community.  We are not organized internally to shape and fund our own agenda.  Instead it’s being done for us.

There are two groups of African-Americans who have the organizational and managerial skills to organize and execute.  This first group are those who are employed in corporate America.  These are Dubois’ talented tenth, yet they too are controlled and funded by someone else and this effectively mutes them for fear of job loss.  The second group is the entrepreneurial class.  Any successful entrepreneur knows how to organize, execute and raise money.  Moreover, any business is generally based on solving some problem and the most successful businesses are those who solve the biggest problems.  So, any successful business person is going to have strong organizational skills and possess expert problem solving abilities and in a community that is both unorganized and full of problems, individuals with this skill set are sorely needed.  Since they’re effectively self funded, there’s no threat of job loss and since they have freedom, they’re free to act.  There’s historical precedence with this in the stories African American entrepreneurs like Madam CJ Walker, Robert Sengstacke Abbot and others.

So, in the African-American community, business formation is about a different sort of wealth building.  It’s really about the sort of wealth that comes from freedom not only for the entrepreneur, but for all of us as they lead by executing.  But whether that sort of wealth can be built is reliant on the philosophy of those so engaged and what the community asks of them.  The best of business is always win win and when there’s a symbiotic relationship between business and the development of a community, it is indeed a powerful combination.  That same relationship needs to exist between the political class, those we trade with and etc.

I don’t view entrepreneurship as a panacea for all the ails the African-American community, but the entrepreneurs are a class of leadership that heretofore hasn’t been at the table in the numbers it should.  Much of that is owing to not enough people electing to go that route and/or those who taken the leap still caught up in the struggle to make sure their business survives.  Developing this leadership class is really a numbers game in the sense that more people electing to go this route will produce more successes.

Running a CPA firm is like being a canary in a coal mine in the sense that you see first hand the broader economic trends, both positive and negative.  One of the biggest things I’ve seen over the past few years is the absolute erosion of good paying mid managerial jobs.  These are jobs that normally pay well within six digits that have simply gone away due to outsourcing and/or technological advances and they will not be replaced.  Many of these people are highly educated and well trained and are being forced to become either accidental entrepreneurs and/or pursue other forms of employment that’s not the normal corporate career track which is now being now increasingly rolled up and eliminated.

One of the potential outcomes is more highly trained and educated African-Americans finding themselves being in the position of being accidental entrepreneurs.  Many people don’t do things until circumstances force them to and in a way this is a positive for the African-American community.  The best and brightest, some of whom faced some of the same frustrations in corporate America similar to my own, may return their talents to the community.  Depending on the shape and direction this takes, this may augur well for the African-American community.   

The Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation does several studies on entrepreneurship and one particular study buttresses empirically what I’ve observed.  It has found that despite the recession, entrepreneurial activity is up and that African-Americans are showing the greatest increases in business creation rates while still lagging other groups however. The fact that this is occurring is a driver for my own business or for any other business who is positioned to support this trend.  Why is this? Because everyone of them needs an accountant.   I would further suggest that this trend has been in place for years and that much of the business I have in the African-American community is as a result of it.  Here’s another statistic that the reader needs to be aware of.  Less than 1% of all Certified Public Accountants in the country are African-American and of that 1%, even less are involved self employed in public practice.   (Also, there’s a general shortage of experienced CPA’s similar to that which characterized the nursing profession years ago).  Here’s a question: What do you think can happen to a  African-American CPA, who’s in short supply to begin with, in a community where the numbers of folks going into business is growing and who need your help? 

You’re going to be busy because the numbers are in your favor and that applies to any business who positions themselves in a similar manner.  This is why groups like the Koreans have taken over the Black hair care industry.  They’re filling a need that we’re not positioned to address.  It’s all about looking at trends and your positioning vis a vis  the predominant trend.   Because we’re too busy responding to the Newt Gingrichs of the world, we fail to see that our fixation on these sorts of things leaves our back door open for others to take care of things we should be doing.   Our entire infrastructure is geared toward the pursuit of social justice and much of that is being financed on our behalf while there is little infrastructure in place to actually develop the African-American community. No one is going to do that for us.  We have to do that ourselves.   Effectively, we’re unwittingly participating in our being gamed and it’s my eternal frustration that few people see this. 

Let me put it this way.  Suppose I have a waiting room full of clients waiting to be serviced and rather than dealing with them, I’m out on the street protesting, marching and complaining about not having clients.  Since, I’m not doing what’s directly relevant to serving the clients who are waiting for me, I shouldn’t be surprised when someone else opens shop to do what I should be doing.  Basically, since I’m not properly positioned, I leave the back door open for someone else to come in and make the money I should be making–and this is what is occurring in the main in the African-American community. Needless to say, there’s a reason why people are financed to do this as opposed to open businesses.  There are some who actually want us focused on issues other than taking actions truly relevant to conditions on the ground.

As I said, it’s not that I don’t abhor racism, but I really don’t have time to worry about what Gingrich says or even to discern whether he’s a racist or not.   It’s not relevant.  What is relevant are those clients (figuratively speaking) in my waiting room and there’s too much work to do to address their needs.  Our thinking needs to become far more entrepreneurial in this respect and once it does, we’ll experience a sea change in the African-American community and that’s the real importance of black business.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • LTE

    Huffington Post mentions the racial references were removed when the speech was given. Obviously he was forming his ideas as the quoted text varied before the speech. His first draft may have been based on inaccurate data, not on his desire to burn crosses on someone’s front lawn.
    .
    H P using the term stereotype is an attempt to turn Gingrich’s thoughts into something they weren’t intended to be..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/newt-gingrich-latinos-blacks-weath-gop-2012_n_1224939.html 

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      LTE,  consistent with my statement above, Gingrich’s comments are of only tangential relevance to what we in the black community need to do.  They are inaccurate to some extent, as I’ve direct experience working with both African-American businesses as well as having formed a business myself.  Also, the Kaufman Foundation study, although occurring far after the point in which he developed the speech, would also tend to run counter to his contentions, although it could certainly be argued that more African American business formation is needed for the reasons I enumerate above. 

      On their face however, and having no other information, it would be hard to characterize the statements on their face as racist in my view, so I’ll allow that, but I must also reiterate that evaluating whether Newt is a racist or not is doesn’t figure prominently in my own considerations.  It’s not a question I’m posing nor am I particularly interested in answering it.

      If you think this is a hit job on Gingrich, that also may be true.  But don’t get confused by the fact that it’s coming from Huff Po or the liberal media.  Don’t go for the head fake, Romney has an election to win.

      • LTE

        It’s obvious that was a hit piece on Newt and designed to produce a knee jerk response. The source of it? Not that important, the intent was.  I just thought if the source wanted to start a race war, they could have been a bit more clever about it.
        .
        It has been my understanding in the past decade A-A small business development has been doing reasonably well. The issue was of some interest  in the mid 90′s (a subject of the moment)  but soon was over shadowed by the dot com boom and Clinton selling the idea the future of America was in selling banking services, not making things. We can see how well that worked out.
        .
        I realize your point was more on economic development than potential race politics..
        As for ole Newt, what ever points he scored in South Carolina he rapidly reversed in Florida with a floundering lack luster series of debate performances. The fire Newt showed in S.C. disappeared and his odd attacks on Romney’s business practices and wealth backfired. I have always liked ole Newt, one for his bluntness but also as a fount of interesting ideas. I have to say I have been rethinking that support, I knew Newt was a bit erratic, but lately he has been too erratic, bordering on self destructive.

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          I believe I said a few days ago that Gingich was about to get “Cained” and here we go.  I have to believe that this hit is payback for Gingrich’s hit on Romney with the infomercial in SC.  The difference between the two is that Romney has plausible cover with the story seeming to come from the left while it was widely known that Gingrich had his Superpac deliver the hit on Romney.   As to the race angle, this is really not about African-Americans save for being used as a prop for Romney.  This is really about targeting whites specifically in Florida who are a far different demographic (mainly far more wealthier) than those in SC.  While this sort of thing might play better in SC, it does not play well at all in Florida and Romney wants to be sure he not only puts this one in the win column, but does so by a wide margin.  After all, the designated “front runner” has only won one primary to date which throws that whole notion in question.  A close win in the sunshine state doesn’t remove that question,  so he’s gotta win by double digits, hence the hit on Gingrich from the race angle and coming only a few days before the primary, it’s pretty clear that this is coming from Romney.

          I still maintain that Romney will have problems elsewhere in the South and Gingrich remains a threat unless Romney can force him out of the race. 

          • LTE

            The race angle in the posted story is more to get the reliable knee jerk reaction with lots of volume. The purpose isn’t to help Romney nor hurt Gingrich, it is to help Democrats. There has been a stream of articles like this geared towards reminding blacks the only way to get rid of that cross burning Republican hiding under your bed is to call on the Democrat Cavalry. Any help to Romney or harm to Gingrich is incidental.
            .
            If Romney shows some more mojo, he may get more warmer, broader support. After watching Romney and knowing Obama’s friends, the 2012 election has great promise to be the sleaziest in my life time.
            .
            Unrelated thought:
            I thought I’d run this by you. I have been pondering Obama’s raise the taxes on the rich parade and knowing how large the debt has become and that the rich do not have enough resources to pay it off, I started thinking this maybe all a play to set the middle class up for a tax increase. 
            If he gets his rich people tax increase,  he could then turn around and say to the middle class, they did their fair share, now it’s your turn.

            • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

              The race angle was actually started by Gingrich and Santorum during the SC primary as they tried to invoke the the newest wrinkle in the southern strategy, but you’ll notice that save for this thing with Gingrich, both fell largely silent with this in Florida.  Demographically, Florida is much different and does not have a rabidly far right constituency, so that strategy doesn’t work there but goes against the grain there.   Coming a few days before the primary, the question is who is the main beneficiary?  It’s clearly Romney and this didn’t just come out of the blue.  There’s no one in the African-American media that would have parsed Gingrich’s notes.  I don’t even believe that there’s anyone in the liberal wing of the media who had a real interest in that, and if they did, how is it that they’re doing this days before the primary?   Obviously I’m speculating, but let’s think about this for a minute, if Romney wanted to do a hit job in Gingrich using race, who in the conservative wing of the media could he have gone to?  There’s no one, so a conveniently leaked piece of information to Huff Po would do the trick and African-Americans weighing in on the deal is all the much better for Romney and this is where some of us are being unwittingly positioned as props for the Romney campaign.  The quicker he can get rid of Gingrich, the better.  Paul is no threat in the South and Santorum is about done anyway.  The republican establishment wants to get the crown on Romney already before he loses yet another primary and if blacks and the liberal media can be blamed for Gingrich’s demise, that’s all the better for the fall.  Half of American politics is about keeping the pot stirred over a bunch of BS, while the real issues go untouched and undiscussed. We will complete this entire election cycle and vote in November while never having touched on anything germane to the country’s challenges

              • LTE

                “There’s no one, so a conveniently leaked piece of information to Huff Po would do the trick and African-Americans weighing in on the deal is all the much better for Romney and this is where some of us are being unwittingly positioned as props for the Romney campaign.”.

                The initial response would be against Gingrich, but the greater goal is to remind blacks to check under their bed for bedsheet wearing Republicans.
                .

                Obama has no challenger so you have to do something to keep interest up for November. Obama’s supporter energy is more flagging than fanatic so little reminders/exciters are needed to get the voter turnout high as possible for him.

                • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

                  Now, I don’t deny that this race thing plays a couple of ways.  Yes, Obama’s support is less than enthusiastic across all constituencies as compared to 2008,  so there would be attempt to shore up the vote and turnout.  However, if this were the case, this attempt turns stale 10 months out from the election.  When one compares that time frame versus a few days before Florida primary, I’d say Romney benefited from this far more than Obama.  Accusations of racism hurt Gingrich far more with moderate whites  and Hispanics than it would with blacks who aren’t voting republican in large numbers to begin with.  Nevada is another state where this will hurt Gingrich again due to its large Hispanic population–so Romney effectively gets a twofer here.  The only way Obama could really benefit from this is if these accusations were to revolve around Romney.

                  Usually, where there’s benefit there’s causation.    Everything doesn’t fit the left/right paradigm

            • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

              Taxes are going up for everyone regardless of who wins the election and it’s likely that the rich, who should be paying more, will only see a small increase while everyone else sees more.  It’s been made political unpalatable for years to raise taxes, notwithstanding all of the idiocy around Norquist’s pledge.  The main way that taxes are going to get raised, at least initially, is through more enforced compliance or audits.  The tax gap is a well known issue and the IRS and states have staffed up auditors to go after small businesses and individuals.  The threshold for this sort of thing has been dropped such that they’re going after smaller businesses in particular.  The number of audits I’ve seen is up dramatically and folks can get hit from all sides in the sense that the various tax authorities “handshake”, so if the IRS gets a hit on a taxpayer, they immediately tell the state and they come knocking as well.  In addition to audits and the like, reporting via the 1099 structure has been expanded greatly in the sense they want to make sure that every piece of income is reported and there are steep fines for not doing so.  On top of that, tax preparers are being heavily regulated for the first time with the idea of making them effectively collection agents for the government and there are heavy fines for taking a position on a return that’s spurious.  So the first increases in taxes is not going to come from rates, so much as enforced compliance and most of that is being asserted against the smaller taxpayers who can’t offshore their banking or pay capital gains rates on what should normally be ordinary income.
               

  • Anonymous

    “As I’ve remarked on several occasions in this blog, it’s the win-lose proposition that’s at the heart of America’s economic problems.”

    And our tax code concretizes this “win-lose proposition.” Regrettably, most attempts to call attention to the code’s unfairness is met with cries of “class warfare,” rather than what it  really is: the government benefiting one class–the rich and powerful–at the expense of another, the middle class.

    “I just thought I’d be doing accounting, but it turned out to be much more than that—but I’m digressing.”

    Life is about more than earning a living, paying our way, or even amassing a wealth of material things; it’s about experiencing who we are in a world of relativity, where one thing is defined by another, up defined by down, and vice versa; it’s about relationships, associations with others, no matter how casual, and, if there’s no other, then with oneself.

     ”I’d like to return to concept to the importance of Black business and rather than speculate about whether Gingrich is a racist for having said what he said, let’s put a positive actionable spin on what he said and glean out what’s true. ”

    Whether Gingrich’s statement is racist or not, is for you, me, and other blacks to say, not whites. Since they’re not the target, they have no say in such matters, although they aren’t reticent with their uninvited judgments. Further, the burden is not ours to determine beyond cavil, if Gingrich’s a racist or not, or whether his statement is racist or not–to the degree that he would say racially-insensitive things, this alone, by default, brands him as a racist until, or unless, he shows, demonstrates or otherwise proves he’s not.

    That burden belongs to him–and him alone–and doesn’t fall to me.

    In a nation that has long been racist in many of its parts, if not the whole, I refuse to bear the burden of determining who is, and who isn’t, racist as though we’re in minefield of racist explosive devices, hoping to clear a safe way forward.  To progress safely one has to assume racist mines are practically everywhere one would walk, ride, or sail (a default position), and only after an area is cleared of such mines (by minesweepers–the actions of others–or by defusing them [a not well-understood method]) do we securely set about our business.

    This does not mean that we preoccupy ourselves with the likelihood of encountering racist mines, or walking into racist minefields, but that we’re aware that they exist, and can explode when we least expect it, possibly leaving considerable damage in their wake.

    “(By the way, that’s why I don’t care.  It’s not that I don’t abhor racism, I just don’t have the time or inclination to get overly worked up about what someone says, thinks or writes). ”

    I agree, to the extent that a racist’s words, thoughts, or writings don’t in some way impact the quality of my life, or my mental and physical well being, or the  mental and physical well being of other blacks.

    In a Southern town, a black man was told my racist whites that one night they would be coming for him. Because these white men had a reputation of carrying out their threats, each night that he waited for the inevitable was for him a living hell.

    He ended it all with a shotgun blast to his own head. I attended his funeral.

    “Moreover, our relationship to the political class would change from being a collective supplicant to actually driving an agenda which supports whatever we’ve got going on—or we might not even need them at all. ”

    I like the latter, that they depend on us, rather than the other way around. Jews make up a small number of the electorate, but their money and their influence shape the outcome of many an election, and, from time to time, the legislation that’s past that might have an impact on Israel or American Jewry.

    Politicians trip all over themselves not to offend this electorate. ‘Twould be good for our collective constitution if we, too, had this kind of power!

    “We are not organized internally to shape and fund our own agenda.  Instead it’s being done for us.”

    I’m beginning to see a shift from that of “social justice” to “economic justice,” in that  it’s getting a lot of attention from the Occupy Movement, but you’re right, it’s a long overdue discussion in black communities.

    “The best of business is always win win and when there’s a symbiotic relationship between business and the development of a community, it is indeed a powerful combination.  That same relationship needs to exist between the political class, those we trade with and etc. ”

    Apple, then, fails this simple test of “symbiotic relationship” as the company is more interested in building its business abroad, and selling its products here, than the “development of a community.”

    That Republicans would protect this type of practice by Apple or any other American company, gives us clear insight into their pro-corporation policies, and where their true allegiance lies–more philosophically aligned with corporative interest than that of the American people, as though they’re one and the same.

    I would like to add one more Republican characteristic to my previous list. I left one out. Hard ass. Republicans fit both definitions of the word, which is why I’m not a Republican and could never be.

    One well-known gay Republican was asked why he belonged to the  Republican party given the party’s open resistance to the pursuits of gays–marriage equality, and openly serving in the military. He said that he liked other aspects of the party, such as fiscal conservatism, and that he found behind closed doors that Democrats could be equally hostile to the goals of gays.

    I rather doubt that, since it was mostly Democrats that ended the destructive policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I suspect that he needed to find some ground upon which to stand as his actions were diametrically opposed to his self-interest. But then I find that this is common among most Republicans: They support the policies of the One Percent to their own detriment.

    And further, to my knowledge, Democrats have no polices in place that are inimical to the self-interest of gays. If I were gay, to support a party that openly and vociferously opposed the very core of my being–my sexuality–I’d opt to be apolitical rather than become, or remain, a member of such a party.

    And for blacks to embrace a church and a religion which excluded “most people of black African descent (regardless of actual skin color) from Priesthood ordination and from participation in temple ceremonies,” until 1978, defies reason.

    And for blacks to embrace a political party–the Republican party–where they’re denigrated for belonging to the party to which they belong, defies more than reason. Such action by Republican leadership is more about providing “red meat” for their Republican base than bringing more blacks into the Republican fold. 

    Any party that would use me in that way doesn’t deserve my vote or my membership.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      >>>In a Southern town, a black man was told my racist whites that one night
      they would be coming for him. Because these white men had a reputation
      of carrying out their threats, each night that he waited for the
      inevitable was for him a living hell….He ended it all with a shotgun blast to his own head. I attended his funeral.<<>>I would like to add one more Republican characteristic to my previous
      list. I left one out. Hard ass. Republicans fit both definitions of the
      word, which is why I’m not a Republican and could never be….And for blacks to embrace a political party–the Republican party–where
      they’re denigrated for belonging to the party to which they belong,
      defies more than reason. Such action by Republican leadership is more
      about providing “red meat” for their Republican base than bringing more
      blacks into the Republican fold.  Any party that would use me in that way doesn’t deserve my vote or my membership. <<<

      The republican party, based on it's recent history, would be extremely difficult for me to support.  Its southern strategy and overall reputation in the African-American community dooms it to a very small percentage of the black vote notwithstanding those who are propped up as black republicans.  The party knows it can't make significant inroads in the African-American community and that's not its objective anyway IMO.  It only needs to siphon off a few more percentage points of the black vote to make up for its overall shrinking demographic in order to be more competitive in national contests and that's the idea.  It needs to do that with independents as well and that's why we're seeing them push Romney as opposed to some  rabid frothing at the mouth T-Party type.   As a matter of fact, when's the last time you even heard about the T-Party?  It's like the media and the republican party has run from them.   This ain't an off year election with low turnout and Sarah Palin and the T-party are no longer needed—they were a media creation to begin with.

      But I'm having issues with the democrats as well and that regrettably leaves me checking the "none of the above" box this election cycle.

      • Anonymous

        “[I]t needs to do that with independents as well and that’s why we’re seeing them push Romney as opposed to some  rabid frothing at the mouth T-Party type.”

        Common wisdom says that it’s Independents that will ultimately decide who will be the next president. Obama went so far as to diss his own base to woo the support of this political demographic–that is, until they gave him the finger, shifting their support in one poll after the other. 

        Tonight, I watched as one of Gingrich’s campaign managers attempted to gloss over, and brush aside, Gingrich’s recent, racially-insensitive remarks.  He was reminded that it was Newt that introduced race into the campaign and, because of that, was obliged to answer questions as they related to blacks and whites.

        During his reception speech, Gingrich doubled down on a previous remark, calling President Obama The Food Stamp President, and offering up a new one, The Entertainer in Chief.

        I’ll repeat myself: “Such action by Republican leadership is more about providing ‘red meat’ for their Republican base than bringing more blacks into the Republican fold. 

        “Any party that would use me in that way doesn’t deserve my vote or my membership.”

        The campaign manager was reminded that Gingrich hoped to use race–by introducing it into the campaign–to win support for his candidacy. It failed in Florida, but then that failure may prove to be only temporary, as the campaign moves farther South into the heartland of Dixie, where such dog whistles resonate with the electorate as loud as sirens, and burglar alarms. 

        “As a matter of fact, when’s the last time you even heard about the T-Party?  It’s like the media and the republican party has run from them.   This ain’t an off year election with low turnout and Sarah Palin and the T-party are no longer needed—they were a media creation to begin with.”

        You’re right: It’s almost as though their creator–the Koch brothers–gave orders to the T-Party leadership to cool it for a while– to drink iced tea–or drink less of the caffeinated stuff, and opt for the decaffeinated brew.

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          Can’t seem to quote you here again, but  I agree that once the campaign moves farther South, we’ll see the race come into it again and it will be to Gingrich’s benefit.  The only challenge Gingrich has is that super Tuesday has but only three southern state primaries (GA, TN and VA).  He’ll take GA and TN for sure and there’s a primary in AZ a few days before that he’ll take, but he’s gonna run out of money, so he may be done after Super Tuesday, barring any upsets prior to that–but I don’t rule out anything because the T-party types and the far right don’t care for Romney.

          Ever since the debt ceiling debacle, the T-Party has been in hiding.  They took a major hit in the polls for that stunt.  Tell me if I’m wrong, but in all the campaigning against Obama, I’ve not heard anyone say anything about him being responsible for the credit downgrade.  I think the republicans took more of a hit on that then the dems did, so why bring it up and remind everyone?  There’s a lot of sleight of hand in this business and nothing may be as it seems.

          • Anonymous

            “Tell me if I’m wrong, but in all the campaigning against Obama, I’ve not heard anyone say anything about him being responsible for the credit downgrade.”

            You’re right: TeaPublicans emerged from that battle with more battle scars than Democrats, as well as in the latest clash, the one just before the congressional Christmas break, when respected members of their own party intervened to save the day–when they, yet again, risked it all by refusing to extend the payroll holiday for working Americans.

            The Republican establishment didn’t want yet another blemish on its record, that of Ebeneezer Scrooge–as in,”Scrooge you America!”

            I’m not sure how many hits the Republican party can sustain until the people of this nation come to their senses and realize for whom this party work, whose jobs they’re really protecting, and how many jobs they’ve failed to create–or disincentivize  from going to China–since the House went from blue to red.

      • Anonymous

        “I’m no longer angry—not saying that I can’t go there–but there were several things that occurred that dissipated that anger in the transition to becoming a independent businessman.  Much of it had to do with a change in venue and position.”

        I’d be interested in knowing what prompted the change, succeeding in the eradication of your anger.

        Let me tip my hand slightly (not my motive, but my insight into this), something I rarely do, because few will understand.  

        This is not to address your anger, or my anger, but anger in general, for all human emotions serve a purpose (as do feelings [which aren't the same as "emotions"]), although we’re often hard pressed to see that purpose and to acknowledge it.

        I’m more disappointed with people than I’m “angry.”  If more people shared my vantage point, anger wouldn’t enter the equation–pity perhaps, sorrow for the human condition, perhaps–but anger, maybe for a time, but it would dissipate after a while, as they would remember why they’re here, and for what purpose, and that, at bottom, we’re making it all up.

      • Anonymous

        “Given the historical relationship between white and blacks, walking in our shoes requires an admission of guilt—and that’s a problem.  Guilt means that one has to repair and remove the wrong—and that’s a problem as well.    As I was watching this brother’s anger, I understood and could definitely relate to where’s he coming from.”

        It’s rarer than a houndstooth to find a white man or woman who will freely admit guilt for our current racial condition–not to mention previous conditions that put them out front in the race to the top.

        What you get is something like this: “Don’t blame me for slavery. I wasn’t there. I didn’t oppress blacks.”

        South Africa, after apartheid, felt a need for reconciliation, a cleansing process that this nation never went through–a process for which most whites would rather die than endure.

        Remembering the outcry against reparation for the descendants of slaves, it’s my firm belief that whites would riot in the streets, and foment a race war, rather than surrender a nickle. 

        Remembering, too, Affirmative Action didn’t go over too well, even though blacks weren’t the only recipients (just as we’re not the only ones receiving food stamps, as is often charged, or suggested), but whites, Asians, native Americans, Latinos, and others.

        Mind sharing the link to the You Tube video you watched?

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          I’ll dig that link up and share it.  My thing is channeling righteous anger into something positive either for ourselves or for the collective.  There are pragmatic things I believe we can do to position ourselves differently while using the emotion to achieve redress.  I’m for de-linking to the greatest extent possible my conditions from how other people feel.  Of course, no one fully controls everything in their environment, but to the extent we control at least some of them, we’re able to mitigate the impact that other people can have on us.

          We’ve had a great wrong committed against us.  That’s abundantly clear.  It’s also clear that folks don’t want to even acknowledge the wrong, let alone repair the results of it.  For me, it gets down to the question as to what is the best course of action in light of that: continue to convince them to do the right thing or develop the power whereby doing it is compelled.  I come down on the latter.

          This has been an historical debate in our community, but these really aren’t mutually exclusive choices as perhaps we need people doing both.  The problem is that our efforts are mainly geared towards the social justice end while little is devoted toward economic development and other things we can control.  As far as I see, there’s very little infrastructure that’s in place for the latter.

          I just think that to address our issues, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to deal in concepts of power and a litmus test on anything we do needs to involve whether or not the outcome contributes in some significant way to our economic or political power.  If such a litmus test were truly in place, there’d be a great many initiatives that would need to be rethought or just simply abandoned.  But prior to that, I suppose we’d have to arrive at a common understanding of what power means and its relationship to addressing some of our challenges.

          Having said that however, as I say above, none of this is mutually exclusive, so just because I believe this is the route to go doesn’t preclude someone else from pursuing an entirely different route.  Actually, it’s preferable that a variety of things be done and that a vibrant marketplace of ideas and idea implementation exists.  The best approach is going to win out anyway and even that is likely going to be an amalgamation of ideas/approaches rather than just one.  The key is to get that marketplace going and that just means a few folks working on the problems and challenges. 

          There’s some stuff we need to talk about and some stuff I specifically need to talk about as a black business owner:

           

          • Anonymous

            “For me, it gets down to the question as to what is the best course of action in light of that: continue to convince them to do the right thing or develop the power whereby doing it is compelled.  I come down on the latter.”

            Reasoning with whites has failed miserably over the years. Those who saw a need for change, changed of their own accord; those who didn’t see a need, didn’t.

            Most of our historical effort has been to use the law to force social justice. We used the law, too–legislation, that is–in an attempt to effectuate economic justice, but with mixed results. 

            Those efforts launched Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, first envisioned under John F. Kennedy–and then later Affirmative Action, mandated by Executive Order, and further revised using the same method under several presidents.

            The Great Society initiative wasn’t the colossal failure that many have made it out to be, perhaps making Lyndon Baines Johnson a better friend to blacks, than presidents before or after him, as he was also able to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Great Society legislation.

            From that legislation–established to attack poverty in this nation–came Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs that exit to this day.

            Power comes in many forms–political, economical, a just cause, spiritual, and military might. Of the several, our spiritual fortitude and prowess haven’t kept pace with our desire for economic justice, and social liberation.

            We should have pursued the one with the same fervor as the others.

            I’m speaking of black America, but I could, just as easily, be speaking of white America–the two Americas existing side by side, but not in isolation, each impacting the other in ways that many on both sides of the racial divide will not acknowledge, let alone admit.

            The Republican party, and those who subscribe to its philosophy of autonomy and individualism, are symptomatic of all that’s wrong with this nation–as its principles militate against nature itself, and nature’s primary concern, the principle of interdependence. 

            As such, the party carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction, as do our economic system, one built on greed, and the exploitation of labor, as well as the ever-shrinking resources of the planet, in the pursuit of profit at the expense of the environment, and the health of all life in that environment.

            Gingrich received wild applause when he promised that, as president, he would approve the Keystone Pipeline System to extend “from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, which include refineries in Illinois, Cushing oil distribution hub in Oklahoma, and proposed connections to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.”

            It’s a huge mistake–one I believe that Obama will ultimately make–as it allows this nation to postpone the production of alternate energy sources, and risk polluting an already fragile environment and aquifer, further entrenching reliance on carbon-based fuels that are already contributing to climate change.  
             
            Too often religious adherence is confused with spirituality, but they don’t always coincide, and neither are they incompatible. I’ve seen more spirituality from those outside of religion than those who profess a religious belief, as religion often maintains and subscribes to a rigidity of thinking and beliefs that’s not always conducive to, or encouraging of, spiritual exploration and expansion.

            This nation, for all it’s material success, is still a spiritual pauper, and our salvation as a people may be to come out from her, and develop a nation within a nation. I’ve suggested this before. It’s doable, except that we, as a people, have adopted the values of the many, and are doomed to whatever fate that awaits this nation for all its sowing. 

            I’m told that every person in this nation has several slaves working for him or her. Because we don’t see them–as they’re working in sweat-shops and near slave-like conditions abroad–we don’t always see the harm we do, but that doesn’t exempt us from the reaping of what has been sown, which, as I see it, is a great deal of misery and woe.

            Thanks for the link.

            • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

              >>Thanks for the link.<<

              And thank you for this response my friend.  Yet another keeper.

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