[lg policy] US: GOP Language On Race Shapes How Minorities See the Party

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 21 14:39:25 UTC 2013

Elbert Guillory: GOP Language On Race Shapes How Minorities See the Party



 Elbert Guillory: GOP Language On Race Shapes How Minorities See the Party

A recent article<http://www.policymic.com/articles/49705/black-senator-elbert-guillory-switches-from-democrat-to-republican-and-it-makes-perfect-sense>by
*PolicyMic* pundit John Giokaris, applauding a black lawmaker for switching
from the Democratic to the Republican Party, highlights a major problem in
American political discourse. Namely, the language around race and
political affiliation in the country is damaging and divisive and a large
part of the reason that minority voters tend to swing Democratic. The tone
of Giokaris' article, in fact its very existence, is illustrative of the
power of language and how Republican language regarding minorities drives
them from the party.

The way conservatives react whenever a person of color “comes out of the
closet” (the author’s usage from the *PolicyMic* article) and publicly
espouses conservative values conveys a questioning of the mental capacities
of minorities. “It makes perfect sense,” the author says, for minorities to
support conservative policies and politicians because liberal and
Democratic administrations and policies have caused so much damage to
minority communities. The author cites statistics that show how poorly
African Americans and other minorities have fared under Democrats and how
well they have done under Republicans to prove his point.

While the statistics may show evidence that support the author’s claims for
why minorities should support conservatives, the raucous celebration of
every black conservative who publicly supports the GOP has the
unintentional effect of raising questions in the minds of rank-and-file
conservatives about minorities' ability to make rational decisions
regarding their welfare. The unspoken questions here are, “What’s wrong
with the rest of you?” and “Can’t you people muster enough brains to make a
rational decision to benefit yourselves?” These questions do not go
unnoticed by minorities who have a deep cultural memory regarding
oppression and abuses of power. Such questions stoke the flames of those

Much has also been made about the penchant for black conservatives to
use “slave
in describing why minorities trend toward Democrats. Terms like “being
chained” to the party or being “brainwashed” are tossed around with
reckless abandon while the white majority of the party generally looks on
with nary a frown to show disapproval of the language. Such implicit
approval of the language used by black conservatives, language that
represents and perpetuates centuries of oppression, further cements in the
minds of minorities that they are not welcome within the ranks of the party.

In short, the language that the GOP uses in reference to minorities has
shaped the way that minorities view the party. No matter how much their
policies may benefit minorities, until the GOP can act as if minorities are
capable of making good decisions regarding their own welfare (and acting
accordingly), and until the party can begin to treat minorities who also
happen to be conservatives as they do any other member of the party, they
will continue to lose the minority vote.

*A version of this article was originally published at Living

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