Speaking of disagreement, frequent commenter Darkstar —formidable, logical, unfailingly polite and unfailingly even-handed--points to an instance of alleged Republican racism in the California Republican Party (CPR; I’m not a member).
When I travel to speak at Republican conferences and events around the country, wandering through hotels, convention centers and social clubs, as I approach the rooms where I'm scheduled to speak, I am often told by Republicans that I must be in the wrong place. While boarding a shuttle bus to a national convention a few years ago, an attendee who was already on the bus introduced himself to another white guest who was boarding, took one look at me and, in an attempt to be helpful, told me I was on the wrong bus. As a Bush delegate at the 2000 convention in Philadelphia, I proudly wore my delegate's badge and RNC lapel pin as I worked the convention. Regardless of the fact that I was obviously a delegate prominently displaying my credentials, no less than six times did white delegates dismissively tell me to fetch them a taxi or carry their luggage.
I’ve been to a few Republican gatherings, but something like this has never happen to me:
Imagine how our [sic] Republican women would have felt if they had been mistaken for hotel maids.
However, I’m hesitant to question the veracity of someone else’s experience, unless given a good reason.
Cobb, however, thinks that this might be a personal issue--disguised in racial clothing--between two candidates for the same party office.
I have come to discover that Reeves and [then CPR Vice Chairman Bill] Back were bucking for the same office in the party, and I am content to leave the spitting match at that level. But I remain a bit upset for such boogabears to disrupt the ambitions of others. In other words, this is nasty campaigning and infighting masquerading as racial politics. Or maybe that's all racial politics is. Who knows? All I can see is a wiffle bat war that makes a lot of noise and slander. You'd think something was actually at stake.
Here’s some reportage regarding Mr. Reeves’ accusations in the Contra Costa Times.
Assuming these accounts are true, however, they seem to speak to commenter Anomalocaris’ question, tendered in my second post on Howard Dean’s comments to the African American Caucus on February 11:
Shouldn't we be talking about what Republicans need to do to make the Grand Old Party more welcoming for persons "of color" and not criticizing the messenger, Dr. Dean, for observing that there should be more progress in this arena?
I dismissed the question initially. For that, I apologize. Having “grown up” in the military, I sometimes forget that there are more divided segments of our society. (The only racial troubles I had while in the Air Force came from civilians, including being called the n-word while in uniform. This happened in Monterey, California, of all places.)
Republicans (non-black ones, that is), the above definitely isn’t the way to make black Americans feel welcome in the party.
I do not, however, think that Dean was trying make a point regarding some alleged over-abundance of black Americans in blue-collar fields—or under-representation in the professions. He was merely making a joke in (presumably) safe company at the expense of the Republicans.
However, if some Republicans out there *do* assume that black Americans who are anywhere in the vicinity of Republican gatherings must be the “help”—assuming Mr. Reeves’ accounts are truthful--then Anomalocaris has asked question worthy of thought.
Cobb also links to a document entitled “What if the South Had Won The Civil War?,” which was part of Mr. Reeves’ grievance against the Mr. Back, who distributed the commentary in a CPR newsletter. I’ll read it later. (I have a feeling I’m not going to like it, but will try to keep an open mind.)
I’d also like to find out whether Mr. Back merely published the article or whether he gave some critical rebuttal to it, for or against.
One thing is certain: the national face of a major party needs to check his attitudes, if not his tongue. But this is Howard Dean we’re talking about here, so I guess the DNC knew what they were getting.
Note to (other) contrarians, learn from Darkstar: this is how to promote dialogue.
(Thanks to George)