Analysis of media issues, politics and current events.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) will launch a 10-million-dollar minority engagement program. This will send outreach efforts into Hispanic, Asian and black neighborhoods in order to connect with increasingly GOP-resistant groups and re-position the Republican Party as being respectful and welcoming to minorities. As the Republican National Committee Chairman put it, a “rebranding.”
First of all, that’s not a lot of money. At a national level, your average company spends more to launch or rebrand a new toothpaste. A small budget to fix what is clearly the party biggest problem for long-term survival.
Second of all, if you want the respect of these groups, you have to give respect. No, that doesn’t mean handouts. That does mean treating these groups like they are worthy human beings. That’s the real GOP problem. Your branding effort is just treating the symptom. The Republican Party and conservatives have a bad brand due to how they’ve been treating and talking about their race through their proxy: President Barack Obama.
Think of it this way. To minorities, Barack Obama is a stand in for all minorities (even Hispanics under the category “non-white”). You don’t have to agree on policy or support him just because he’s black. Some don’t. But many do identify with him as a minority and the struggles minorities endure to succeed. That’s not just a black thing. Frank Sinatra was a hero as an Italian who rose above an era where Italians were ridiculed and looked down as lower class. To disparage Old Blue Eyes might find Italians being personally insulted. We see ourselves invested in others like us who rise toward success.
So with that in mind, how people interact with president Barack Obama and how they him treat him does matter to minorities. It works like a rule Bill Swanson, CEO of Raytheon, once mentioned in his book. And it’s now used as a rule of thumb for people on a date. Watch how your date treats the wait staff. How your date treats them is indicative of one’s character and what they think of you or other people when they don’t want or need something from you.
With Obama as the metaphorical wait staff, this test has been going on for the last 4 years for black people and Hispanics. And Republicans have not faired well. From “you lie” to false claims about the president’s citizen ship to tinged racial message around the president and First Lady, blacks and Hispanics have seen how the GOP treats groups they feel they don’t have to impress when they were focused on winning over mostly just the white vote to win elections. It’s not different that a date being nice to you but berating the wait staff. The wait staff they treat as beneath them or can do anything for him. So your date feels free to express more raw and rude feelings. So how superior they think they are.
In courting minorities, it’s like dating someone who degrades women, but that person also tells you they’ll make a good boyfriend. The message won’t jibe until that person shows they treat people better in general. That’s not agreeing in policy. Just stop blending policy with personal and racial attacks. Perhaps just not calling a woman who disagrees with you a “ho.” And in the same sense, not implying black people are lazy, takers, or not legitimate Americans over policy disagreements.
Until that gets resolved. All the outreach in the world won’t make a difference because of the bigger message Republican’s continue to send with words like “takers,”: we think you’re beneath us.
Colin Powell had it right in his last Meet the Press interview. Might want to listen to him.