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It’s always interesting to see the reaction of the black community when someone from the Left makes a racial comment as opposed to someone from the right. Note, I said racial, not racist. To point this out, what has the community had to say about new DNC Chair and former Presidential candidate Howard Dean’s comments to the DNC’s Black Caucus about the Republican Party’s ability to attract African-Americans?

At the conference, Dean said:

“You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”

Not only were those in attendance not offended, they clapped and applauded. I’m not sure I understand because I don’t consider myself a very politically correct person. I’m not one of those sensitive people who thinks everyone, especially white folks, need to watch what they say, but I was a little offended. It was clear to me that he was making a class judgment by assuming all the hotel staff there was black. He wasn’t talking about the executive offices; he meant the service people and we all know that.

Of course there were some black Republicans and others on the Right who took him to task immediately, but the response is only 1/10th of a percent it would be if a Republican had said something similar. I wouldn’t call him racist like others are calling him, because that is too serious a label to apply to an insensitive joke, but I would request an explanation. I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend, but I was a little offended, so clarify for me. And while you’re at it, let’s talk about your history of appealing to blacks and…Oh, that’s right, Vermont doesn’t have any black people.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s because he is a former Governor of Vermont who had no visible record of connecting with blacks on a state level or a national level that it rubbed me the wrong way. If it had been Clinton, I probably wouldn’t have even recognized it. But then again, I don’t think Clinton would have said something like that. He’s got too much political savvy and it appears that Dean, as good a guy as he seems and he does seem like a good guy, doesn’t. Let’s face it, we’re talking about the man who said he wanted to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks. Let’s not even talk about the scream.

I don’t believe in double standards. I disagree with those people who think its okay for black folks to say stuff about white people that white people can’t say about us. Neither do I think the fact that the Democratic Party gets 90% of the black vote provides an excuse for “black jokes.” Yes, it does give them more room than Republicans, but I’ll bet this administration can say they appointed more blacks to high positions than Dean has ever done in his entire political career.

Politics seems to really embrace this racial double standard. We saw it when Bush nominated Condi Rice for Secretary of State. Some of the statements and cartoons about her were completely offensive and racial if not downright racist. Some were so bad that black leaders took a stand and chastised those who made the derogatory comments. I wonder what black leaders, not standard Republican spokespersons, will have to say about this?

NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story
The Washington Times: Howard Dean’s mouth
Townhall: Star Parker: Dean, Dems frozen in time warp
WJZ 13: Dean’s Comments Anger Steele
Washington Post: Another Dean Scream
Blogcritics.org: What Was Howard Dean Thinking?!

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About awinters


  • And since you referenced the previous blogcritics post, do you think anything new will be said here? you haven’t framed it any different;ly, except less angrily. Are you just refusing to understand?

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

    Political correctness be damned. It’s time for a drag out family feud in this country where we air our dirty laundry once and for all. Let’s get it all on the table, thrash it out, and walk away with solutions. The Black community has plenty to be pissed off about. So do whites, orientals and most of all Native Americans. I agree Bush has done more than any president I can think of in terms of appointing “minorities” to the Administration. Does that make him the patron saint of racial harmony? Give me a break.

  • P6

    Actually, racial sensitivity doesn’t apply to the right at all.

  • sydney

    It does seem like a clumsy statement. however, Dean was maybe trying to acknowledge how unacceptable it’s is that in 2005 blacks are still mostly occupying low-income jobs? …while also making fun of the fact that those are the only blacks likely to turn up at a republican convention. I don’t know.

    The statement is definitely loaded and ripe for misinterpretation. I’d say it was careless and he should apologize for his poor wording. End of story.

  • billy

    what i find the most offensive is that republicans promote minorities, who then immediately work against the common good of their communities and race. then the republicans play the race card and say “see, i appointed more minorities than you” that i feel is racist in and of itself. the color is irrelevant. it is what they do to help the minorities that counts.

  • I agree with Billy – it wasn’t the politically correct thing to say, but for Republicans to act all bent out of shape over something like this is absurd.

    When conservatives have gotten flack recently, it is because the things they said were genuinely offensive. Dean’s comment is very different from Trent Lott’s comment, in which he suggested that it would have been a good thing if Strom Thurmond had won the presidency running on an anti-civil rights platform. Sure, Dean was politically incorrect, but he didn’t say that the country would be a better place if we still had Jim Crow laws.

    And let’s not forget the reason why conservatives have historically had worse reputation on racial issues – not because of some “liberal media” conspiracy, but because many prominent conservatives opposed the civil rights movement. When UNC-Chapel Hill admitted black students, Jesse Helms called the school “the University of Negroes and Communists.” You can say that was a long time ago, but he was still NC’s Senator until just a couple years ago.

  • Kevin Maxwell

    The fact of the matter is that there are more Latino(as)/Hispanics working in the hotel industries than blacks. In as much, Dean’s comment appears to suggest an analogy of the commitment of the Right to embrace blacks rather than a racial slur. I agree with Silas Kain, this country need to address the racial issue candidly once and for all and put it to rest. As the adage goes, “United we stand ,divide we fall”. If we continue to allow race to divide this country, we will never move forward in a meaningful way.