While it is not a unique observation, but The Root and Daily Beast columnist Keli Goff’s column on this disturbing trend is important.
In her column published on Friday, “The Secret War on Black Republicans,” Goff writes and reports on how African-Americans are shamed and intimidated if they come out as Republicans. Often times, they endure far worse treatment from their fellow African-Americans if they run for public office as a Republican.
Citing one recent example in which Florida Republican congressional candidate Gloreatha Scurry-Smith’s face on a campaign billboard was painted white by a vandal, Goff noted how hurtful that experience was for the candidate and her family. She also remarked on how that episode went largely unnoticed by the national media.
“As a black conservative often times you are thought of as an Uncle Tom or perhaps a traitor to your own race,” Smith told Goff.
The Daily Beast columnist also observed that, outside of conservative media outlets, the incident was given little attention. “By comparison,” Goff noted, “a Nebraska parade float that featured an outhouse marked “Obama Presidential Library” drew international press attention last week due to its perceived racial connotations.”
Former Republican National Committee Chairman and Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele shared similar tales of racial abuse with Goff. He noted that his campaign literature was also defaced, that he was called an Uncle Tom, and had Oreo cookies thrown at him during a 2002 debate.
“And there seems to be this attitude they can get away with it and in a large number of ways they do. Because the press does not go after such attitudes the way they would if, for example, a conservative were seen holding a poster of Barack Obama in a disparaging caricature.”
Goff’s indictment continued when she noted that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MD) was never pilloried or required to apologize to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he called him an Uncle Tom. The columnist noted that Thompson’s defense, that he could use that language because he, too, is an African-American, seemed to have put that controversy to bed.
It is an interesting piece, thoroughly reported, and worth the read. Goff is no conservative, and she will find readers who would otherwise tune out a conservative voice discussing this poisonous condition. Her honest reporting in this matter may go a long way toward creating a dialogue around the perception that African-Americans will be mocked and harassed if they express who they truly are.