Republican outreach: Minorities sceptical

2012-11-19 13:00
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baltimore - Latinos, African-Americans and other minorities who helped President Barack Obama win a second term are sceptical about enhanced Republican outreach to their communities, but also say the future of the coalition that shaped the 2012 election may be fragile.

Top Republicans rushed to do damage control last week after Mitt Romney blamed his election loss on what he called an Obama strategy of giving "gifts" to blacks, Latinos and young voters - groups instrumental to the president's re-election victory.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, chairperson of the Republican Governors Association, and other Republicans warned that the party could not broaden its appeal unless it stopped insulting the very voters its was trying to reach.

"We have to really question their motives and how they're tokenising these faces of colour," Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, told activists and organisers at a conference on racial issues in Baltimore this weekend.

She said Latino voters and other minority groups remained on guard given the Republicans' reluctance to embrace immigration reform and other substantive issues. She said it had not escaped notice that most delegates at Republican convention were white despite the inclusion of Latino speakers.

Michael Omi, a leading scholar on US racial politics at the University of California, Berkeley, said the Republican party faced a crisis in how to adapt to changing demographics, which show blacks, Latinos, Asians and others will eclipse whites as a majority of the US population in three decades, without moving away from its core constituency of white males.

Angry white male machine

"All of that amounts to a pretty thin veneer," Omi told more than 1 400 teachers, doctors, artists and others at the "Facing Race" conference hosted by the non-profit Applied Research Centre.

He said it was still unclear if Asian-Americans and Latinos would be increasingly accepted as "honorary whites", which could align them more closely with the Republican party while perpetuating a black-white divide, or if the country would move toward a new, more multi-faceted view of race.

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic when he was a child and now teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the 2012 presidential election clearly reflected growing unease with what he called the Republican party's "angry white male machine".

"People of colour have for the first time in the history of the United States attained a strategic plurality that, when co-ordinated, allowed us to decisively alter the outcome of the presidential campaign in Obama's favour," said Diaz, author of the best-selling novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

But maintaining the new alliances could be tough, given long-standing tensions among various groups, deeply internalised images of white supremacy among minorities and vast economic disparities still in place 50 years after the civil rights movement, Diaz said. "Who knows if the coalition will hold, splinter, collapse or mutate," he added.

Rinku Sen, executive director of the centre that hosted the conference, said she saw growing interest in racial justice issues, including hundreds of grass-roots initiatives focused on immigrant rights, underperforming schools, healthcare, working conditions, human trafficking and mass incarceration.

Uphill battle


Over the past four years, she said, many of those groups began working more closely together, partnering across racial, ethnic and gender lines to support each other.

In Minnesota, for instance, organisers brought together Native Americans, Somali immigrants and others to oppose a voter-identification amendment. In Maryland, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rallied its members to support an amendment legalising same-sex marriage.

Sen said there was also far more attention to racial issues during the 2012 election, but the Republican party faced an uphill battle with non-white voters after remarks like those made by Romney, especially since the Republican policy agenda did not address the needs of large numbers of people of colour.

Republicans in recent years have taken a hard line against the estimated 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, most of whom are Hispanic. During the campaign, Romney called for "self-deportation" of such immigrants.

"Unless they figure out how to adapt their policy platforms to address those needs, I think they're going to continue to have trouble," Sen said during the conference.

At the same time, Sen said a record number of deportations and other issues had left many immigrants and others ambivalent about the Democratic Party as well.

Diaz told reporters the Republican political machine remained strong and well-funded and could still fragment the fledgling coalition whose success in 2012 had surprised many of its own members.

"Just because people have the numbers does not mean they're not going to be captured," he said. "Historically there's been very efficient ways to neutralise numerical advantages."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.