African-American Republican confronts Priebus: Party treats blacks ‘like we don’t exist’
A Republican African-American woman on Wednesday told RNC chairman Reince Priebus and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that the party treated blacks “like we don’t exist.”
Following a long discussion between Gingrich and Priebus at the 2013 Republican National Committee Summer Meeting about how the party was going to be saved by smartphone apps, the chairman opened the floor for questions from the audience.
“One of the things that I see is that you have this apps machine that you hold is that it’s an Apple machine but it’s made somewhere else that’s out of this country, and how do you get back in the country?” the woman began. “But I live in a world that’s different from most of the people that’s in this RNC, and it’s like we don’t exist.”
“I mean, everybody’s talking about Hispanics, but African-Americans built this country, and continue to be ignored by everybody. And since we’re no longer the largest minority, we get pushed to the bottom,” she said, observing that party bosses seemed to be more interested “high-tech jobs” than “jobs for John Q. Public.”
“Are you really listening to the people who are being pushed down, who are being disenfranchised, who don’t have a pot to whatever in and a window to throw it out of? Because I don’t hear their voices resonating, not in this party, but I don’t hear them in the Democratic Party either. I hear the Democrats saying to us, let us lead you to stay where you are.”
Gingrich explained that he didn’t have all the answers, but he wanted grassroots ideas to figure out “how do we liberate people?”
“I would just suggest to you, we ought to be in the business of liberating every African-American, every Asian-American, every Latino-American small business man or woman,” the former House Speaker insisted. “If you went through the small business communities in your state and said, ‘What would enable you to hire three more people, what do we have to get rid of in terms of government costs for you to hire three more people?’”
Gingrich also pointed out that if every person using public housing in New York City was allowed to earn and own their apartment then they would all be millionaires and would join the Republican Party.
“We don’t even go into the neighborhoods,” he added, turning to Priebus.
“And I want to say, Reince has done the best job of any chairman I have ever seen by reaching out, and if he can drive this into the states — if those of you who are chairmen and executive directors can pick of the rhythm of what he’s trying to do in reaching out to every American of every background, we will be in dramatically better shape by the fall of 2014. Because as [Jack] Kemp use to say, ‘They have to know that you care before they care that you know.’”
Watch this video from NBC News, uploaded on Aug. 14, 2013.