I was one of those rare species: a black Republican, the guy willing to spit into the wind of conventional thought, who was often showcased on camera at party events to prove inclusiveness.
But as a proud black man, I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party.
I have had the pleasure of serving as president of the Sacramento Republican Assembly, a term as a member of the California Republican Party executive committee, and most recently as treasurer of the Sacramento County Republican Party.
Last year alone, I donated more than 400 hours of my time to the Republican Party and made financial contributions to a number of Republican candidates.
As of late, however, when I look at myself in the mirror there is one question which perplexes me: Can I, in good conscience, remain affiliated with an organization whose message purveyors of racism and bigotry find attractive?
Generally speaking, Republicans are decent people, and naturally, many of my closest friends vote Republican. As with any large organization or group, there will always be people at the fringes who hold views that are not representative of the body.
An organization cannot control the behavior of each individual actor, but it can control its response to abhorrent conduct.
The latest incident in a string of tawdry, race-based actions was the promotion of a racist cartoon by elected Orange County Republican Party Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport. The cartoon depicted President Barack Obama and his parents as chimpanzees, while simultaneously implying that the president is not a legitimate American, but rather an African-born interloper.
What does that have to do with my Project 21 experience?
Here is the short version because I'm on a tech blitz to learn something and I'm taking a break.
Some time ago, I started asking questions of the then head of Project 21. After some back and forth, he invited me to be a member of an email list and I accepted. That list had a number of Black Republicans and Black conservatives on it. I lurked for a little be to get an understanding of what was going on before I chimed in. During that time, the FIRST Trent Lott association with the Council of Conservative Citizens came up. The list lit up with people saying they were tired of this kind of crap and the minority outreach group within the Republican party needed to make a public denouncement. Others said nothing needs to be said publicly but something should be done behind the scenes. Others said NOTHING AT ALL should happen and all should move on. That was the position of a person who was chair if the Republican minority outreach "effort" as well as some others.
At that time, I saw accusations of sellout being used and a non-response would be a justification of non-Republican Blacks calling Black Republicans Uncle Tom. At that time, I was under the idea that all active party Black Republicans were on the same page and considered the charges of Uncle Tom as being unfair. However, some of THEM were calling others names and some of THEM were saying the larger Black community is some what justified in their views of the Republican party.
Since then my approach to public Black Republicans has changed and now that I am one -- at least for now anyway -- my arguments are more nuanced and come from an inside perspective.
The article the quote comes from is, really, nothing. The IN DEPTH thoughts of Ken Barnes are provided in this radio interview. I'm telling you, this interview is SERIOUS and, as I have maintained, once again PROVES the general idea of the Republican party not being hospitable to Blacks, cannot be dismissed. That's even with Ken Blackwell or Allen West or Herman Cain or the likes, taken into consideration.
Listen to the man talk about WORKING FROM THE INSIDE and his frustrations over what continued to happen.