(The Root) — I genuinely try to listen to black Republicans when they’re explaining why blacks should want to be a part of the Grand Old Party. The problem with that is then I end up hearing things like this.
The Rev. C.L. Bryant:
Yes, indeed I do. in fact, there is a culture of dependency that has been groomed by the Democrat Party over a period of 50 years. A distortion of history even over that 50-year period of time. Many black people have forgotten that it was Democrats who stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block black students from going there. It was Democrats who Eisenhower had to send the National Guard out to Arkansas in order that the Little Rock Nine could go to school in Little Rock. And the history of black people in this country, even the political history, those who were first elected to Congress and to Senate were all Republicans. And the first Democrat elected to the Senate in the United States was Carol Moseley Braun, and the second one was Barack Obama. The history of the Republican Party has always been that of freedom for all people …
Bryant, a former president of the Garland, Texas, chapter of the NAACP, speaks with such confidence, doesn’t he? He doesn’t even hint at the idea that maybe he’s overstepping or greatly generalizing. He effortlessly throws out the tired narrative of “It’s the Democratic Party that’s actually racist!” And while no one argues that the examples he has given were factual, his viewpoint is so heavily skewed and obviously framed that I’m not even sure how he can sit there so calmly serving up this nonsense.
First of all, the Republican Party wasn’t “pro-Negro” while Democrats hunted us with pitchforks. No one was “for” blacks. Neither political party was so loving and caring — nor did they simply want what was best for the black community. Black Democrats aren’t confused on that particular fact.
But what’s missing from this lovely framing of history in order to make a flawed point is that it cherry-picks history, and things have changed a great deal. What about the Lily-White Movement? What about the Southern strategy? What about the Republican primaries just early this year? What about Mitt Romney at the NAACP conference?