You know we’ve come a long way when our idea of racism has moved from fire hoses and segregation to a black congresswoman’s outrage at not being recognized by a Capitol Hill policeman.
Rep. Cynthia McKinney is now sulking in lonely indignity as her latest claims about racial profiling have even embarrassed her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. Reports are that caucus members advised her to back off and that even highly respected civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis, D., Ga., suggested she “lower the temperature and stop holding press conferences.”
Only a member of Congress as detached from reality as Ms. McKinney could not appreciate the destructiveness of her behavior. Voters are fed up with their representatives in Washington. The latest polling done by Fox News shows that a 36 percent approval rating for President Bush actually looks good compared to the 29 that both Democrat and Republican members of Congress get.
Hope on the part of Democrats is, with the President faltering and former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay bidding farewell amidst scandal, that this is their golden opportunity to regain credibility and recapture American hearts, minds and the Congress.
Enter the wild Democrat congresswoman from Georgia, breezing past a security policeman in a House office building wearing no Congressional identity pin, and then claiming racism and racial profiling when he tries to stop her. Is it any wonder that there isn’t a Democrat, black or white, who is interested in defending her?
Every traveling American, me regularly among them, suffers indignities going through airport security. We hate it but we know there’s no choice.
A new film recently released about United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11 is being received to skittish audiences around the country. One Manhattan theater pulled the film. In an audience in Los Angeles there were calls of “too soon.”
Security is no joke in America. But Cynthia McKinney’s judgment is very humorous. She is out of touch as a black as well as an American.
It is a sign of the times that we hardly give a second thought to the fact that our Secretary of State is a black woman. If a poll had been done in 1964 asking Americans to assess the likelihood that within 40 years we would have a black woman as Secretary of State, who would have assigned this any significant probability?
Yet, today we take it for granted. And, ironically, this is happening at a time when nations with whom we have particularly vital business, Islamic nations in the Middle East and Asia, are blatantly sexist. We send a black woman to represent American interests with nations where women are second-class citizens.
Condoleezza Rice is the one prominent member of the Bush Administration who continues to poll well and remains a favorite among all Americans.
There simply is no way that black children are not impacted by seeing clips on TV of a black woman descending from an official United States aircraft and greeted by foreign heads of state.
Our reality is changing and for the better.
As I read black journalists, most of them liberal, I see more and more acknowledging the fact that problems in the black community today, the horrible circumstances that persist in our inner cities, result from breakdown in our own communities and families. Claims attributing black social and economic problems to racism are increasingly rare.
Polls and studies show growing independence in black political attitudes and that the conservative social agenda has great import.
According to The Washington Post, a report just done by a Democratic polling consultant for the Democratic National Committee shows that Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, a black Republican, has excellent prospects for capturing the Senate seat in one of the nation’s bluest states. According to the Post, the report says “a sizable segment of likely black voters _ as much as 44 percent _ would readily abandon their historic Democratic allegiances “after hearing Steele’s messaging.”
The report shows that Steele has more than 50 percent support from all black voters under 45 and from weekly churchgoers.
Black America is looking for and responding to positive messages for taking responsibility for our own lives and on which to build and go forward.
When Trent Lott clearly got out of step with the positive message of his party, he got the hint and stepped down from his leadership post in the Senate.
This is an example Cynthia McKinney should follow. Her strident, divisive, and inappropriate racial politics are not for this time. It’s time for Ms. McKinney to go home. Let’s hope she gets the hint.
(Star Parker is president of CURE, the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, and author of “White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.”)