Congressional Black Caucus: Blacks Only

A white guy got elected to a black-majority congressional district. So he figured he should join the Congressional Black Caucus, following in the lead of his predecessor, Harold Ford, Jr. Afterall, he assumed, the Congressional Black Caucus centers on issues pertinent to black people (albeit from a far left perspective only). Unlike perhaps any other white congressman or senator, a majority of his staff is black, including his Chief of Staff. Answer to his request: Blacks only.

Turns out that the Congressional Black Caucus also works to defeat incumbent honkey democrats facing black challengers in the primaries. Very interesting. I wonder how its members would feel if any white legislators worked to defeat black incumbents in primaries... or if they made crackerness a requirement to join some other caucus.

For shame.


uptownseteve said...

Dem negroes sho am terrible, huh Paul?

You surf the web for examples of "blacks behaving badly", don't you?

Pathetic racist.

How come we haven't seen this story any place else?

Paul Hue said...

Steve: You have a compulsion for calling me a racist, but you have never justified it. My opposition to congressmen forming a black-only caucus hardly qualifies me as a racist, by any sensible definition; instead it qualifies those congressmen. It also qualifies you, since you only apply this label to my view based on your categorization of me by race.

uptownseteve said...

From what I've read, Cohen was not banned from CBC, he decided not to join.

And why wasn't this story on the national media circuit if it was actually true?

And don't give me the "liberal media" bullcrap.

Fox News would have been all over it.

uptownseteve said...


I've googled and yahoo this so-called "story" and the only place you see mention is on rightwing blogs.

Just like I thought.

Total bull$hit.

Paul Hue said...

Steve: Maybe it is a fake. But Drudge posted it, and he has a good record for accurate posts. It seems to me, though, that if it is true, you oppose the alleged action here, and believe that the congressional black caucus should lack a race requirement.

Paul Hue said...

Confirmed by the Washington Times, which includes a declaration of "liberal" preference also by a founding member:


And the Black Commentator:


The Washington Times article claims that a second white -- and also jewish -- candidate from Brooklyn also promised his black-majority constituents that if they elected him he would apply for membership. This means that if voters value having their congressman belonging to the CBC, they should vote only for black candidates.

The Black Commentator article describes the honkey jew Tennessee congressman who replaced Ford as more liberal than Ford, and perhaps even thus more ideologically representative of those constituents.

I wonder how the CBC decides who is black; what is their process and procedure?

It makes sense to me to have a caucus devoted to the advancement and interests of black folks. And it makes sense to have a requirement a demonstration of interest in and devotion to that topic. But to have an outright racial qualification, that appears to me to be unethical and perhaps even illegal.

Also the de facto "liberal" requirement I find insulting and counter productive. Many people devoted to the advancement of black folks have honestly decided on a libertarian or conservative path.

uptownseteve said...

My God man, have you no shame?

Those links were both bogus.

If they are valid, cut and paste the text here.

"Also the de facto "liberal" requirement I find insulting and counter productive. Many people devoted to the advancement of black folks have honestly decided on a libertarian or conservative path."

Who cares what you find insulting.

Most black conservatives are devoted only to the advancement of themselves.

Paul Hue said...

"From what I've read, Cohen was not banned from CBC, he decided not to join." At the point that you wrote this Steve, you claimed that this "so-called story" appeared only "right winged blogs." So, these "right winged blogs" invented a story to make the CBC look racist, but only went so far as to have Cohen "decide not to join."

Also, before you confirmed this story, you filed it under "negros behaving badly." Now that you have confirmed the story, to you still oppose the CBC banning non-blacks?

As to the point made in the Black Commentator essay on this story, I also oppose caucuses devoted to women, Latinos, muslims, etc. imposing gender and race qualifications.

I am especially curious as to how anybody qualifies as "Latino"; all attempts at racism disintegrate when it comes time to apply racial assessments and categorizations. This is especially preposterous when it comes to latinos/chicanos/hispanics/mexicans/etc., because Spain is a nation of honkeys just like England, and the Spanish conquerers and colonialists were just as honkey as were the English and French. But somehow Spanish sir names, but not English or French, have come to indicate "latino, etc".

Does the 100% honkey child of today's Spanish president qualify as "latino" if he moves to the US?

Paul Hue said...

Steve: The links I posted are complete and correct. Are you copying all the way down to the .html?

Clarence Thomas' adopting of his crack-baby niece offers just one of an infinate number of arguments against your conclusion that "most black conservatives care only about themselves."

uptownseteve said...

The links are still bogus.

Why don't you cut and paste the text?

And Thomas adopted his great nephew who was NOT a crack baby.

Once again, have you NO shame?

Paul Hue said...

Blacks only welcome in Hill caucus
By Brian DeBose
Published September 8, 2006

It is "critical" that the Congressional Black Caucus remain an all-black organization, one of the CBC's founders has said in a strategy memo.
"The CBC welcomes support from others in the House and Senate, especially those with liberal credentials, but it is critical that its membership remain exclusively African American," retired Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr. wrote earlier this year to the CBC.
Mr. Clay's letter -- distributed by his son, Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., Missouri Democrat -- prompted a CBC meeting before the August recess.
"The members have discussed it, and we supported the tradition that only African-Americans have been full members of the CBC, but as always we will work with anyone as our coalition partners and some have become honorary members," said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, who has been all but confirmed as the caucus' chairman for the 110th Congress.
The Clay letter was written in response to concerns that two Jewish congressional candidates, Tennessee state Rep. Steve Cohen and New York City Councilman David Yassky, both Democrats, would apply for CBC membership if elected from majority-black districts.
Neither candidate has announced plans to seek CBC membership, and some caucus members were skeptical of suggestions they would, with one CBC member saying that such talk might be "political ploys to bolster their image with the black constituency they are seeking to represent."
But with Election Day still two months away, the question addressed by the Clay letter remains hypothetical.
"And that is just the point," said one CBC member, who did not wish to be identified. "We should not be taking a position on an academic question considering neither of these guys has been elected."
In his letter, Mr. Clay said the CBC would work with whites, Asians and Pacific islanders, Hispanics, Democrats, and Republicans to move legislation that furthers its agenda, but only blacks can be official voting members.
Mr. Clay recalled that Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat, attempted to join the organization in 1975. "Although Stark was sincere, intentions honest and honorable and record on civil rights impeccable, after thoughtfully and thoroughly examining the issue, a formal vote was taken that rejected his application," Mr. Clay wrote.
The issue arose this summer because of two unusual situations for Democrats.
In Tennessee's 9th District, after Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. opted to run for Senate, 15 Democrats entered the campaign for the seat, which had previously been held by Mr. Ford's father. Mr. Cohen won the Aug. 3 primary with 31 percent of the vote in the Memphis-area district, where 60 percent of voters are black. Mr. Cohen will face Republican Mark White and independent candidate Jake Ford, Harold Jr.'s brother, in November.
A similar situation could occur after next week's Democratic primary in New York's 11th District, where Rep. Major R. Owens is retiring. That Brooklyn district is nearly 60 percent black, as are Mr. Yassky's three rivals for the nomination. But in the four-way primary, Mr. Yassky -- who has raised $1.4 million for the campaign -- may emerge as a plurality winner in the solidly Democratic district.
No white politician has held the seat since 1960 when a federal judge ordered the district be reapportioned, and it has historical significance as it was once held by Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and to run for the presidency in 1972. Mr. Owens -- whose son is a candidate for the seat -- has called Mr. Yassky a "colonizer."
Mr. Yassky has not said he intends to apply for CBC membership. "He has never said he would; he would certainly like to work with them, but it is not up to him. It is [the CBC's] decision on whether he can join," said Yassky spokesman Evan Theis.
The issue of white politicians attempting to join black political groups came up most recently last year in Tennessee when state Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Republican from Knoxville, attempted to join the Tennessee Black Caucus. After his application was rejected, Mr. Campfield angered black lawmakers by saying the group's bylaws were more exclusionary than the Ku Klux Klan.
In the past, the Congressional Black Caucus has been criticized by some black Republicans. Former Rep. Gary A. Franks, Connecticut Republican, was nearly ousted from the group for opposing the creation of majority-minority districts. The CBC's chairman at the time, Kweisi Mfume -- the Maryland Democrat who is currently running for Senate -- intervened and made it clear that the group was bipartisan.

Copyright © 2007 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Paul Hue said...

I Want to Be Black, Please

Nearly 50 years ago, the legendary comedian Groucho Marx puffed on a cigar while raising his eyebrows and joking “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member” and the world laughed at the absurdity (and irony) of his declaration. Just as absurd, but not as amusing, is insisting that you be allowed to join a club that would no longer be the organization it is, were you to become a member.

Several months ago, while campaigning in the predominately Black district of Memphis (9th district), Tennessee Democratic congressman-elect, Steve Cohen pledged that he would seek to become "the first white member" of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). A strange promise for someone white, but a promise nonetheless.

The congressional seat vacated by Harold Ford Jr. had long been coveted by Cohen, the native Memphian, who after losing to Ford Jr. in 1996, was quoted as saying "It is impossible for a person who is not African American to get a large vote in the African American community ... against a substantial candidate… The fact is, I am white, and it doesn't seem to matter what you do." Translation: gosh darn it, white guys just can't get a break!

Ten years later Cohen is the first Jewish person ever sent to the House from a majority black district and the first white ever to apply to the CBC.

Tennessean columnist Larry Daughtrey described Cohen as "probably the most liberal white member in the legislature," and "perhaps even more so than most of the black members." Unlike his predecessor Ford Jr., Cohen is very much on the left of most social issues, including support for civil unions, abortion rights, separation of church and state, and giving ex-felons the right to vote. And most impressively he has pushed for an income tax in a state that has for years been adamantly opposed to one. It is true that Cohen’s voting record demonstrates that he just might be more aligned with his constituency than his predecessor.

In spite of the fact that Mr. Cohen promoted himself as the best candidate, and he may be because of his relationships and accomplishments within the predominately Black district, he maintains that in order to best serve them, he should be given special dispensation, allowing him to be a voting member of the Congressional Black Caucus, even though the main requirement of membership is being Black.

By that should we assume that although Mr. Cohen implied during the campaign that he didn’t need to be Black to serve a predominately Black district, that he has now changed his mind?

Cohen is not the first white man to express interest in membership of an all-Black caucus. In September 2005, Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Republican, also white and from Tennessee, raised a ruckus about joining the General Assembly’s Black Caucus, claiming that in order to better represent his minority constituents, he should be permitted to join.

After failing at his insincere attempt, and getting four and a half minutes of fame on Fox News, Campfield likened the group to the KKK. As told to the Associated Press, his “understanding is that the KKK doesn’t even ban members by race.” He added the KKK “has less racist bylaws” than the Black Caucus. All of this was done under the guise that Mr. Campfield was only concerned about his minority constituents and wanted to know more about their issues.

The Tennessee Black Caucus offers an “honorary membership” for "those persons whose beliefs and actions contribute to the purpose for which this caucus was formed". Needless to say, Campfield’s intentions were not deemed “honorable” and he was duly declined.

The CBC’s position is clear in that the caucus remain an all-black organization. In September 2006, the Washington Post quoted Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, a Michigan Democrat, as saying, “ The members have discussed it, and we supported the tradition that only African-Americans have been full members of the CBC, but as always we will work with anyone as our coalition partners and some have become honorary members.”

Unlike Campfield, Mr. Cohen’s intentions don’t seem questionable and he has certainly not verbally assaulted (or insulted) the very organization he wants to join. And unlike Campfield, Cohen’s past record indicates that he does indeed care about the interests of his African American constituency, and by most accounts, he is thought a worthy and dedicated public servant.

But as admirable as it is for Mr. Cohen to be committed to understanding the needs of his constituents, it seems he does not comprehend (or respect) the basic need for people of color to meet freely, to strategize and fraternize and vote with brothers and sisters of color who face similar challenges as Black elected officials. The name of the organization makes clear the purpose and parameters of the caucus. It is not, after all, called the “‘Congressional Black-and-all-you-white-folks-down-with-our-cause Caucus’. It is simply the Congressional Black Caucus.

There are caucuses for Women, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, African descendants - all, who for obvious reasons, have formed organizations and coalitions for the very purpose of creating environments that are supportive and safe, and are not encumbered by a dominant majority-influenced agenda.

Will Mr. Cohen and other males who represent minority districts be requesting membership to the Congressional Women’s Caucus so they can fully understand the needs of their female constituents? Probably, not.

Several years ago, at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa, there were hundreds of caucuses formed throughout the two weeks and anyone in attendance would be hard pressed to deny the power harnessed when those with common histories and experiences joined forces. It was palpable.

As the only non-black member of an NGO delegation, it was challenging not to resist and resent being excluded from caucuses where those who were ‘classified as white’ were not invited. But very quickly, it became evident that the role required for some of us was not one of leadership, but of forming alliances and learning how to become a trusted ally. The ultimate challenge was serving, rather than driving, the agenda. A novel concept for someone accustomed to steering the wheel.

Dr. Ray Winbush, Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University in Baltimore admires Cohen for his public service and says: “Frankly, it is surprising and disappointing that Steve isn’t more sensitive, especially with his being Jewish. Of all people, he (Cohen) should understand the importance of ethnic caucuses where strategies can be formed. Creating allies and solidifying relationships in Washington with members of the CBC is more important and respectful than requiring membership.”

And so now it seems that someone at the Congressional Black Caucus will draw the short straw and have to take Mr. Cohen to lunch and gently ‘break it down’ for him and explain why perhaps it is inappropriate that he be admitted to the CBC and how many people of color might find his assertion and insistence offensive. Not a pleasant task when you consider that many of us liberal white folks don’t like being told we aren’t ‘allowed’ and don’t take kindly to exclusion.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cohen, requesting that he become a member of the Black Caucus only raises questions as to his ability to truly understand the needs of those he represents and what their struggles are. If he doesn’t grasp the value of the Congressional Black Caucus as a Black organization and instead allows his desire to be ‘the exception’ to override his good judgment, he may raise more than eyebrows on Capitol Hill.

Molly Secours is a writer/filmmaker/speaker and frequent co-host on “Behind The Headlines” and “FreeStyle” on 88.1 WFSK in Nashville. She can be reached at www.myspace.com/mollysecours or www.mollysecours.com. Click here to contact Ms. Secours.

Paul Hue said...

Oh, excuse me: Clarence Thomas' grand-nephew, and perhaps he's not a "crack baby", but his dad (CT's nephew) is in prison on cocaine dealing charges, and the mother "has her own problems". In any case, any attempts to characterize (might I say, "stereotype") black conservatives as "caring only about themselves" will find an abundance of contradictions among the facts, including this effort by CT, regardless of the child's status as a "crack baby." Is this the best you can do, Steve? Assail my claim because the child's dad is in prison for drugs, and his mom's problems are vaguely describe (in so far as I can document them in my 3 minute search)?


Paul Hue said...

The accuracy in your assessments of me, Clarance Thomas, and my recollection of his adoption situation coincide with your assessments of my weblinks as "bogus". Your browser somehow couldn't access them, and you became instantly convinced beyond any doubt that I had invented them. This is a very telling indication of your reasoning abilities.

uptownseteve said...

"but his dad (CT's nephew) is in prison on cocaine dealing charges, and the mother "has her own problems"."

Proof please.

uptownseteve said...

Nowhere in either of your posts does it state that Cohen was denied membership in the CBC.

Paul Hue said...

Hey, do your own Clarence Thomas research. I posted one link. This is very common knowledge. He adopted a kid, in violation of your stereotype of black conservatives. If this were the only example of a black conservative "caring about people other than himself", your stereotype would stand. Instead, you can find zero support for your contention that black conservatives are any less likely than black liberals to help others in any way, except in supporting liberal proposals, which is where black conservatives are defined: they believe that liberal solutions end up helping fewer people than do conservative solutions.

As for the honkey Cohen getting rejected from the CBC, you interpret the comments by the CBC members any way you like. I interpret them the way you would if some white guys had said the same things about a black guy trying to join an all-white club: racial criteria, which Cohen failed.

uptownseteve said...

Cohen didn't get "rejected" you pathetic liar.

He decided not to join.

And I know damn well that responsible people like John Lewis, Al Wynn and Charles Rangel could justify discrimination on the basis of race.

The whole story is garbage and you know it.

Paul Hue said...

Why did he "decide not to join"?

What if he hadn't? Based on what those "responsible people" have said, would they have accepted his application? If not, on the basis of what?

How can "responsible people" "justify discrimination on the basis of race"?

Nadir said...

Why does it bother anyone if it was made clear to Cohen that he shouldn't try to join the Congressional Black Caucus? If you read The Black Commentator, you'll see that the CBC has its problems just like any other clique or caucus in Congress. Black Commentator publishes a CBC report card that shows the caucus's members don't always act in the best interest of the majority of their Black constituents. (Harold Ford is at the top of that list.)

Cohen could probably do more good for his district by being the voice of reason in white circles than he could in the CBC. And there is nothing wrong with him lobbying CBC members from the outside.

I won't argue that there is no need for racially based organizations. I believe they still have a place. There are issues that Black communities and Latino communities face that others do not. There is a progressive caucus. There could be a rural caucus and an urban district caucus.

This isn't discrimination. It is a reality of American life. While Cohen's district will face many of the issues that are in common with those of CBC members, he will be of better use as "the spook who sat by the door" in meetings with white members, if he is serious about helping the Black folks of Memphis.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: Just because it's a "reality" doesn't mean it's not discrimination. How is it not racial discrimination? Even if you think he is a better help to the liberal/leftist agenda as the "honkey/spook who sat by the door," that doesn't nullify this act of racial discrimination... by an outfit that supposedly devotes itself to combating racial discrimination!

All racists can justify their racism. Maybe some KKKers will kick you out of your home because they decide "you are better off in Detroit".

Should we end racial discrimination or not? Should we only elminate racial discrmination that's unsanctioned by you and the CBC?

uptownseteve said...

"How can "responsible people" "justify discrimination on the basis of race"?"

I meant to type that they "couldn't" justify discrimination on the basis of race.

uptownseteve said...

Paul's outrage as usual is selective.

Hey Paul, was it incredibly wrong for former Republican Governor of Maryland Bob Ehrlich to hold a fundraiser at a "whites-only" country club?

And if so, wasn't black Lt Governor Michael Steele's reaction ("it was no big deal") repulsive?

uptownseteve said...



Nadir said...

Paul's outrage is always selective.

From Wikipedia:

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., the son of Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, is quoted as saying, "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. It's time to move on. It's an unwritten rule. It's understood." In response to the decision, Rep. Cohen stated, "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in."

At the same time, Black Republicans have refused to join. Is that discrimination on the part of those Republicans?

I admire Cohen's stated desire to help his district. Ultimately, he will be responsible for his Black constituents. But he would be a distraction in the caucus.

Though Paul says white people don't talk differently when Blacks are not around, I will admit that Black folks talk differently when whites are not around. On certain levels they wouldn't be able to get business done.

Just like the Latino caucus probabaly wouldn't allow Cohen to join... Just like the progressive caucus wouldn't allow a Republican to join... Just like the Republican Party wouldn't nominate Ted Kennedy to run for president on the Republican ticket...

White folks don't need a caucus. They caucus all the time in corporate boardrooms where they are the only ones present. On mainstream media editorial boards, in country club locker rooms...

Why would Cohen want to sit and the Black Caucus table? White folks own the table. He doesn't have to be there.

Black folks need to be able to talk honestly and openly with one another. They need to be able to get rowdy and loud if it's necessary. Culturally, Cohen probably wouldn't fit in, and it would change the dynamic of the caucus.

This is nothing against Cohen. Again, he will probably get more done outside the caucus. Dennis Kucinich has a large number of Blacks in his Cleveland district. He operates in the Progressive Caucus. Cohen should take his example.

Paul Hue said...

"At the same time, Black Republicans have refused to join. Is that discrimination on the part of those Republicans?"

It's not RACIAL discrimination. They refuse to join not because they refuse to join black-majority clubs. The refuse to join because it is also a LIBERAL club... and perhaps also they refuse to join clubs that practice RACIAL discrimination, which the CBC does.

uptownseteve said...

"Although Paul says white people don't talk differently when Blacks are not around, I will admit that Black folks talk differently when whites are not around."

Paul is full of dung.

I've HEARD whites, who assumed there were no blacks around, freely using racial slurs when discussing their black colleagues.

"White folks don't need a caucus. They caucus all the time in corporate boardrooms where they are the only ones present. On mainstream media editorial boards, in country club locker rooms..."

Hell, given that the Congress is 90% white, a white caucus would be redundant, wouldn't it?

Paul Hue said...

"Just like the progressive caucus wouldn't allow a Republican to join... Just like the Republican Party wouldn't nominate Ted Kennedy to run for president on the Republican ticket..."

But these are not examples of RACIAL discrimination, which is rightfully (in my opinion) banned by law. Nadir and Steve apparently believe that RACIAL discrimination is OK for non-whites. Nadir has all sorts of rationales for why it is OK for the CBC to practice RACIAL discrimination, but he would accept zero rationales for any whites-only club to practice RACIAL discrimination.

Steve: I agree with you about the republican fundraiser at the whites-only country club (if indeed they ban blacks), and Michael Steele's acceptance of it. I oppose all RACIAL discrimination, but embrace all sorts of other types of discrimination. For example, this morning I practiced discrimination in my selection of coffee.

uptownseteve said...

"Nadir and Steve apparently believe that RACIAL discrimination is OK for non-whites".

No I do not.

I don't believe that this happened or that the CBC refused admission to Cohen.

The articles you produced never confirmed this and consisted mainly of 3rd party interpretation's of what may have happened.

As I said earlier, there is no way that sober, responsible lawmakers like John Lewis Stephanie Tubbs or Al Wynn would attempt to rationalize or justify discrimination.

Paul Hue said...

OK, Steve, I hope you are correct.

Paul Hue said...


Cohen said in a statement that he told a reporter that he would be honored to join the caucus but did not apply, "nor has the CBC denied membership to me." However, the group would not have permitted Cohen to join, its new chairwoman told The Associated Press. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., said the caucus decided early on that official membership would be restricted to blacks.

Steve, to you join me in opposing this position by Kilpatrick and the others who share it (provided that this article accurately reports their view)?

uptownseteve said...

Let's a QUOTE from Kilpatrick.

This is still 2nd hand gossip.

uptownseteve said...

"I wonder how its members would feel if any white legislators worked to defeat black incumbents in primarie."

What planet do you live on Paul?

Sam Katz in Philadelphia, Denise Majette in Georgia and Cory Booker in Newark all received massive monetary contributions from conservative foundations who targeted black incumbents like John Street, Cynthia McKinney and Sharpe James for defeat.

Paul Hue said...

These were white democrats working to defeat black incumbent democrats in primaries? Where they only doing this to black candidates?

I do concede that in the case of the CBC practicing racial discrimination: nobody gets hurt, unlike something like real estate agents trying to steer people to neighborhoods based on race.

But those of us authentically devoted to eliminating real racial discrimination I believe should oppose it wherever it occurs, and not make excuses for it.

I do practice some racial discrimination, I suppose: I have been rooting for the NFL Colts and Bears because I want a black coach to win. I also have been rooting for young black coaches to get hired. And as always I root especially for black kids taking standardized tests.