Monday, September 25, 2006
Young Black Democrats Needs To Connect With Young Black Republicans by Akindele Akinyemi
I attended the Democratic African American Leadership Summit Reception in Downtown Detroit on Saturday night to meet and greet some of our young political pundits on the Democratic side in Detroit.
For once, I was impressed and of course I support events like this because I feel it is important to create dialogue on both sides of the aisle.
But I have to point out something important about these types of events.
I find it very interesting to see young Black Democrats who are part of the political process never come to ANY Black Republican events OR even find the facts about the Republican Party.
I have stated many times that in order for Detroit to succeed politically it needs political balance. We cannot continue voting Democrat on automatic.
It is a well known fact that I have visited the Granholm camp several times (including the Governor's kickoff celebration) but I have never seen ANY young Black Democrats visit our brothers and sisters at the DeVos camp. In fact, when I go visit the Granholm camp I never have to engage in debate because they know who I am supporting and I know who they are supporting. What I am working on is trying to find common ground between both groups and build a consistent One Detroit Network for our families.
But it seems like our young Democrat counterparts do not wish to engage in real dialogue as a group and that is troubling.
I also went to the Michigan Democratic State Convention this past August AFTER spending two days in Novi with the Michigan Republican State Convention. While I made my presence, I did not see ONE Black Democrat at the Republican convention trying to build serious bridges for our community. This is absurd.
I would encourage our young Black Democratic delegation to stop by the DeVos camp in Detroit to discuss issues with us. You will find that we too want a change in Michigan.
The other thing I would like to point out is how our young Black Democrats are blindly supporting Jennifer Granholm for re-election. I said blindly because most of our young pundits who I know personally are business owners. Just by listening to their dialogue on DeVos I knew right away that they had no clue who or what DeVos stands for. They are supporting the Governor because she is a Democrat. More sadly, it's a "Black" thing to be in the Democratic Party when race is only a fear factor that is keeping us down in Detroit.
However, some of our young people attend churches and religious institutions that contradict the Democraitc philosophy. You cannot be a conservative on Sunday and be a liberal Monday-Saturday. This type of lifestyle leads to confusion and therefore they are halfway prepared to lead.
I would like to encourage our young brothers and sisters in the Democratic camp to take time out and research what you are into. Do you want to be part of a party that uses race as a measure of success? How come the Michigan Democrats could not pick two African Americans to be on the ticket instead of one? How come your chairman, Mark Brewer, is always dividing the party up on race? Is that fair to those who want to achieve leadership in the Democratic Party in Michigan?
What's funny is that I hear all types of stereotypes from our young Democrats in Detroit about the Michigan Republicans. 95% of those I speak to do not even know that the Michigan Republicans have a sister who runs the ethnic collations. Many do not know that the person responsible for DeVos's African American Statewide Outreach and Detroit Outreach is a sister.
Many do not know that when we had our Diversity Caucus at the Republican convention (that we did not have to pay for unlike the African American Leadership Summit) it was mostly young Black Republicans from all over the state.
Again, where was the young Black Democrats? And how come they hide during this season? What's funny is that the only people the young Black Democrats can name as a young Black Republican is Robert Shumake and Akindele Akinyemi. They never get a chance to really KNOW us.
All I'm saying is look at things from OUR perspective sometimes. We are Black Republicans because of our moral and educational values that translates into economic prosperity.