Oh, Rand. Seriously, bro. We gotta talk.
You see, when you went to Howard University earlier this week, everyone kinda raised their eyebrow. Republicans talking to people of color hasn’t really gone so well for the past, oh, hundred years or so. But, still, you’re not the average Republican, and Howard students are among the best, so there was a skeptical but open audience when you got there.
Your reception was luke warm at best. Most people who saw you thought you were dishonest and condescending. It is generally my policy to point and laugh when Republicans fall flat on their faces in this manner. However, you’re probably the second best Republican we’ve got, so, in the interest of advancing liberty, Imma give you some tips.
1. Be Humble
When you approach a group of people who have been historically trashed by the entity that you represent (the government, the Republican Party, take your pick), you have to realize that you have no high ground whatsoever. Realize that, as a person of power and privilege, you don’t know what it’s like to be disenfranchised. Don’t even try to pretend that you do. Admit you don’t know, and that’s a fine place to start.
The thing about being a sociopolitical minority is that you grow very used to people talking at you. This is part of what it means to be out of power. You spend most of your time listening to other people tell you what is right, what is wrong, how to act, what to believe. When you don’t have power, you don’t have a voice. Sociopolitical minorities have people talk at them all the time. If you want to appeal to them, give them what the rest of the world doesn’t: the power to speak. And you should be listening.
3. Don’t Pander
Rand, you chose to quote Toni Morrison to an audience of black people and Pablo Neruda to Hispanic people. When is the last time you quoted either of them while speaking to white voters? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Shockingly, white people could learn a lot from Toni Morrison and Pablo Neruda, despite the fact that they’re people of color. Their value is universal, which is why they are so highly praised. Don’t pull these authors out only on “special” occasions, otherwise you’re saying they only have value to the sociopolitical groups they identify with, which cheapens their works and legacies.
4. Don’t Patronize
For some reason, Republicans love to point out that “Republicans” were the ones who abolished slavery as if that somehow makes them the black man’s friend. Except that was almost 150 years ago and the Republican Party of today is, ideologically, the polar opposite of what the GOP was then. “Schooling” a bunch of Howard students on Black History is not only foolish (as you got showed up) but demeaning. To presume that you know something that a minority doesn’t know about history—their own history—is insulting, especially when what you “know” is just downright dishonest.
5. Admit Your Mistakes
Let’s get real, here. Conservatives, whether they have gone by the Republican name or not, have an atrocious history dealing with sociopolitical minorities. There is nothing wrong with admitting to this, apologizing, and promising new and better things from you—Rand, you do have a lot to offer. But be honest, who wants to support someone who tacitly approves of the mistakes his predecessors made? No one.
Rand, you’ll note that most of these things have little to do with black people specifically. These tips are basic, human decency. When speaking to a disempowered group, set aside your power. I know that it’s scary, but I believe in you. You can stop standing for a moment and kneel.