Should the Congressional Black Caucus accept non-Black people?

I read an article today about Stephen Cohen, a white Democratic congressman from Tennessee, who gave up trying to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) because they would not let him in.

I have always been in favor of groups that are all-something: all-female, all-Black Male, etc. I will use a quote from Malcolm X to show why:

There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity…. We
cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among
ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first
proven acceptable to ourselves.

I believe that this thinking applies to other groups beyond Black people as well. Because the Caucus is a private entity, I think that they should be able to do what they please in terms of membership. More importantly, I also think that Rep. Cohen can serve and support the interests of his Black constituents in many ways; this is only one.

Do you see it as a problem for the CBC to not have non-Black members?

One Love. One II.

Categories
Congressional Black Caucus
Black Issues
Politics

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

4 responses to “Should the Congressional Black Caucus accept non-Black people?”

  1. Anonymous says :

    In the words of Huey Freeman…ahem, “IT’S THE BLACK CONGRESSIONAL CONGRESS”!!!!

  2. Brandon Q. says :

    Anon, I agree with you but I think Garlin’s quoting of Malcolm X presents an interesting idea.

    The quote bears repeating, “There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity…. We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”

    That quote always resonated with me but I wonder after reading your post, whether we need to rethink the paradigm. I mean for real, with all the social stratification going on, do we really think there can be Black unity.

    And perhaps more importantly, Malcom’s quote was in the context of very specific agenda he was pushing. And since we as a people do not have an agenda like this to rally behind, (like we did behind King and X) is this logic still useful?

    Great post G,

  3. The Profit™ says :

    What is our cause as black people in a world (or country for that matter) that isn’t black if we only seek acceptance from black people? That plan hasn’t work and can’t work. The black man is a hardened man that stays within himself.

    To answer Brandon, I believe Malcolm’s logic has expired. King had a thought that had more staying power: integration. Integration works faster and more efficiently to the benefit of the black man. It’s reminiscent of diversifying your portfolio (that’s my area).

    ~ The Profit™

  4. sss says :

    do you know what page of his book the quote, “There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity…. We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves,” is on?

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