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Tuesday October 28, 2008
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAILBy FOO YEE PING
HERE’S the profile of Richard Ivory (pic) €“ age 30, black and works in Harlem.
Political affiliation? Republican.
That makes him a minority within a minority community in blue-state New York.
He started HipHopRepublican.blogspot.com four years ago for African-Americans like him who support the Grand Old Party and to debunk the conventional view that blacks are usually Democrats.
But that does not mean he is always satisfied with the G.O.P or John McCain.
The party, he said, had done little in minority outreach. “My blog is to shame them for not reaching out, and also to help them on this.”
A report by the Joint Centre for Political and Economic Studies noted that the 36 black delegates in the Republican National Convention in September comprised only 1.5% of the total delegates. This was even lower than the 6.7% in the 2004 convention.
Ivory, who works with a health service provider to help the homeless and mentally ill, felt that McCain had run a terrible campaign. “It isn’t good any time that you have to play defence,” he said.
Furthermore, McCain had no African-American on his staff.
“Something is missing there. No black person working for you; and you’re running against a candidate who has the potential to the the country’s first African-American president?”
Still, Ivory is almost sure of voting for McCain.
“Let’s say your child is ill. A young, charismatic doctor walks in and talks to you, giving you hope. Then there is the wise, old doctor who talks plainly to you,” he said. “At the end of the day, I would go with the guy who is honest with me.”
Ivory’s support of the Republican Party has ignited the harshest criticisms not from his own community but the white liberals. He had received death threats through his blog.
“They have been the meanest to me,” he said. “They see you as evil. How could you not support a black candidate? But to me, how could you deny my mind to think? They do not know my issues; they do not think that perhaps Obama issues are not mine.”
These white liberals, he said, had worked hard to get the minorities to agree with them “so when a black does not support them, they see it as a stab in the back.”
“They always thought that blacks should be on the left.”
The leftists’ ap- proach to the Sept 11 tragedy pushed Ivory to the Republican. “They conjured a picture of America that does not apply to everyone.”
Ivory said he backed the Iraq war “though not the way George W. Bush handles it.”
Another reason for his support of the G.O.P was shaped by a childhood memory when social services officers took him away from his mother who was unwell then.
He became an adopted kid at the age of six and came to believe that government should have a limited role in people’s lives, “something that is best articulated by the Republicans.”
It did not help, either, while growing up in Virginia, that he found most of the local politicians were corrupt. “They were Democrats,” he said.
Though Ivory conceded that the Republican was primarily a white party, it was not racist.
He said Republican officials had reached out to supporters like him, wanting to know how they could be of help. “There is a lot of sincerity,” he said, despite his blog not parrotting the Republican platform all the time.
The American press, Ivory said, had been largely pro-Obama. He cited media reports which were against Sarah Palin
“They made her out to be stupid or an idiot,” he said. “Do you think they would have done that if she had been a black woman?”
Asked about Asian-Americans fear of the black community be- coming arrogant should Obama is elected president, Ivory said: “It’s mostly pride; to some extent, there is a sense of entitlement, maybe some arrogance.”
“Look at those T-shirts now that says ‘black power’,” he said, laughing.
Despite US’ multi-culturalism, he said the different groups were still rather disconnected from one another.”
The Chinese, he said, might open a restaurant in a black community but both groups had not become friends.
“To the blacks, the Chinese are greedy and are merely keen to sell their product and take their money. But for the Chinese, they think the blacks are out to rob them.”
Likewise, the blacks are not likely to vote for an Asian presidential candidate. “They would think that he is a Communist!”
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