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  1. #1
    Senior Member AlturaCt's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Roanoke, VA

    Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed

    Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed

    By: Josephine Hearn
    January 23, 2007 12:32 PM EST

    As a white liberal running in a majority African American district, Tennessee Democrat Stephen I. Cohen made a novel pledge on the campaign trail last year: If elected, he would seek to become the first white member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    Now that he's a freshman in Congress, Cohen has changed his plans. He said he has dropped his bid after several current and former caucus members made it clear to him that whites need not apply.

    "I think they're real happy I'm not going to join," said Cohen, who succeeded Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., in the Memphis district. "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in. You need to be invited."

    Cohen said he became convinced that joining the caucus would be "a social faux pas" after seeing news reports that former Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, had circulated a memo telling members it was "critical" that the group remain "exclusively African-American."

    Other members, including the new chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and Clay's son, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., agreed.

    "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. ... It's time to move on," the younger Clay said. "It's an unwritten rule. It's understood. It's clear."

    The bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, a House aide said, but no non-black member has ever joined.

    Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who is white, tried in 1975 when he was a sophomore representative and the group was only six years old.

    "Half my Democratic constituents were African American. I felt we had interests in common as far as helping people in poverty," Stark said. "They had a vote, and I lost. They said the issue was that I was white, and they felt it was important that the group be limited to African Americans."

    Cohen remains hopeful, though, that he can forge relationships with black members in other ways.

    "When I saw the reticence, I didn't want anyone to misunderstand my motives. Politically, it was the right thing to do," he said. "There are other ways to gain fellowship with people I respect."

    Cohen won his seat in the 60 percent black district as the only white candidate in a crowded primary field. If he faces a primary challenge next year from a black candidate, as expected, some Black Caucus members may work to defeat him.

    A similar situation arose in 2004 after redistricting added more black voters to the Houston district of former Rep. Chris Bell, D-Texas.

    Although House tradition discourages members of the same party from working against each other, about a dozen black lawmakers contributed to Bell's opponent, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, the eventual victor. Even Bell's Houston neighbor, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, campaigned against him.

    One black member who criticized his colleagues for sandbagging Bell was Cohen's predecessor, Harold Ford.

    "You have an incumbent, and you don't support an incumbent? It was inappropriate," Ford told Congressional Quarterly in 2004.

    Cohen has won high marks for hiring African Americans. A majority of his staff is African American, he said, including his chief of staff.
    [b]Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
    - Arnold J. Toynbee

  2. #2
    Senior Member crazybird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Joliet, Il
    Na......there's no racism here.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    reno, nev
    Does not appear to me that it exclude white Americans.

    1. The CBC was formed in 1969 when the 13 African-American members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined to strengthen their efforts in addressing the legislative concerns of black and minority citizens. The original founders believed that an African-American caucus in Congress, speaking with a single voice, would provide political influence and visibility far beyond their numbers. [1]
    Since the formation of the CBC, the group's core mission has been to close (and, ultimately, eliminate) disparities that exist between African-Americans and white Americans in every aspect of life. In pursuing this goal, the CBC maintains that it "has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests." During the 109th Congress, the CBC listed the following specific goals which it would pursue: [2]
    Closing the achievement and opporunity gaps in education.
    Assuring quality healthcare for every American.
    Focusing on employment and economic security, building wealth, business, and development.
    Ensuring justice for all.
    Guaranteeing retirement security for all Americans.
    Increasing equity in foreign policy. [3]
    During the 109th Congress, the leadership of the CBC consisted of the following members of Congress. [4] ... us#History

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