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The GOP bumbles again on race: This time it’s Rosa Parks

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The Republican National Committee can’t help itself. No matter how many times and in how many ways it’s amply shown that it can’t get it right on race, it still keeps bumbling along. Its latest bumble is to try and capitalize on the exalted name of civil rights icon Rosa Parks. The RNC apparently thought it was doing good when it tweeted on the anniversary of Parks’ legendary refusal to get up from her front seat on a segregated bus that her act ended racism. The inevitable follows when the RNC bumbles on race. The tweet provoked a justifiable storm of outrage. The outrage was aimed squarely at the gigantic absurdity that Parks’ brave act by itself was enough to end racism. The RNC quickly retweeted and inserted the word “fighting” in place of “ending” before the word racism.

As idiotic as the original RNC tweet was, the outrage over that should have been minor over the far bigger RNC problem, namely its self-serving delusion that the GOP has shed its chronic racial pandering. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus fed that delusion earlier in the year when he loudly proclaimed that the GOP was doing a deep soul search on race and that he wanted the GOP to do everything to woo more blacks, Latinos, Asians to the party. As Priebus said, so the GOP could show that it “cares” about them too.

The problem is that Priebus or someone else forgot to tell that to his party. The borderline racial taunts, digs, and jabs at President Obama all under the guise of opposing every Obama initiative has continued unabated. The always predictable racial outbursts from Tea Party followers, some GOP officials, and rightwing bloggers and talk radio jocks have been unending. The GOP top officials will issue a wrist slap, pro forma denunciation or more likely say nothing. Again, this reaffirms what the overwhelming majority of blacks and Latinos already know, and that’s that the GOP is the inherent enemy of their interests, including its relentless assault on health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, its loud clamor to slash and burn if not outright eliminate dozens of programs that directly benefit the poor and working class, which have clearly marked it as their enemy.

The clincher was the initial Parks tweet. The very fact that the RNC could credit Park’s heroic act in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 as ending racism spoke volumes about the GOP’s mindset. That is that racism not only ended a decade before passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Acts, and countless other civil rights laws and statutes in the years since that did not eradicate racism but rather officially ended legal segregation and political inequality. Then again that’s no surprise, since the GOP still thinks that racism has ended, and is more than willing to act like it has.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KTYM 1460 AM Radio Los Angeles and KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.