Dear Fellow Conservatives: Please Knock It Off
Phrases Like 'Ratchet' or ‘Affirmative-Action Hire’ Feed the Misconception that Conservatives Are Racist
WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 28: Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett during House Oversight Committee in impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on September 28, 2023.
Let me be clear- the undeniable reality is that America's demographics are changing. For the Republican Party to remain viable in the future, there's an urgent need to broaden our outreach to black, brown, and urban communities. It's unnecessary, and quite frankly hypocritical, to focus on racial criticisms when there are ample policy differences with Democrats.
Words have the power to shape perceptions, reinforce stereotypes, and even perpetuate biases. Some words, like "ratchet" and "affirmative action hire," are race-baiting because of the stereotypical images that the terms invoke. Before the collective eye roll begins, give me two-minutes to attempt to help you understand the implications, and underscore the importance of thoughtful word choice. Words matter.
For conservatives aiming to expand the tent, genuine outreach and understanding is crucial. Employing divisive or derogatory terms undermines these efforts, perpetuating the notion that conservatives are indifferent or even hostile to black Americans. By using racial stereotypes, conservatives risk alienating a significant portion of the population, which is not only morally problematic but also strategically unsound.
Furthermore, the use of such terms gives the impression of insincerity when conservatives do make efforts to address issues important to black communities. For meaningful change and genuine outreach, it's imperative to refrain from language that perpetuates biases and instead focus on policies and rhetoric that demonstrate a true commitment to inclusivity and understanding. If conservatives hope to engage black voters, they must recognize that words are important. Automatically, dismissing any black leader they you don’t agree with as “an affirmative action hire” is asinine. Not every black person went to college or climbed the ranks because of special treatment.
Black people can advance on merit, but we know this.
A Fiery and Over-The-Top Performance
A firestorm erupted on social media after Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas., blasted Republicans for pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Biden on September 28, 2023. While I agree that Rep. Crockett’s performace was “extra” and “cringe” the criticism from the right took a nasty and uncomfortable tone. Rather than engaging in brief online debates over divisive language with those I respect, I'm hopeful that this forum can better articulate my concerns more effectively. Using racially charged slurs pushes away the black community, which isn't just unnecessary but also counterintuitive to our goal of party growth.
"Ratchet": Beyond the Surface of the Word
The term "ratchet" has become commonplace in slang, often used to describe someone or something as low-class, unkempt, or inappropriate. However, its origins are rooted in stereotypes that unfairly target Black women. Originally, "ratchet" was used to denigrate a particular style or behavior associated with Black women, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and biases.
Using such terms not only reinforces these stereotypes but also perpetuates a culture where it's acceptable to judge and label individuals based on their race or ethnicity. It's essential to recognize the harm this can cause and strive for more respectful language even when critique is warranted.
"Affirmative Action Hire": Debunking the Misconceptions
The term "affirmative action hire" is often used to undermine the qualifications and abilities of individuals who have benefited from affirmative action policies. This term oversimplifies the purpose of such policies and assumes that hiring decisions are solely based on race or ethnicity.
In reality, affirmative action sought to address historical inequalities and create equal opportunities for underrepresented groups. It doesn't mean that less-qualified individuals are hired solely because of their race. It's ludicrous to assume that black individuals who don't align with your expectations aren't highly intelligent and capable.
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The Power of Words
Words hold immense power. They can either promote understanding and unity or reinforce stereotypes and division. Using terms like "ratchet" or "affirmative action hire" can contribute to an environment where discrimination and prejudice thrive.
It's crucial to be mindful of the words we use and the impact they can have if our goal is to expand the tent. Which we have to do to win!
Promoting Inclusive Language
To create a less racially charged society, we should critique without race-baiting. It's not about walking on eggshells. Opt for language that addresses behavior without dragging race into it.
Words have the power to either unite or divide us. Race-baiting terms like "ratchet" and "affirmative action hire" have the potential to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and biases. When we select our words thoughtfully and advocate for respectful language, we pave the way for a society that appreciates individuals for their merits and character, not racial or ethnic backgrounds. Many wonder why some black communities feel the Republican Party harbors racial biases. Our choice of words can unintentionally distance us from these communities and signal a lack of commitment to mutual respect. The decision is in our hands. But if black individuals reject the Republican Party, perhaps it's time we stop questioning the reasons.