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12:11pm December 15, 2012

Black Republican Called “Boy” in Right to Work Scuffle in Michigan

stacy-swimp-1jpg-308f901ca7a20c4d

Stacy Swimp, a conservative activist who resides in Michigan, found himself in the middle of a scuffle between pro and anti- Right to Work groups in Lansing, the day Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed a Right to Work legislation into law.  Swimp was working inside the tent for conservative group Americans for Prosperity, when melee broke. He found himself having to come to the aid of fellow volunteers that day.

The law would permit workers to retain their jobs if they chose not to submit dues and become members of the union. Before the law was passed, a union could force from their job, any worker who failed to pay dues.

That day, Swimp was the only Black person in the bunch.  He took the brunt of some racially tinged words:

“You are a token!”

“How much they paying you, Boy!”

“Martin L. King would spit in your face!”

“You are a shame to your race!”

“How does it feel to be rich?!”

Swimp says the words were biting. He says he was later accosted in the parking lot at the end of the day by others but he stood his ground and escaped without further incident.

But Swimp, who is the head of the Frederick Douglass society, a think tank which works to influence positive change in urban communities through free market solutions , says he’s used to it.  As a Black Republican  he  gets a lot of push back from members of his race and party. A majority, 88%, of Black Americans consider themselves Democrats and meanwhile, a mere 11% of Republicans are Black, Gallup reports.

“I was not surprised at all. I have learned that diversity of ideas is not the norm within the culture of most liberal communities, “ Swimp said. “When I decided to get involved with public policy and advocating limited government and a strong free market, I was immediately labeled as a ‘sell out’, accused of ‘being paid for’, and even had a woman make a hate video about me comparing me to Hitler. So it is nothing new to me at all.”

Of the Right to Work law, Swimp says they “will empower the employees, protecting their First Amendment right to dissent from financially supporting a union they do not wish to be a part of,” adding “Moreover, they will no longer be forced to finance political campaigns they might not necessarily be in agreement with. The best part is that they can exercise their freedom of expression, of choice, without being subject to the historically vicious backlash of a hostile work environment, from either the employer or union retaliation. The law also means that workers may resign union membership, when they so choice, devoid of any consequence.”

Martin Luther King’s name wasn’t just mentioned against Swimp but among several other pro-union advocates in the hours following the law’s passing.  King was assassinated the day before he was scheduled to speak on behalf of union of garbage workers in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.  But Swimp says King was defending a different permeation of the union.

“When Dr. King was standing with unions and signs that read: ‘We are men’, it was a different society,” says Swimp who is also the spokesperson for Project 21, the Nation’s largest network of Black Conservatives. “Labor unions were fighting a different fight than the politically motivated one they wage today.

“Additionally, we did not have the endless list of Federal ‘watchdog’ agencies we currently have that are designed to address any and every form of discrimination. There were no whistle blower laws. There no such thing as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the different ways someone can expose ill behaviors in a second! So my opinion is that Dr. King rightfully stood with the garbage workers in members and with certain other labor organizations during their time.”

After his party suffered a presidential loss this year, Swimp has some advice:

My advice would be for the GOP to be open to learning the difference between assimilation and accommodation of cultural experiences, perspectives, and ideas. This will result in the GOP being more attractive to minorities who share its values. Most do actually. It will mean those same minorities will have a greater hand in helping to shape the message of the GOP in a way that never compromises the principles of limited government, but does more effectively meet everyone right where they are at.

The GOP needs to abandon its ‘who is next in line” approach to leadership, agreeing with Congressman Allen West about that. The Democrat Party does a good job developing a farm system of young liberals. The GOP has to commit itself to developing a farm system of conservatives who are multi ethnic and economically diverse.  They need to stop eating their own.

As for overcoming challenges to being a Black Republican in a political climate where he is the minority and faces adversity to get his messages across, he says trying to remain humble gets him through.

“I have to find a balance between treating them with grace and, yet, fighting against their agenda, is not always easy,” he said. “I try to make sure I operate in righteous indignation rather than bitterness, in other words.’

 



About the Author

Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section.




 
 

 
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12 Comments


  1. [...] Black Republican Called “Boy” in Right to Work Scuffle in Michigan | P365Politic365But Swimp, who is the head of theFrederick Douglasssociety, a think tank which works to influence positive change in urban communities through free market solutions , says he's used to it. As a Black Republican he gets a lot of push back from members… [...]


  2. [...] Black Republican called ‘boy’ in right to work scuffle [...]


  3. Always on target and to the point. I agree with your assessments. Awesome!


  4. We need more people like Stacy Swimp!


  5. Keep fighting for what’s right and support that fight by liking us at growmijobs.org.


  6. Dignity and Grace! Keep it coming. You’re a wonderful role model.


  7. This is the hatred our children see and read every day. Grown-ups need to get their acts together because the kids are watching and listening.


  8. [quote]does more effectively meet everyone right where they are at.[/quote].

    Ms Ghett:

    Let me start off by saying that MY ultimate goal is to limit the power that “politics” has upon the “Black Community Development” consciousness because loyalties to it crowds out consideration of the other forces of uplift that are needed. Vote for that which government should rightfully do. Never outsource that which must be done more locally – in the name of populism.

    Secondly – when I discuss Black people’s engagement with politics I see the need to develop a model that defines the “opportunity costs” that register when we “Struggle” for “Victories” that are not our own. Failing to discuss our present situation from the vantage point of “Opportunity Costs” allows those who I call “Embedded Confidence Men” to keep us OFFENDED by what the popular adversary is doing “to our people” – all the while evading “The Valuables” that they have provoked Black people to give because they “connected” with our unmet wishes but failed to deliver.

    With that construct in mind I look at the piece of your article that I have quoted above and notice that you provide a “Message To The Republicans” as a means of them being more appealing to the BLACK CONSUMER who is looking for a new investment vehicle.

    My question to you is – “Where We Are AT right now” – do you see this as a function of 50 years of “Congregational Unity” that had our “Black Community Development Consciousness” vested into (what I call) The “Malcolm X Political Football Game” – while the needed protections of our community interests – kept safe from POLITICS has been eroded?

    We just go through a presidential election in which more Black people that I ran across voted against BLACK VOTER SUPPRESSION than they mentioned anything about failed promises made by the more local politicians that they invested in to manage their “Human Resource Development” institutions.



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