Many African-American leaders, including President Barack Obama, are returning the nation to “to the days of separate but equal,” Republican strategist and author Ron Christie tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
“The president had a job to do – and that was to unify the country, to stop the hemorrhaging of the financial crisis that was there before us and to find a strong path ahead economically,” Christie tells Newsmax. “President Obama has never taken a moment to disavow those who would say, ‘Well, there’s a racial component to this.’
“Instead, he is trying to win re-election by whipping up enthusiasm among African Americans and young folks and Latinos instead of saying, ‘I’m going to put the country above my own personal agenda, unify the country – and I’m not going to pick off people based on the color of their skin or their ethnicity for my own political gain.’
“He’s failed to do that and, unfortunately, we really are turning to the days of separate but equal, where people feel more comfortable self-segregating rather than recognizing our citizenship as the most important quality as being an American and looking past someone’s skin color,” Christie said.
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Christie served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s deputy assistant for domestic policy, and later as a special assistant to President George W. Bush. He is Adjunct Professor of Strategic Advocacy at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
His newest book is “Blackwards: How Black Leadership Is Returning America to the Days of Separate but Equal.”
Christie says Obama’s racially charged campaign strategy is creating “a blackwards momentum,” in that he and his political supporters – including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of the Congressional Black Caucus – are “using very coded, very, very graphic racial terms to try to silence legitimate opposition” to the president and his policies.
“That has led to a very destructive and a very tense feeling here in the United States on matters of race because, again, people are afraid in many instances to speak out because they don’t want to be labeled as being a racist,” he said.
He even noted how embattled Attorney General Eric Holder played the race card in a 2009 speech in which he labeled the United States “a nation of cowards” on matters of race because many Americans seek to avoid candid discussions of racial issues.
“It perpetuates this system of advocating an ethnic-centric agenda rather than being the Attorney General of the United States, where he’s responsible to adjudicate the law – fair, free and without looking at anyone’s color,” Christie said. “He’s failed on that mission.”
Turning to the issue of affirmative action, Christie acknowledged, “In the 1960s and 1970s, we needed to have a pathway to ensure that students of color, primarily African Americans and Latinos, had the equal opportunity and the equal access to our universities and colleges across the country.”
But, now, he added, “Affirmative action is more of a detriment to those persons of color than it is a help. In other words, people, when you go to school, look at you and say, ‘Oh, well you just got in because of a quota or you got in because you weren’t qualified. You got in because of the color of your skin.’
“I’m all in favor of equal access and equal opportunity, but giving one ethnic group a preference based on skin color and skin color alone, rather than qualifications, is wrong – and it’s destructive.”
Perhaps the greatest civil rights issue of the 21st Century is education, Christie said, and black leadership has failed in theis realm.
“These leaders allow students to shuffle through schools in urban settings, don’t push for a voucher system, don’t push for a charter-school opportunity – and allow students to get shuffled along and trapped in failing schools – only condemns generations after generations of students to going from underperforming schools to not having the scope necessary to compete in the 21st century,” he said. “And, yes, I do hold those accountable that have turned a blind eye to this very destructive practice.”
But, Christie still holds out hope that future generations of African-American leaders will move beyond racial lines to effectively unite the country. He cites such individuals as former Alabama congressman Rep. Artur Davis, who recently became a Republican after endorsing Obama in 2008; Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker and another Democrat, former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr.
“There’s a new generation of leaders in the Republican and Democratic parties who recognize that we can unify the country, we can move back to becoming the economic powerhouse – number one in the world – but we’ve got to put race behind us in our national elections,” Christie said.
“It’s a dream and a goal of mine and one that I’m not going to stop fighting for until we achieve that very important milestone.”
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