The new chairman of the RNC, Michael Steele, says that the Republican Party needs a “hip hop makeover” and has asserted that it will be “off the hook.”
When I first heard about this, I initially took it for a weird hoax or joke story. After all, this is the sort of thing I’d expect to see in a Daily Show or Colbert Report parody piece. But, a little investigation reveals that this tale is, in fact, true.
Naturally, it seems a bit odd thinking about the GOP being “hip hopped” or “hip gopped.” After all, a common stereotype for GOP members is that they are ” white and uptight” and that most of them would be unaware of what it would be to be “off the hook” (except when it comes to avoiding a prison sentence for financial misdeeds).
Of course, after losing control of the White House and congress, the GOP needs to do something. I am not sure that taking on a hip hop approach is what the GOP needs. After all, their base seems to be the sort of folks who would not find that very appealing. Of course, it is good that the GOP is making an attempt (however bizarre it might seem) to expand their tent and draw in a more diverse group of people.
One obvious concern is that by throwing around terms like “hip hop” and “off the hook”, it will make it seem like the GOP is engaged in shameless pandering. Even worse, some might see such a campaign as merely displaying the GOP’s ignorance regarding minorities. People might even find this approach insulting-as if the GOP is putting on “blackface” thinking that this will somehow win over black voters.
While I do agree that the GOP lost its way and needs a major overhaul to have a chance of winning again, this approach does not seem like it will be very effective. I think that a better and more honest approach would be for the GOP to be authentic. It is not a hip hop party and will, in all probability, never be. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, I do not think that Americans want “hip hop” leaders.