October 24, 2004


More blacks give GOP a closer look (Gregory Lewis, October 24, 2004, Orlando Sun-Sentinel)

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier recently spent a weekend knocking on doors in West Palm Beach's black community canvassing votes for President Bush.

"The results were very mixed," said Dozier, pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach. "At one house they'd tell you, `I'm not interested. I'm going to vote for Kerry.' But at the next house, they would sit and listen."

Dozier, who was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to Broward County's judicial nominating committee in 2001, said his pitch might emphasize the Republican Party's abolitionist roots. If the family regarded themselves as Christians, he would focus on the president's opposition to homosexual marriage and abortion.

Either way, Dozier is among a growing group of black leaders trying to bring African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans into the Republican fold.

Black Republicans are a demographic group often ridiculed by other African-Americans, who sometimes portray them as "sellouts." The late Buddy Watts, the father of former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts, once said, "A black person voting for a Republican makes about as much sense as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."

But in this age of White House faith-based initiatives and a growing black middle class, many blacks no longer view black Republicans as self-haters.

"Black people have gotten past the whole voodoo thing with black Republicans," said Michael Brady, co-chairman of the president's re-election committee in Palm Beach County.

We're still not convinced there's any fire here, but there's an awful lot of smoke.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2004 6:51 PM
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