Project 21 Wins Dubious Honor


By David Almasi:

Project 21 was awarded the “House Negroes of the Day” award from the radical black web site The Field Negro [Caution: the site contains language and graphics some may consider offensive] on February 16.

The black conservatives of Project 21 were branded “house Negroes” by blogger Wain Bennett, an attorney in Philadelphia who fancies himself a “citizen of the world.” In calling someone of whom he disapproves a “house Negro” and himself and others he favors “field Negroes,” Bennett harkens back to slave-era slang that is used today as an insult along the lines of “Uncle Tom.” It refers to those in bondage who sought to curry the slaveowner’s favor and be allowed to work supposedly better jobs in the house.

The award is not supposed to be something to be celebrated.

In bestowing the award, Bennett explained:

Taking the position that blacks and Latinos were trying to politicize the census reports, and supporting Judd Gregg on the issue is house Negro behavior.

Actually, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie expressed concern that the White House may be politicizing the very important and constitutionally-mandated job of counting people in the United States. White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, who previously spoke about the partisan nature of political redistricting that is a by-product of the Census, told USA Today in 2006 that partisanship after the 2010 Census would be “on steroids.”

Now Emanuel may be signing off on the mechanics of the Census process. If a fair census process is impeded by manipulation of data rather than a thorough counting, voting districts could be awarded on false pretenses.

This growing constitutional concern – and not a concern about blacks or Latinos – fueled Massie’s comments and apparently led, in part, to Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg withdrawal of his name from consideration.

Traditionally, the bulk of the Census is run out of the Commerce Department.

As Mychal said in the press release that brought Bennett’s ire:

One of the principal jobs of the Commerce Secretary is to conduct a census every 10 years that will decide voting districts and in part creates a new political playing field. Senator Gregg seems to have recognized that the White House wants to usurp this power and rightly wanted nothing to do with it. Senator Gregg’s act should be seen as a wake-up call to America that strong oversight is needed over the census process lest it be abused for partisan gain.

As protecting the Constitution from potential partisan abuse is what brought about this name-calling episode, Bennett’s attempted disrespect is being taken as an honor by Mychal Massie and other members of Project 21.

This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.


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Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.