cbc: “nwa”

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Does the Congressional Black Caucus exist to represent the interest of black Americans or black Congressmen? It appears to be the latter since Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, has been denied membership on the basis of his race.

Usually, these caucuses are little more than the congressional equivalent of high school clubs. But ask yourselves, would your high school allow a club that purposefully limited its membership to whites? Of course not. So why should your tax dollars be used to support a group with a racist membership policy?

Other caucuses are less restrictive in their membership:

The Congressional Croatian Caucus does not require Croatian ancestry, the Congressional Entertainment Caucus is not limited to former entertainers, the Congressional Internet Caucus does not mandate that its members maintain a blog, the House Cancer Caucus is not just for cancer survivors, and veterans aren’t the only eligible members of the Reserve Components Caucus.

There is no Constitutional problem when a group of Congressmen join together to advocate for certain groups and causes. If that is the goal of the CBC, then Steve Cohen should logically be a member. He after all, represents a majority black district. However, when groups receive federal funding–which congressional caucuses do (albeit, laundered through individual members’ office funds), they have no legitimate authority to exclude on the basis of race.

On its homepage, the CBC states its mission:

. . . the core mission of the CBC has been to close (and, ultimately, to eliminate) disparities that exist between African-Americans and white Americans in every aspect of life.

In fact, the group’s motto is that “the CBC has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.” Consistent with that Motto, the CBC “will continue to work with all who are willing to work with us to help advance our Agenda and achieve this goal.” They will work with Rep. Cohen, but they won’t let him join their cause.

Augusta National has the same membership policy. Sure, women can play the course; they just can’t be members. However, since none of my tax dollars go to support The Masters, that club’s membership policy is its own business. However, Congress, like all arms of the government, must operate under race neutral rules.

Presumably, Rep. Cohen supports the goals of the CBC. Therefore, he has every right to membership in the group. However, if he has no right to membership in the CBC, then the CBC should have no right to government resources and taxpayer dollars.

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