On Thursday, the Republican National Committee tweeted out another gem of an olive branch to minority voters, or "those celebrating" Kwanzaa. It's too disingenuous to endear them to black voters, but as far of GOP tweets go, it's actually perfectly nice:
Happy Kwanzaa! Wishing those celebrating a joyous time with loved ones and a time of meaningful reflection ahead of the New Year.— RNC (@GOP) December 26, 2013
Yes, it's pretty apparent that the writer doesn't really know what sort of "meaningful reflection" occurs during this "joyous time." Or maybe they're just not completely comfortable encouraging black people to celebrate their African heritage. Still, it doesn't offend conservative non-Christians by saying "Happy Holidays Is What Liberals Say" on an ugly mug or T-shirt. It doesn't declare racism — a very real, very modern condition — over. It's a considerate, though under-informed, holiday greeting for the small, overwhelmingly black group of Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa. Some might call that progress. But it's also a dumb tweet. Randomly, Brooklyn pop band Yeasayer summed it up best:
@GOP sometimes the best jokes are unintentional. Thanks for the holiday message. LOL!— Yeasayer (@Yeasayer) December 26, 2013
As it turns out, a social media intern is not going to convince voters that the Republican party is inclusive. In the GOP's defense, trying to welcome minority voters while crippling the Voters Rights Act and blocking important issues like comprehensive immigration reform must be hard. Still, as University of Pennsylvania Professor Anthea Butler points out, that might be a better place to start:
@GOP I'm reflecting on all of your voter suppression tactics and TP candidates who can barely contain their sexism/racism— ProfB (@AntheaButler) December 26, 2013
Even black conservatives, the voting bloc tweets like this would create in another world, aren't convinced by this. Crystal Wright, of conservativeblackchick.com, was not impressed:
@GOP wishing blacks Happy Kwanza is priceless. Since it ignores blacks 364 days of year.— Crystal Wright (@GOPBlackChick) December 26, 2013
The GOP could tweet out black history facts from now until midterm elections. It could tweet to celebrate Malcolm X's birthday or the 74th anniversary of Richard Wright's Native Son. The tweets would all seem as silly and pandering as today's tweet, because at the end of the day the policies are still the same. So here is a New Year's resolution for the RNC social media team as the party continues its sad outreach attempt to young people, women and minorities: Stop embarrassing yourselves with tone-deaf tweets.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.