Black Politics

The Bush Administration and African Americans


By Moses Kamuiru

Great admiration for Reagan

When George Bush was vice president under President Reagan, he endorsed the actions that the administration adopted against the Black’s interests. During the1988 campaign, Bush decided to ask support from the Blacks. A meeting that happened in mid-May.1988 at Bush’s home attended by famous blacks including Joseph Lowery of  SLCS and Benjamin L Hooks who ended up saying that black leaders focused on the many failures of the Reagan-Bush administration. Bush was advised to change the priorities under future Bush administration. Joseph E Lowery called upon Bush to consider the needs of the black people and be sensitive enough to protect their rights, but this seemed to fall on a dead ear when Lowery realized that Bush did not come up with a financial budget to help the poor. Two months later, Joshua L Smith, a black CEO organized a breakfast meeting attended by Bush who hoped to pick up votes resulting from the fallout between Democratic nominee Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis.

Quotas Code Word

The successful use of ‘Willie Horton’ by Bush to acquire white votes convinced a majority of African American that Bush has nothing to do with civil rights. Bush stood firm against supporting the wishes and desires of most black Americans. Jesse Jackson criticized Bush’s use of ‘quotas’ as a code word and the traditional ones of law and order. He also criticized him for being an American president who promotes racism and division in the country as a form of governance.

Kuwait before Kansas City

Ronald H.Brown was the first African-American to head a major political party, and he stood his ground to condemn Bush Administration of choosing politics of Jesse Helms instead of adopting the politics of Martin Luther King. President Joseph Lowery of the Southern African Leadership Conference said that Bush was more concerned about gentleness and kindness to the rich people in Kuwait than he was to the poor people in Kansas City.

African American Appointments

President Bush carried out one of the most prestigious nominations and appointment of leaders into his administration i.e. the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S Supreme Court and Collin Powell as joint chief of staff. Powell occupied the most powerful position ever held by an African-American in the American history.Other black leaders who were appointed included Louis Sullivan as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Constance Newman as the head of the Office of Personnel Management. These appointments, however, never showed any meaningful relationship between chief executives and the black appointees. The inclusion of Powell in closed-door meetings of American policy makers is a clear indication that blacks will have new opportunities in both the political and economic world.

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