December 15, 2008

Can Anh Cao Gain Membership Into Congressional Black Caucus?

There are over 400 members of the United States House of Representatives. Most of us only focus on our local congressional representative. However, there are a handful of congressmen with national reputations. Jesse Jackson, Jr. has a national reputation today. Unfortunately for him it is defined mostly by his father and the current governor of his state.

I imagine that Anh 'Joseph' Cao will be a member of congress that is watched beyond the boundaries of his Louisiana district. Cao became the first Vietnamese-American person in Congress when he defeated 10-term incumbent William Jefferson last month.

Cao represents a district that is 64% Black and he wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

The CBC has never admitted a non-Black member ... they barely admit Black republicans! It is likely that Cao will not apply for CBC membership, however, it is interesting that he continues to make a national splash. I imagine that he is the most famous Vietnamese-born citizen in the country right now.

15 comments:

clnmike said...

Well if his district is 64% and they supported him than I think the CBC has an obligation to give him a seat at the table as a represenitive of his his people.

Might open up a can of worms but it aint about them it's about the people they represent.

Tariq Nelson said...

Based on past history, they will not do it. Steve Cohen represents a district that is also about 64% black and was denied membership into the CBC

Esquire said...

I think they should let him in. As mike says, he represents a majority black district. It's also hard to keep arguing for inclusion when you are excluding people.

Black on Campus said...

I think this could open up a can of worms. There are a number of representatives who are white but who represent majority Black districts, too. The CBC is kind of like the Black faculty group at a college. It is not only a place to hash out pro-Black policy. It is also a place to deal with the stresses of being a Black person in the House of Representatives.

Isn't there a group for Asian reps? And maybe there should be meetings for reps of all races, but whose districts are majority Black.

Villager said...

Mike and Esquire - It appears that historical precedent is that the CBC is only open to people of African descent ... so Cao isn't eligible for membership...

Tariq - Yeah, I think you're right...

Black on Campus - Ajuan, there is an Asian Congressional Caucus. Cao has already been invited to join that caucus...

Aaron + Alaine said...

Tell me what tremendous policy initiatives are emanating from the CBC these days? I don't think the CBC is relevant enough on policy to matter as far as Anh Cao is concerned. I doubt they will be at the forefront of anything that really makes a difference to black folks lives outside of the same old political same old.

It won't matter to the results he gets for his district whether he is in or out.

Villager said...

Aaron - Your criticism of the CBC is valid. I think that I'm going to spend some time doing research on the CBC in the coming days...

Monica Roberts said...

The CBC isn't relevant? You're kidding, right?

The House majority whip, Rep James Clyburn is a member, along with the current chairs of the Judiciary and House Ways and Means committees and various subcommittees.

So is the incoming President of the United States.

Monica Roberts said...

Aaron,
I have to also ask the question if the CBC is irrelevant, why did white transgender people in 2003 work to sabotage a meeting that myself and another Black transgender person had set up to talk to them about civil rights issues?

Aaron + Alaine said...

Monica,

Can you name a major policy initiative emanating from the CBC? Can you point to leadership by the CBC on anything in the past 5 years that really matters outside the beltway AND which isn't just more of the same old same old?

I think the CBC is mostly populated by old guard democrat politicians doing the same thing they have always done.

Monica Roberts said...

Aaron,
Conversely, what is your definition of irrelevant?

If white peeps are clamoring to get into a so called 'irrelevant' in your view organization or trying to stop other African-American from even talking to them, I would think that undercuts your argument.

Monica Roberts said...

Aaron,
Who was in control of the Congress five years ago? In 1994? In 2000?

Dawned dure wasn't the Democrats

Kinda hard for the CBC to push major policy initiatives when you're part of the minority, and the preferred GOP method of lawmaking was 'cut the Dems out of the process'.

Monica Roberts said...

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
http://www.cbcfinc.org/

Congressional Black Caucus
http://www.thecongressionalblackcaucus.com/

Aaron + Alaine said...

My definition of irrevelant is when there is nothing I can point to that would be substantively different if the CBC weren't around. Don't get me wrong, I don't claim that they are worthless, but I took the time to check out both of their sites, the CBC and the CBC foundation. A big fat lot of nothing substantive in both cases in my opinion. Mostly a lot of the same old same old.

Just because there are people out there who want to prevent somebody from talking to a bunch of gatekeepers doesn't make them relevant. It only means some people have an inflated sense of the CBC's importance. Anh Cao wants in because he thinks "hey, my district is black, I should hang with the black legislators", but really want he should be doing is examining what if any agenda they have. If you visit the CBC website, you get a little bit about what they support, but pretty much nothing in the way of policy or legislation they are putting forward. Most of them are probably old generation with thinking to match.

Villager said...

Aaron & Monica - I appreciate your comments on the CBC. You've inspired me to do some research of my own. I'm going to post on the CBC shortly...