City Desk

Michael Steele Visits Howard, Gets Heckled, Heckles Back

steele1198-1-205dMichael Steele wasn't exactly feeling the love last night at Howard. A group of young black Republicans at the historically-black university hosted the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee on his so-called "Freedom Tour," a series of town hall meetings on health care and other topics of the day. Yesterday, those topics included hip-hop, "bling-bling," and how "our country can afford more than one Oprah Winfrey."

Steele was, at one point, heckled and yelled at, including by a woman – not a Howard student – who declared that her mother had died a few months ago because she couldn't afford all of her chemotherapy medications. But Steele showed her. He heckled her back, as the Washington Independent reported.

Elon James White, an African-American writer, comedian and host of the web series "This Week in Blackness," was pretty near mortified by the whole event, addressing a scathing blog post at the online site the Root directly to the hip-hop obsessed chairman himself: "Note to Michael Steele: Black /= Charisma."

It's worth a full read, but here are the highlights:

I'm not sure who expressed to Mr. Steele that he was right there on top of the political game with President Obama, but he seems to believe it hook, line and sinker; I know this because he implied it multiple times during the course of the evening. Yet for all of his attempts to reach out to the black community with his Hip-Hop Republican ideas and possibly soul food assisted membership drives, Steele misses the one thing (besides common sense, which he DOES NOT have) that is needed to deal with black folk: Likability.

Watching Steele talk to Howard was the equivalent of watching a house negro explain how great Massa' really is. ("I mean we COULD run for freedom, but why bother?").

... There are a lot of horrendously uninformed and purposefully manipulative people in politics. The issue with Steele is he's trying to game me like a white school teacher doing his first assignment in the 'hood, and I dont appreciate it.

Howard student Jada Smith, an intern at the Root, had a different perspective of the woman who disrupted the crowd, and the students who chimed in.

The student's outbursts and attacks were not only inconsequential in the healthcare debate, but they were down right disrespectful and rude.  One of the few chances us young black folk had to get the ear of someone in government was ruined by party crashers who claim to be making their voices heard, but in reality did nothing but silence the rest of ours.  So what do you think would have made the news? Twenty-something black college students showed up in droves for something other than a Li'l Wayne concert, but the air time will probably go to the white lady who was shouting until her face turned red. Thanks a lot, ma'am.

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  • Grumpy

    Steele's fatal mistake was engaging Rush Limbaugh as though he was a peer. He's an overweight drug addict with a radio show, not a Politician or elected official. He de-balled himself by apologizing for calling Rush exactly what he is...He should have swatted him like the inconsequential gnat that he is and kept it moving.

    He lost whatever support he had after that...It makes his whole 'HipHop' spiel suspect. You can't talk about empowerment on any level if you conceded to a screeching radio nobody.

    Might as well join Alan Keyes on the 'I'm a Black Pol and nobody listens to me' leaky lifeboat. Print up some tee shirts with that slogan and maybe that will get you some attention.

  • Michael Steele is a tool

    Every time Michael Steele talks I can't help but think to myself, man, this guy is a dick.

  • Fred

    I'm not sure what I feel when I hear yet another Steele event (awkward, never boring) broadcast by CSPAN. It's painful. I wonder: does Michael Steele ever go before a neutral crowd and just bore people? I used to think Republicans were boring. If Steele can be boring, then he's probably got a future. Otherwise, it's crying time. This ain't gonna end pretty.

  • Alaskan

    I understand Ms Smith being upset with the "party crashers" but just two points for her. One, from the stories I had read, there was no one from the government at that meeting. Second, if she is going to be mad at anyone, she should be mad at Mr. Steele. He had stated earlier that it was okay for people to disrupt town hall meetings. So what is good for Democratic members of Congress should be okay for him as well.

  • JayAre

    Mr. Steele is very comfortable in the house, he would never survive in the 'fields'.

  • Ward 5

    He's the black male version of Sarah Palin. Just says and does the dumbest damn things. Referring to fried chicken and hip hop in your speeches is not enough to make a black person (me) relate or understand your cause... idiot!

  • fedupcitizen

    He's a total idiot he and fenty have alot in common. when he was lt. governor in Md he was a token then and that's what he is now .The so call leader of the republican party. You can not take this man seriously. He is a joke.

  • http://www.sandboxreport.com Sandbox Report

    Breaking From SandboxReport.com: Michael Steele's Violent Past - http://sandboxreport.com/?p=457

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