Thursday, November 25, 2010

Congressional Black Caucus Under Attack from Other Lawmakers: What Does That Mean?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Last week, I found myself speaking about Rep. Charlie Rangel more than ever before. In case you haven't noticed, the future of the seasoned lawmaker has come into question in light of investigations alleging him to be involved in a slew of ethical violations. Sunday, I had a conversation with Rev. Jesse Jackson on the air regarding exactly what's going on with Rangel and his political career. Then Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton and I talked about the broader scenario as it relates to black lawmakers. Just when I thought we were done speaking about investigations against black people in Congress, the conversation turned toward Maxine Waters and the slew of other CBC members currently being investigated.

Defending (or not defending) one black lawmaker after another led me to a moment of pause, where I asked the question that's been asked before, but perhaps not vocally enough: Why are so many black lawmakers being targeted for investigations anyway? According to the late Ron Walters, the most respected black political scientist in the country, "it is curious ... that in over 30 of the probes the new Office of Congressional Ethics was considering, the only active investigations were on black Congresspersons."


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