While only time will tell if Republicans will go the way of the Whigs before them, other entities outside of politics should learn from the GOP’s all-white fumbling. Earlier this year, new indie comedy grrrl Lena Dunham made a TV show about living in Brooklyn that, like so many New York shows before it, cast minorities as mostly bums and nannies, colorful background noise to the white girl tragi-comedy unfolding weekly. The backlash—of which I was a part—was instant and sustained. Last month, after a much ballyhooed 2011 relaunch, Newsweek announced that it would cease publishing at the end of this year after a brief run in which race baiting Muslims became a business tactic. The now defunct Newsweek’s “Muslim Rage” stunt was, once again, roundly and instantly condemned.
Increasingly, the message in America is clear: If your organization or project is a myopic den of white homogeneity, or if your strategy for success includes trying to gin up fear around people who are different, you are destined for irrelevance, and nobody will care how rich you are, or who your daddy is, or at what ivy-draped liberal arts school you cut your perfect teeth. Those who haven’t learned that lesson are mocked, shunned, or, worse, totally ignored. Either way, they don’t win elections.