GOP's Twitter Proclaims Racism Is Over on Rosa Parks' Anniversary

The Republican Party’s latest attempt to convince people it isn’t racist backfired out of the gate Sunday, this time with an ill-advised tweet celebrating the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest. The official @GOP Twitter account posted to commemorate the occasion. It linked to a picture of Parks, a quote about doing the right thing, and a tribute to her “bold stand and her role in ending racism.” That’s right: Racism is over! Haven’t you heard? Things are finally fair; obviously, that’s why the Supreme Court decided to trash the Voting Rights Act. Now, let’s celebrate the end of racism by pushing through some more discriminatory voter ID laws.

The party’s rapid-response team leapt into action four hours later, posting that the previous tweet “should have” used the phrase “fighting to end racism” instead of “ending racism.” However, this being 2013 and all, the damage was already done. An avalanche of snarky retweets poured in, criticizing the committee for prematurely dancing on racism’s grave, and pretty soon, the hashtag #WhenRacismEnded was born.

The Republican Party has launched many attempts to rehabilitate its image among black voters in recent years, none of which have translated into many votes. In 2009, you had then-RNC chair Michael Steele pledging to lure black voters to the party with “fried chicken and potato salad,” which obviously didn’t go over very well. Senator Rand Paul, famous for opposing the Civil Rights Act, attempted to impress black students earlier this year when, in a speech to a Howard University class, he asked if the students knew that the founders of the NAACP were Republicans. They did, and subsequently laughed at him for presuming that they didn’t.

The party has long had aimed to “rebrand” itself, and expand its “outreach” to minority voters. Putting aside the fact that the party openly admits that it’s only doing this to win more presidential elections, the gambit is destined to fail. As long as the party pushes policies that disproportionately hurt black Americans, it’s going to be mocked for trying to present itself as, well, anything other than kind of racist.