Texas GOP Chairman Deletes Ethnic Identifications on Party Web Site

LatinaLista — In an earlier posting, Latina Lista wrote about the shock that erupted around Texas when GOP Wise County Chairman, D.A. Sharpe, who is an amateur geneologist, decided to include the listing of AE (American European) next to the candidates listed on the web site who are running in local and state elections.

Since that initial post, D.A. Sharpe, has been called names and roundly scolded for doing that. Throughout this furor, he has maintained there was no malicious intent, and though he didn’t have to, he took it upon himself to respond to and keep Latina Lista informed.

The following is the same letter Wise County Republican County Chairman, D.A. Sharpe, sent to all the candidates who were identified by their ethnicity.

D.A. Sharpe shares this letter in good faith with Latina Lista and her readers and we are grateful for that, but what this letter also illustrates is that in this 21st Century too many of us can count on two hands the number of people we know from different ethnicities.

The letter illustrates that there are still too few people of color running for public office and it shows how people of different ethnicities who want to help one another are still hindered by not quite knowing how to approach each other.

Hopefully, blogs like Latina Lista can help in this first step.


D.A. Sharpe and his wife at the Black Tie & Boots Ball in 2005
(Source: D.A. Sharpe homepage)

As you know, quite a bit has been made of the ethnicity identifications on our Wise County Republican Party web site, which now have been deleted. First, let me say that this is a molehill unnecessarily made into a mountain when no inappropriate intention was made at all. Perhaps I can explain and also say that I am the person solely responsible for that. I am the web master and am responsible for all of whatever is reflected on our web site. I apologize to you for any embarrassment this may have been to you.

Certainly both the Democratic and the Republican Parties desire to encourage leadsrship people of African American, Hispanic and Asian backgrounds to qualify for candidacy and to develop into the leadership landscape of our land and of our government structures. Noble intentions are those.

In order for the state party headquarters to know how well these goals are developing, one convenient way to learn is to gather that information when the 254 county chairmen from the local parties submit the applications of candidates in January who’ve filed for the primary election. The Republican Party candidate form simply had a block that said “Ethnicity.”

I am confident that it was intended for only the African American, Hispanic and Asian background candidates (and any other ethnicities which may be unusual among American candidates). In the past, I simply have recorded “white” for our candidates, as unfortunately we have had none recently identified with minority status. Enclosed is a blank of that form.

However my hobby interests clouded the issue at this point. I spend a lot of time researching my heritage and genealogy. Much data has been gathered and several informal books written about those subjects. In my mind, everybody has ethnicity and should be proud of it. So, I simply added what was the ethnicity of our candidates, which happened all to be American European. There is nothing sinister at all in that. Actually, had I been able to know more about all of our candidates, I would have enlivened it with more specificity, such as American English, or American Irish, etc. It’s really difficult to pin point that with so many people. For examply, my ancestroal roots go back to Germany, Norway, Denmark, Belgum, France and England.

In producing a Directory for people on the web to know how to contact you as candidates, I simply followed the idea of full disclosure of what was reported on the Republican State Party’s form, then I even added a few things, such as spouses names voting precinct numbers, etc.

Regarding ethnics who are perceived as being at any disadvantage, I have stood for their betterment and advancement since my days in college in the 1960′s. I have today quite a number of personal friendships with people from various racial origins and do socialize with them, in the community, in my home and at my church. My brother-in-law was a desk mate during World War II in the United States Coast Guard with Alex Haley of “Roots” fame. We have always been around people who should be respected and encouraged. Twice in our family’s life, we’ve had African Americans reside in our home as guests for several months at a time. In my late 20’s, for five years, Suzanne and I purchased a home in the slums of New Orleans from which to pursue a ministry to the mixed races found in the inner city of that crime riden section. With regularity, we entertain guests in our home today of various races.

In retrospect, I should have been wise enough to know that most people could not see an ethnic listing of someone perceived as being a part of any political majority as being a good thing. I was naive. I had thought people will rejoice in their ethnicity. However, apparently some folks took it the unintended way and quickly seemed to have labeled me as a racist of Nazi proportions. I certainly will avoid that in the future.

I did feel some vindication from the Wise County Messenger’s editorial last week about the whole issue. The alledged inaccuracies my letter to the Fort Worth Star Telegram are the facts that Bud Kennedy’s October 14 article seemed to imply that I posted the ethnic identifications because I am a bigoted racist and assumed most other folks in Wise County would gee and haw to that spirit. Hardly anything could be further from the truth. It may be that I foster good relations among races much more than the averace citizen.

We all are proud of our candidates and wish you the very best. Election Watch Night event November 7 at the Lions Club Hall at 207 North State Street in Decatur! Please plan to be a part of it. We will be there to celebrate with you.

Thank you for your work.
Your political friend,
D. A. Sharpe, Republican County Chairman For Wise County, Texas

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