During LP presidential candidate John McAfee’s concession speech, he made a few bizarre comments about libertarians being overwhelmingly male and white:
“When I first joined the Libertarian party, two things stood out very starkly. One, 75% of you are men. Number two, 99.8% of you are white. Shame on you.”
Shame on you?
Are these white male libertarians blocking others from joining the Libertarian Party?
Absolutely not. That has not been my experience. As a woman, I have been invited to speak at several LP state conventions this year. I even helped moderate a LP presidential debate in Illinois. If these white men are purposefully turning away women, it’s news to me.
I absolutely would love to see more people from different backgrounds embrace libertarianism. I assume all libertarians would. We’re all aware that libertarians are overwhelmingly white dudes. This topic has been beaten to death in recent years.
I believe his intended point was more that “we” need to do more to outreach to minorities. OK. Yeah. I doubt anyone disagrees. We talk about this all the time. So, what are YOU doing?
Outreach needs to be done strategically. Some people will not be effective at reaching out to certain communities. You don’t want outreach to come across as pandering or insulting. I, a little white girl, am not the right person to do black outreach. Someone once suggested that I make a video about why black people should be libertarians. Do you have any idea how much that would backfire?!
It’s like when feminist men tell me that I should embrace leftist feminism. I’ve had men tell me that libertarianism is not in my best interest as a woman. Do you think I listen to them? No. My reaction is more, “what the heck do they know about being a woman?”
People listen to others that they can relate to.
One of the best examples of minority outreach comes from FreedomWorks. A few years ago, black conservative and libertarian leaders hosted FreedomWorks-sponsored panels in places such as inner-city Chicago and historically black Bowie State. These panels sparked productive discussions on entrepreneurship, school choice, and growing the economy in urban communities. They could relate to the panelists and it was a discussion— not a lecture.
Libertarians all want to expand our base. Instead of shaming us, show us how it’s done. Lead by example.