A.C. Cordoza is a newly-elected member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He’s Black and he’s Republican — the only member of the Virginia legislature who answers to that description.
As such, Cordoza sought membership in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. It excluded him.
Cordoza says he was excluded because of his answers to a questionnaire from the caucus. Among the question he apparently answered “incorrectly” were ones pertaining to charter schools, collective bargaining, abortion, gun control, mask mandates, making it more difficult to recall public officials, and repealing sovereign immunity.
Some members of the Black Caucus claim that Cordoza’s exclusion had little to do with his answers to the questionnaire. It was more about “interpersonal friction.”
This is surely nonsense. An organization doesn’t require answers to a detailed questionnaire about matters across a broad range of hot button political issues unless it intends to use the answers to determine admission. The “friction,” if any, that exists between black Democrats and a brand new Republican member is very likely the result of ideological clash.
Virginia’s new lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, was a member of the Black Caucus when she served in the House during the very early years of this century. Even in those less contentious times, Sears recalls not being welcome and did not stay long. She says:
I really wasn’t wanted when I joined. And 20 years later, nothing has changed. [C]learly the issue is, they don’t want Black Republicans.
There’s nothing wrong with like-minded legislators forming caucuses and excluding those who don’t agree with much of their agenda. But, as Sears says, a caucus of likeminded Blacks shouldn’t hold itself out as a “Black Caucus.” Agreeing with a hard-left agenda is about being a leftist, not about being Black.
Sears offers new names that would better suit the Black Caucus. One of them is “The You’re Not Black Enough Caucus.”
I think the “BLM Caucus” works.
The final word goes to Cordoza. He told the House:
Mr. Speaker, I don’t know what I should do. I’m a legislator. I’m black. And I want to help the black community.
Maybe I need to start my own caucus, the Virginia Non-Leftist Black Caucus. Right now it’ll be a caucus of one but that’s okay. As Thoreau said ‘Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.’
I’m proud to be a majority of one.