I was planning on opening up my email and sharing some of the hateful missives that are a regular part of my daily conservative experience. I still plan to.
But today, I received this well thought out note on Facebook from a moderate liberal. I had to share it. No liberal has ever communicated with me directly with this much detail and thought. So, read on. Comment. Share. After I’ve thought this through, I’ll respond here as well as on Facebook.
First, I didn’t come her to fight or throw around hyperbolic accusations like racism or even classicism. I am a left-leaning Democratic liberal whose only conservative views are limited to fiscal responsibility. Stacy, I’ve done some research on you and your activism and I applaud your efforts, I truly do. Your Youtube video entitled, Why I’m a Conservative prompted this post. In this video you explained quite eloquently why you choose to align yourself with the Republican Party based on your conservative values.
If I may, I would like to respectfully offer a theory as to why the black conservative is dealt with so harshly by the black community.
Since you created this page to prove to the MSM that you exist, I would think you’d be open to a civil discussion regarding this topic and not simply dismiss me as a “libertard” (my personal favorite characterization of liberals.)
I think it is quite careless and a bit callous to assume that any black person that dares cast a “red” ballot is an Uncle Tom. I also find it counterproductive to your cause, of enlightening more black voters to your party, to not investigate deeper into the reasons such a hurtful characterization would be assigned.
The reality is that the post-slavery dream of the black American is quite conservative. The desire for self sufficiency and the alignment of religious beliefs with societal law have long been the foundation of the demand for equality from the black community. However, there has been an issue that has plagued our country since before its inception that makes it very difficult to stand on the side of those who champion these idealistic views.
You see, I postulate that the centrist black voter who supported President Obama didn’t do so exclusively because of his race or even the majority of his policies. I actually believe that independent or right leaning black voters are torn at the ballot box and cast their vote for the side that displays a perceived compassion for their plight.
As a black voter, it is hard to view prominent black conservatives like Allen West, Clarence Thomas, and Herman Cain in the similar light of the influential black Republican, Martin Luther King Jr. Instead they appear more to us like a reincarnated and equally antiquated version of Booker T. Washington.
MLK taught conservative values while addressing social injustices. Dr. King was a master of interweaving his dual message of responsibility to the black community and tolerance to the white community. His message was well received because he didn’t deny the uneven playing field while encouraging us to suit up and play.
As you may know, Booker T. Washington delivered a similar message of self-discipline and self-fulfillment but did so while encouraging the oppressed black man and woman to EARN the inalienable rights GIVEN to their white counterparts by the Constitution. In his book, Up From Slavery Washington actually maintained that “slavery had given blacks an opportunity to learn skills and acquire English language and Christianity.” Now I don’t for one minute think that Mr. Washington was suggesting that as black people we should be thankful for something as horrible as slavery. I believe that this statement was born from the same ideology that made him believe that White America would eventually accept a fruitful, productive, industrial black person therefore, as a race we should not demand equality, but earn it.
On the surface that may not sound like a bad idea except that we were the only race that was force to prove ourselves worthy of the same rights given to white people by virtue of birth. In the heyday of Jim Crow, you can imagine that this was NOT a well-received view. IF water fountains and restrooms were segregated based on socioeconomic standings then Washington’s point would have been a good one. The problem was that even the wealthiest black man was still required to drink from the fountain reserved for ALL colored people.
Having said that, I would be unfair to not assert that Booker T. Washington walked the walk! He stood firmly against the notion of sharecropping and opted instead to purchase land and built the Tuskegee Institute without subsidy from the State of Alabama. There wasn’t anything wrong with the message of Booker T. Washington, but the delivery was lost in translation. So even in celebrating his accomplishment it still comes of as anomalous.
The conservative representatives I’ve mentioned above APPEAR to be offering that same sentiment to black voters today. They and other black conservatives are presenting only the “logical” aspects of conservatism without addressing the reality of social injustice. I saw a video of Allan West speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus and he remarked that he did not need to look to our first black president as a role model because he had the benefit of having a father in his home. His father was his role model and he in turn was a role model for his daughters. He then chastised the black community for creating that need for an external role model because by large we don’t represent the traditional family.
Though I applaud his family’s ability to offer him a stable environment to develop and grow, how do I identify with it if I didn’t have that benefit? Also, it gives the perception that his success was predicated on the fact that he was raised in a traditional, two-parent home. Since he dismissed the idea that our first black president could serve as a role model he essentially damned me and the disproportional majority of black children in single parent homes to never reaching his level of success.
Was there not a better way to make this point? Have you no compassion for the children who did not choose to be raised in single parent homes? Is there no value in applauding the president for being someone that those children could look up to?
Since Mr. West chose to address the consequences of the problem and not offer solutions or even address the cause, he is viewed as someone who is unable to empathize with the black experience. Since his skin is black he is seen by many as someone who has turned his back on the black Americans who were not as blessed as he was. This, of course, is based PURELY on perception. However, perception is reality.
Making these assertions that racism does not plague your side of the aisle is also counterproductive. More so, pointing out the racism that exist in the Democratic Party serve no purpose in furthering your agenda. As a liberal, I’m VERY aware that racist exist in my party. I’m very aware that there are white people who cast there vote for Obama but would refuse to allow me to date their daughters. I know that and so do most black liberals. With over 90% of the black vote going to Obama, do you think we are worried about the impact that racism has within the Democratic party? Obviously not. Even if it is true that we are nothing more than sheep headed to slaughter, we do so willingly and together.
Having said that, liberals address the social injustices that affect people of color. Are their remedies always the best? No. Actually, some of them are quite damaging. I think most black liberals feel more empowered having a conversation about race then trying to convince someone that racial inequality is NOT a thing of the past. Because the most vocal members of your party and the ones who have the largest audience either deny the existence of racism, downplay the affects of racism, or exploit vulnerable and uneducated minorities, the black conservative message is muted.
See, I agree with you. I honestly believe that most conservatives are NOT racists. As a matter of fact, I think that word is thrown around way too haphazardly. I do, however think that your side has a problem silencing the bigoted and hateful comments of your most visible supporters.
Even if I believe in fiscal responsibility, pro-life, the 2nd Amendment, or any other conservative value, it is extremely difficult for me to align myself shoulder to shoulder with people who spew venom towards people who resemble me. I can’t in good conscious support the agenda of a bigot or someone so insensitive that they cannot understand the impact of their words.
Prominent black conservatives must be willing to stand up to the stereotypes perpetuated by the likes of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and here locally in Houston, Michael Berry. When someone as vitriolic as Ann Coulter writes, publishes, and promotes a book regarding the black condition in America, yours should be the loudest dissenting voice.
As a military, combat veteran, I have educated my friends with no military experience the consequences of satisfying their curiosity by asking about my combat experiences. On this subject, I essentially took them from innocence ignorance to informed compassion. I didn’t stop their curiosity but I did help them frame their questions in a way that was respectful and non-intrusive. As a black conservative, you owe it to your party to employ this method towards white conservatives who are malicious without intent.
This posturing against the damaging effects of stereotypes by the few black conservatives amongst you gives a very bad impression of your party. When Bill O’Reilly claims that President Obama won because people want “stuff” and then goes on to identify those people as Latinos, blacks, and women it doesn’t bode well for the black conservative movement. I can’t hear your claim that less government intervention will result in more economic freedom. I can’t hear it because I’ve just been called a freeloader on national television! If you are serious about answering the question why more black voters are not voting for Republicans then the next time a picture of the first black president dressed as a witch doctor is called political satire, use this platform to insist that it DOES have racial undertones.
As long as you refuse to publicly chastise the Rush Limbaughs and Ted Nugents of your party, you will never court the black vote from the left. You must insist on a plan that includes your conservative principles AND empathy towards the black condition in America be developed and widely spread throughout black communities.
Stand strong on your principles but have a little compassion for those of us who have suffered the effects of generational oppression. With your peripheral vision, show empathy NOT sympathy for those who have now become there very own oppressors.
See, as a devout Christian, I would never knowingly participate in abortion. However, my stance is that not everyone believes what I believe and I would rather offer an alternative (even one I don’t support) then face the reality of back alley abortions. Also, creating legislation to take away that right is the definition of government interference. While I support a woman’s right to choose I also firmly support education, prevention AND abstinence.
In the face of overt bigotry and intolerance, you must take a stance and it needs to be visible. You don’t have to compromise your values to educate and empathize with someone who did not choose your path. Of course, you can choose to ignore the independent or middle of the road black voters who have allowed perception to dismiss the idea of ever being labeled conservative, the consequence is that your numbers will remain few and insignificant.
Incidentally, towards the end of his life in 1912, Booker T. Washington published a an article entitled, Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?” In this article he concluded that even the most successful black man “when compared with the the white man, does not have a fair chance.” Despite that realization, Washington never abandoned his conservative principles. We’ve come along way since then but just like Washington, we have to be willing to see the reality that is destroying our idealistic views. Just my 2 Lincolns.
- Booker T. Washington Delivered Controversial ‘Atlanta Compromise’ Speech Today In 1895 (myhoustonmajic.com)
- You Admit You’re a Slave if You Vote for Obama (godfatherpolitics.com)