ARE WE URBAN CONSERVATIVES considered as Sellouts? This question has pounded me for the past several months. Prior to that, I had absolutely no doubt that I was not a sellout. My political beliefs were simply different from those of most Blacks. Or so I thought.
As time went on, I finally came to realize that my fellow African-Americans on the other end of the spectrum didn't think that this difference was "simple" at all. Most of the Black population, our "leaders" in particular, believe that this difference is actually a manifest sign of evil. To make things simple and plain, this list is only a tiny fraction of the names Black Conservatives have had to endure being called over the past few decades; Oreo, Uncle Tom, Boot-licking Uncle Tom, Straight-up Uncle Tom, Judas, Boy, Bug-eyed, Foot-shuffling, Sugarcane Negro, Handkerchief head, Trojan Horse, Anti-black, Pro-white, Remus, Sambo, Sambo-Tom, The Anti-Christ, Bush supporter, traitor,Clarence Thomas supporter (as if that's a bad thing), Sniveling weasel, Evil, Ass-kisser, Coconut, Wannabe white, etc.
I've been a self-acknowledged Urban Conservative since 2004 and I have been called all these names at some time or the other, on and off the net. More often it's been offline that I've faced the most abuse. It reached an extent that I would withdraw myself from any conversation with Black people whenever the subject switched to politics. That has changed though ... I seem to have developed a sort of perverse sense of pleasure at making liberals squirm with a few well-phrased questions.
Throughout that time though, I have never felt like a "traitor." Until two months ago. It was the first time I have ever felt like a sell-out ... and furthermore I felt that all of us Urban Conservatives are sell-outs as well.
I believe that you have probably heard about how I switched from being a Nubian Islamic Hebrew to being a Black Christian Nationalist to now an Urban Conservative who vote Republican I have been going through for the past several months here in the most liberal city anywhere in the United States, Detroit, Michigan. My crime is that I unearthed a deep truth about Black people none of these groups cared to share with me as a child. That truth is the fact that Black people once upon a time voted Republican and lived a very conservative lifestyle. In fact, I have been watching Roots: The Next Generation on TV One and not only they made references of Blacks being Republicans in Congress but I payed serious attention to the relationships between men and women. Very conservative and very classy people we were. When the Democratic Party began pushing the Ku Klux Klan (which was shown in the movie) and later began pushing socialization programs that (1) destroyed the Black family and (2) ushered in the ghetto culture of wearing tattoos, tongue rings and sagging pants we hooked on like phonics.
Since I defend the truth on a daily basis from a conservative point of view I am subjected to a campaign of political persecution, discrimination and retaliation, which included a basically community physical assault upon myself.
This reminds me of an experience I just last year (and a lot of others after that) right after DeVos lost to Gov. Granholm. I told a group of black friends in the community who I voted for. I can't forget the looks of disgust on their faces and it still amuses me no end when I think about it. One looked as if he was going to attack me right then and there. One called me a "Sell-out," shaking his head in disbelief. After some more name-calling, all of them turned their heels on me and left me standing alone by the watercooler.
But that was not the remarkable thing. As I was preparing to go to Benton Harbor the following week ,one of them suddenly called me. He was the one who had called me a sellout so I got prepared for trouble. But what he said to me surprised me completely. "I'm a Republican too." So I asked him exactly why he didn't stand up for me the day before and he answered "I have to work with these guys everyday, y'know."
I have no intention of sounding melodramatic, but being Black and a Conservative can be a recipe for feeling isolated. And despite the fact that I risk sounding like a "victicrat" by saying this, we are probably among the most hated minorities in the United States. For not only do whatever racists that remain continue to hate us, so do the vast majority of the minority community, and the bulk of the Left, because we dare remain off their plantation.
Over the years, I have seen far too many Black fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, friends, etc. seriously damage their ties with each other on account of politics, with the Conservative bearing the worst of it. A man I know had his wife excoriating him in public when he revealed that he voted for Keith Butler when he was running for U.S. Senate in Michigan last year. One Black Republicans brother I know had his father near publicly disowning him when he ran for his seat in a local race. On Black message boards and forums on the Internet, I have read screeds and witnessed attacks against Urban Conservatives that would not have looked out of place in Mein Kampf.
But the thing is, they are right to attack us. For we truly are Uncle Toms and sell-outs – though definitely not in the way they think. It is said that for evil (or bad ideas) to prevail, all good people need do is nothing, and that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. It is in regard to both these sayings that we Black Conservatives have sold out.
We are sell-outs in two ways:
When brave souls such as Kay James, Alan Keyes, Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, JC Watts,Star Parker and myself are attacked, where is our outrage? And if indeed we are outraged, how come the entire world doesn't know about it? When we are called names, why do we not fight back and make sure that person would think a VERY long time about it before he/she does it again? If we cannot stand up for ourselves, why would anyone respect us enough to listen to us? Is it a wonder then, that our arguments are simply dismissed and we are just called names instead of being civily debated against? Challenging the name calling and innuendo directed against us Urban Conservatives is not only a matter of justice, it would serve to open people's minds and thus yield dividends for us in terms of effectively taking our message to the Black community. This I can personally attest to.
In November 2006, I again got into a discussion on politics with a group of people, including five Black colleagues. I was the lone black person who said that I thought Granholm ought to have been removed from office. Again, the reaction was similar to what I receive earlier that year, but I easily held my own in defending my view and explaining why I was a Conservative, until one Black colleague (who had not even bothered to debate me and had only repeated Black Nationalist slogans) looked at me in pure disgust, and said, "What are they paying you?" at which I laughed and I walked away.
The next day, I went to his office and plunked down my bank statements and pay slips over the last four months. I told him to look through them and show me where I was being paid to be a Conservative, let alone being on DeVos's payroll. He was so completely startled that it was all I could do to not laugh. Since then he increasingly sought me to discuss conservative politics and many other things, including whether or not to place his children in a charter school or not. I even got him to concede that other Black Republicans did not deserve the hatred that has been stoked against him in the Black community. Imagine this happening on a larger scale.
What was my formula to finally convince him? Helping him understand that family values through educational choices will build into wealth creation. He was hooked on conservative technology.
If we truly believed that Conservative principles would help our communities best and that the grip the Left has on the Black community is destroying us, then our virtual silence is unconscionable. As Urban Conservatives, no one is more an advocate of self-help and raising ourselves by our bootstraps. But on this issue, we've done an extremely pathetic job of living up to our own principles.
We have our brains and should we be able to muster the passion (another thing that compounds our Uncle-Tom-ness) we have more than enough bootstraps to meet this challenge. But are we pulling? The answer is an unequivocal no. The fact that most of the Black media is Liberal and that most of the Black community at present distrusts us makes no difference. We could make and distribute pamphlets, post leaflets, speak at churches, campaign at schools and very publicly go into Black neighborhoods and look our people in the eye and tell them exactly why they should shake off the Left's shackles. This sounds a lot easier than it is, and I agree that it is. for example, take Bret Schundler, a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male Conservative Republican, the second-term mayor of Jersey City back in 2001.
Asked how it was that he was able to get himself elected with a 69% (first election) and 59% (second election) majority in a city that is two-thirds minority and that has Democrats outnumbering Republicans at least three-to-one, he simply answered that "he did it by going into the Black communities and talking about school vouchers and charter schools. He did it by going into the Hispanic communities and talking about tax-cuts and how they would affect individual families. To be succinct, he did it by going into communities that Republicans (even Black Republicans) generally don't go to, and having a frank conversation with individuals, relating to them how his policies would change their lives." His approach paid off; he is probably the first Conservative Republican in the past few decades to have garnered 45% (second election) of the votes of his Black constituents.
My question is; if he could do it, a White Conservative as he is, why can't we? The fact that we are basically standing idly by while the Left consolidates its grip on and destroys our communities should be a constant source of shame to us.
For instance the current state of our education system has long provided us with an opening (i.e charters/ education tax credits which are supported by an overwhelming majority of Black parents yet opposed by the Left and "Black leaders"), yet considering how so very important this issue is for the progress of our community, we have not taken this opportunity as we should have and I can't think of a reason why. That's why I would personally consider Urban Conservatives who are quiet on the issues, stand on the sidelines and make money while Black children are suffering, Black parents are illiterate and our communities are falling apart and allow their fellow Urban Conservatives to be attacked religiously are following the same "Uncle Tom syndrome" of hiding behind the doors until we finally show the passion that we are honor-bound to show for our cause to uplift the Black community as Black Conservatives.
But why am I writing all this to you? One, because from where I am and the nature of my job, I can do nothing except over cyberspace, and because I believe this will help me sleep better tonight. Two, because I believe, after seeing our Urban Conservative leadership in action only during political season that you could be a leader in rectifying this situation. I express with my fellow Urban Conservatives with great interest your article about how the lack of passionate activism on the part of our fellow Urban Conservatives have allowed a serious surge with Black liberals and their raging hatred towards us instead of working together to build a better community. I even feel it is time for a real State of the Urban Conservative symposium. It set my mind racing and I settled on an idea that has probably been tried before, but it is nonetheless something that I truly believe, done differently, may work. There should be held a Urban Conservative Conference/Convention/Symposium. And it should be held as soon as possible right here in Michigan.
It is imperative for Urban Conservatives to consolidate our efforts and work out our approach to taking our message to the Black community, rehabilitating our images in the community, and defending our reputations from slanderous attacks from the Left and their allied "Civil Rights Leaders." We need to have vigorous debates on what Conservatism would mean for our communities, the policies we support and oppose (i.e. racial preferences), the way we present our beliefs and how we will deal with an often hostile media. We ought to come out from this symposium (if it ever happens) more united, more dedicated to our cause, more willing to fight for it, and more willing to aggressively campaign for what we believe in. We ought to come out from this more alert to unwarranted and insidious attacks on our Urban Conservative brothers and sisters on the public stage, and more ready to defend them and castigate those who would attack them for nothing more than being Conservative. We ought to come out from this with an actual course of action and with a personal dedication to executing it, and also networking with and supporting those ideologically kindred groups like One Network, One Choice PAC, BOND, RBE, NBRA, Alliance of Black Republicans, BAMPAC, Project 21, and many others.
Should this Convention be able to get as participants such people as Armstrong Williams, J.C. Watts, Walter Williams, Elizabeth Wright, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Larry Elder (a Libertarian but it's all good), Frances Rice, Joe Rogers, Robert Woodson, Glenn Loury, Dylan Glenn, Michael Steele, Jacqueline Whitted, John Doggett, Shannon Reeves, Rod Paige, Kenneth Blackwell, Michael King, Hurley Green, R.D. Davis, Don Scoggins, Rev. Dr, Levon Yuille, Bishop Ira Combs, Bishop Keith Butler, Akindele Akinyemi, Alan Keyes, etc. imagine what we would be able to achieve! Imagine it ... and then, with all due respect, My conservative brothers and sisters help us make it real.
And maybe, soon, we can move ahead as one.