Black Conservatives

I do a lot of reading by and about Black conservatives. I'm definitlely closer to being a conservative than I am a liberal, or a progressive, as they prefer to be called. Nevertheless, when I read Black conservatives, I sometimes wonder why they never have anything good to say about Black folks. It seems that every time I look (and maybe it's just the writers and the articles I'm reading), it's always about how we have become the victims of the thing that was meant to help us (Affirmative Action) or pointing out how ineffective our "leaders" (the Revs. Al and Jesse) are, or framing the problems that plague the Black community as if they are pathological and endemnic to us, and not spread throughout the wider community. As Common said: With that anti-rap, complainin' about this and about that soundin' bitch-like, that ain't gon' make a nigga get right The problem as I see it is not in the conservative message, it's in the delivery. While I don't think that racism is almost dead, on life support, or even in the hospital, I would argue that racism is not our main problem. Not any more. My personal estimate is that racism is responsible for holding us back, maybe, 25%, and that's including institutional and structural racism, which are things that have racist effects without anybody necessarily having a racist intent. Whether you agree or disagree with that figure, I think it's hard not to concede that the biggest problems facing us are caused by us. I'm more likely to be killed by another Black male than any other demographic. And while some people might try to make that a result of systemic racism, racism is not what's making that particular dude pull the trigger in that particular instance. No, the problems that plague our community come mostly from within. This is where I think the Black conservative (or maybe I should say the black Conservative) message goes awry. Instead of just highlighting problems, they should offer solutions. Really, they should focus only on their solutions. As many conservatives write, the typical rank-and-file Black person is usually a lot more conservative than the politics as espoused by Black "leaders." At the same time, there does not appear to be an effort made to reach out to the disaffected masses, except to repudiate the "leaders." Really. What is that supposed to do? It's not a personality contest. I don't think Black folks are caught up under a spell, we just want what's best for us, just like any other group of individuals. Right now, the majority of Black folks seem to think that the programs forwarded by Democrats and progressives are what's best for them as individuals. The way to counter that is to actually present an alternative, not just talk about how so-and-so party or such-and-such ideology is damaging Black people. A good example is the book, Scam: How The Black Leadership Exploits Black America. In it, Rev. Jesse Peterson highlights what he sees as the failings of current Black "leaders" and how we have been duped into following them. I won't get into a full discussion of the book, but here are two reviews, one favorable and one unfavorable. My point in bringing up the book here is that from what I understand, Rev. Peterson does some tremendous work in helping troubled Black youths. However, in reading the book, you get only a very limited sense of what that work is and what it entails. Personally, I would rather know what Rev. Peterson himself is doing and how it's working than what Rev. Peterson thinks of what Jesse Jackson is doing. I can see what Jesse Jackson is (or ain't) doing for myself. At the same time, I think that we as Black folks have to recognize that "Blackness" does not come in one political hue. Just because a person is against Affirmative Action doesn't mean they are anti-Black or that they have forgotten where they came from. It just means they have a different opinion on the best way to move Black people forward. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there's everything right with it. John McWhorter frequently points out how Black people built institutions in the face of virulent racism, but now we're supposed to think that we can't do anything without government assistance. Saying "we don't need them to help us" is not anti-Black. Regardless, it's healthy to have different opinions out on the table. If we can accept the fact that Black folks come in this wide spectrum of physical colors and charactaristics, why can't we accept that Black people come in different political shades, as well? Why does a Black Republican have to be an "Uncle Tom" or a "sellout?" How does caricaturing Clarence Thomas as a lawn jockey progress Black thought? It doesn't. I guess my main point is that we don't have to agree on everything when we have the same goal in mind. Like I said, stereo describes my scenario.