Sunday, August 14, 2005

Black Republicans

Recently Harry Belafonte blasted blacks in George Bush's higher administration as being "tyrants". He earlier raised eyebrows by stating that Colin Powell was a House Negro. Other well known people such as Al Sharpton have labeled any people who align themselves with the Republican Party, or with conservative ideals as being black in physical characteristic only. As if, there is some litmus test of socio-political thought that allows you to be a card-carrying member of the black race. I myself am a Democrat, and I am more of a centrist on issues. But, overall when it comes to social issues I consider myself to be liberal. I have no problem calling myself liberal, and it irks me when people rename themselves as "progressives" to avoid the "scourge of being declared a liberal". I recognize the ebb and flow of political and cultural tides here in the United States, and I remember when the Republicans were the minority party, the idea of being conservative was synonymous with backward, stilted thought, therefore I see no reason to hold true to your ideals no matter what.

What I do have a problem with is the notion that Black Republicans are thought of as being anything but black. When you look at powerful people such as Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Clarence Thomas you can't help but to admire the great things that they hae accomplished in their life, regardless of whether or not you agree with them. Yet, these people find themselves denigrated in a more harsh manner by people of their own race as if they are somehow race traitors. I suppose the notion is, "You are black, why don't you think like the rest of us?" Usually my exasperation over the notion that blacks are a monolithic, multi-organism yet single thought race is reserved for white people. I had a good friend ask me once, "What do black people think about Condoleeza Rice being named to Colin Powell's former post?" I said, "Hell I don't know what 'black people think', but personally I think it is historic for an African-American woman to take the post of a high office immediately after an African-American male had the same position." Immediately I think he realized the mistake he made and sort of dropped the subject.

There are black Conservative Bloggers such as LaShawn Barber who routinely draw the ire of others. I have seen things written about her that called her everything from an Uncle Tomasina to a right-wing nut job. Granted, she and I are probably worlds apart on a lot of things, and we would probably become frustrated with one another while we argued politics or something like that, but believe me, I could respectfully disagree with her in that light, yet probably have a great conversation with her about a myriad of other things.

At no time would I ever tell a person that they were or were not black because of how they vote, where they and if they go to worship, their sexuality, their socio-economic level, or even if they have had brushes with the law. I suppose that is the vaunted open-mindedness that we liberals talk about, but we should apply that liberalism across the board, not simply when it suits us.

"Black Republicans" is a word that used to speak to a much smaller population of people, but now it is growing larger, and we should ask ourselves why. I think that this ought to be a message to the Democratic Party that there are alternatives out there. Additionally, I think we ought to act more like Party Members, and not as if we have "handlers". The term Black Republicans was originated in a negative light by the way.


Black Republicans
a term applied by southern
Democrats in the years before the Civil War to members of the
Republican
party
. Those who used this term intended it to be an insult, hoping that
white Americans who felt racial prejudice toward African-Americans would reject
the Republicans as too sympathetic to the slaves' demands for liberty and equal
rights. They continued to use this term during the
Reconstruction
period to label Republicans who favored legislation and other government action
to help the freed slaves.


This definition came courtesy of "The Great American Fact finder which is sponsored by Houghton Mifflin. In the end, I look at an outrageous quote by Al Sharpton in which he stated that black people did not need to simply work on getting blacks into higher office, but the "right kind of blacks". He states, and I quote....

"We shouldn't be talking about getting more blacks in high places, but
getting the right blacks. If we doubt that, just look at Clarence Thomas," he
said. "Clarence Thomas is my color, but he's not my kind."


In the end I have to ask, "What kind of person is Sharpton's kind? The kind that will denigrate a person for what they believe simply for the color of thier skin? If so, I hope I am not Sharpton's kind of person."

3 comments:

Sean from DocintheBox said...

Good post, it's bad when people prejudge what kind of person you are or aren't by the color of your skin. I'd say welcome to milblogs but it looks like you were hear long before the rest of us.

Jibtrim said...

Kelly,

Thanks for doing what you do and being who you are. You and I share a few things -- we are both red state Catholics. I'm not sure why we need labels for folks -- even though I did it in the previous line. Like the Doc said before me previously, welcome, but you were here before here was here.

Thanks again and you have been linked by a fellow Milblog member.

Jibtrim

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