Skip to comments.ARE BLACK CONSERVATIVES "UNCLE TOMS"? YES ...
Posted on 12/10/2002 8:27:44 AM PST by MAKnight
ARE WE BLACK CONSERVATIVES Uncle Toms? This question has haunted me for the past two months. Prior to that, I had absolutely no doubt that I was not an Uncle Tom. My political beliefs were simply different from those of most blacks. Or so I thought.
As you already know, I 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 paraphrase Larry Elder, 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, 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 Conservative since the early 1980s 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 black Conservatives are sell-outs as well.
I believe that you have probably heard about the ordeal a sociology professor by the name of Jean Cobbs (as well as many others) has been going through for the past seven years at Virginia State University. Her crime is that she is an unabashed black Conservative and a Republican. For that, she has been subjected to a campaign of political persecution, discrimination and retaliation which included a basically administration-approved physical assault upon her.
This story reminded me of an experience I had in 1984 (and a lot of others after that) right after the Reagan landslide. I made the mistake of telling a group of black "friends" at my workplace 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 spat at my feet and another 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 getting on the bus to get home the next day, one of them suddenly came onto the bus and sat opposite me. He was the one who had spat at my feet, 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 is 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 George Allen when he was running for Governor in Virginia. JC Watts had his father near publicly disowning him when he ran for his seat in the House. On black message boards and forums on the Internet, I have read screeds and witnessed attacks against black 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:
(1) Because we have consistently failed to protect and defend our own. When brave souls such as Kay James, Alan Keyes, Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, JC Watts, etc. 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 black 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 1999, I again got into a discussion on politics with a group of co-workers, including five black colleagues. I was the lone black person who said that I thought Clinton ought to have been removed from office. Again, the reaction was similar to what I recieved in 1984, 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 Jesse Jackson slogans) looked at me in pure disgust, and said, "What are they paying you?" at which I got so mad, I walked away.
The next day, I went to his desk and plunked down my bank statements, pay slips and my tax return forms and reciepts over the last four years. I told him to look through them and show me where I was being paid to be a Conservative. He was so completely startled that it was all I could do to not laugh. Since then to the time that I was transferred to where I am right now (London, United Kingdom), he increasingly sought me to discuss politics and many other things, including whether or not to place his children in a private school or not. I even got him to concede that Clarence Thomas did not deserve the hatred that has been stoked against him in the black community. Imagine this happening on a larger scale.
(2) Because we have not taken our message to our people. 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 black 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. But consider Bret Schundler, a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male Conservative Republican, the second-term mayor of Jersey City.
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. 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 vouchers/ 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 myself and all black Conservatives as Uncle Toms until we finally show the passion that we are honor-bound to show for our cause to uplift the black community as black Conservatives.
It is absolutely imperative for black 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 conference (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 black 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 BOND, CURE, BAMPAC, Project 21, NCNE, the various black Republican caucuses, etc. that are already trying to do so.
Should this Convention be able to get as participants such people as Armstrong Willaims, J.C. Watts, Kay Cole James, Walter Williams, Elizabeth Wright, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Larry Elder (a Libertarian but it's all good), Joe Rogers, Alvin Johnson, Robert Woodson, Dylan Glenn, Michael Steele, Ward Connerly, John Doggett, Shannon Reeves, Carlton Pearson, Kenneth Blackwell, Michael King, J.J. Johnson, Hurley Green, R.D. Davis, Ken Hamblin, Alan Keyes, etc. imagine what we would be able to achieve! Imagine it ... and then, with all due respect, Sir, help us make it real.
And maybe, soon, I would no longer feel like we are all such traitors.
Yours Sincerely, A BLACK CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN
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I'm sure it's significant when you find yourself in a minority, within a minority.
It's got to be a lonely, vulnerable thing to be.
But if I were Black, and another Black called me a "Bug-eyed, Foot-shuffling, Sugarcane Negro" I'd still be howling with laughter.
I couldn't help bu laugh as it was a new one on me.
The author suggests that Black Conservatives have some form of responsibility to the Black community. It goes completely against the notion of a color-blind society, in that he is still caught up in that strawman of defining himself as BLACK before anything else, and that this so-called 'Blackness' is what must dictate his behavior. This is wrongheaded, and no different from those on the other side who also believe that their skin color must somehow denote responsiblity for others. He has forgotten the concept of the individual; removed from such silly sentiments.
Black people will never be free and equal in this society, until we stop imposing some kind of moral responsibility, by fact of only our coloring. I owe no other black person anything, in the same way that I owe no white person. The only 'GROUP' I belong to is that of Conservatives, and no black Conservative deserves any more or less protection or defence than I would give a white Conservative.
When well allow race to dictate behavior or responsiblity, we are no better than those on the left would do the same thing in support of their socialist agenda.
You are an American of great courage, leadership and conviction, and that makes me very honored to know you.
I am a big fan of Blackwell. He could have been the governor of Ohio if the powers that be hadn't convinced him to run for (and win) the Secretary of State's job, so that Taft could run for Gov. unopposed. He could have had the Lt. Governor job but I dont think he wanted it. He WILL be the next Governor.
After that I hope he runs for Pres or VP. He would be excellent. I have believed for a long time that the first black pres or VP will be a republican, because most Democrats I know are closet racists. Ohio has sent 8 presidents to the White House (all Republicans). I think Blackwell will be no. 9!
us redmen are "coloured" too, though the naaLcp does NOT speak for us!
the LEFT despises us, because we are NOT on the libs plantation. most indians are social & fiscal CONSERVATIVES!
free dixie NOW,sw
Several years ago I was in a room with a dozen black ministers and the subject of Uncle Tom came up. I had just read 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' and to my surprise the principal character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom, was in fact, an admirable, Christ-like figure. This was so contrary to the commonly understood meaning of of the epithet "Uncle Tom" that I asked the ministers if they had read the book.
They all said they had (they hadn't) and when I pointed out that Uncle Tom was in fact a wonderful person, well, none of them would listen and I had enough sense to shut up about it.
I recommend you pick up the book sometime and read it. The next time someone calls you an 'Uncle Tom' you can cite the book to them, though, in my experience, it probably won't help.
Good luck and thanks again for taking the time.
I've politely asked such things as "can you name something specific that a Republican has done in the last 30 years?"
The universal answer is that "nothing specific comes to mind, but there's a lot of stuff..."
I keep asking for specifics, I keep getting garbage.
The Democratic mindwashing machine worked better that anyone could have believed. This wall of willful ignorance and mindless prejudice will take decades to dismantle. Best keep at it because the Democrats will never stop with the lies.
The use of peer pressure to enforce conformity. Some of us outgrew that after high school...
No, we dont.
Conservatism is not some religion that we can simply spread to the masses behind some message or messenger. It is a set of values, which either are in sync with individuals or not. You are not going to be able to provide information in a form that creates a form of enlightenment. My experience is that Black Conservatives usually wake up and realize that they are not Liberal, and decide to make that fact known.
No message is going to change the mind of someone born of a victim mentality, within a culture that excuses failure as someone else's fault. The message of Rights without Responsibility is the hallmark of the Liberal agenda, and for born victims, you cant beat it with a message of hard work and personal responsibility for only the opportunity for success, and not the PROMISE.
Conservatism needs no defense, and I question those who feel that they must somehow defend what has already been granted to us by our Constitution. Conservatives need not apologize or explain their positions as opinions, because they are not beliefs, they are VALUES.
Those of like-values will either recognize their true position on important issues, or they will cower away, and go along with the group-think mentality. The latter are people that Conservatives neither need or want. No true Black Conservative is silent about their position, and they/we dont need protection, as much as we need to uphold those ideals of SELF-determination. I would not be a Conservative, if I needed the support of anyone else in order to believe what I believe. My values didnt come from information, they came from within.
Well! I'm glad somebody else finally noticed that. Tom's patient defiance and spiritual independence - "No! no! no! my soul an't yours, Mas'r! You haven't bought it--ye can't buy it! It's been bought and paid for by One that is able to keep it. No matter, no matter, you can't harm me!" - was definitely NOT the "Uncle Tom" of legend.
Problem is, Harriet Stowe's book is very difficult to read by modern standards. It's long, it's often bombastic, the dialogue is laughable (she was born & bred New England and had no idea how people talked in the South, black or white), it's full of overt evangelical preaching (her daddy was a red-hot and controversial preacher after all), and it's extremely sentimental. So hardly anybody has read it (except those of us who read it for History -- my concentration was military history in general and the War (yes, THAT war) in particular.)
But there is no question that Stowe fully intended Tom to be an analogue of Christ as the bringer of redemption through suffering. (She even SAID so in her letters.) Stowe never intended to be "the little lady that started this big war," as Lincoln quipped, she truly believed that demonstration of the goodness and suffering of men and women like Tom and Eliza would turn the hearts of the nation.
That ain't peer pressure, that's harassment. I'm talking about being unwilling to go against the will of the group...
Josiah Henson was born a slave on 15th June, 1789 in Charles County, Maryland. He was sold three times before he reached the age of eighteen. By 1830, Henson had saved up $350 to purchase his freedom. After giving his master the money he was told that the price had increased to $1,000. Cheated of his money, Henson decided to escape with his wife and four children. After reaching Canada, Henson formed a community where he taught other ex-slaves how to be successful farmers. His autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson (1849) was read by Harriet Beecher Stowe and inspired her best-selling novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin
I've never been given a coherant reason for this. If anyone would like to educate me I'm all ears (eyes?).
Josiah Henson settled only a few miles from my hometown, Chatham, Ontario. In the mid-1800's our city, which was a significant farming and military town on the Thames River (they're still pulling War of 1812 cannon shot out of it) was over 40% Black, and still retains a large and proud community today (home of Fergie Jenkins, for you baseball fans). The only times I ever heard anyone in Chatham, black, white, whatever, refer to "Uncle Tom" it was with pride.
I just don't get it.
Don't feel like a traitor. You only want what is best for all people - to be able to work hard and take care of themselves. The Dems want only to make blacks so dependent on the state they can enslave them again. After all, it was the Dems who wanted to keep blacks as slaves - it was the Republicans that wanted them to be free.
As long as Conservatism is looked upon as a Belief System, it is subject to attack. When it becomes merely an OPINION, then it pales in comparison to a Value.
I said nothing about keeping Conservatism to myself, only that I am under no personal obligation to spread the word to the Black community at large.
I didnt become a Conservative, I have always been one, for lack of name. When I registered to vote, I took seriously the values that Conservatives share and decided to remain independent, instead of signing up as a Republican. "Conservative" and "Republican" are two different things.
It would be much more effective, were Conservatives to only display the BENEFITS of Conservatism through their own lives, and let the masses decide for themselves, rather than to woo, and cajole a bunch of mealy-mouthed Moderates into joining our side based upon empty promises of the 'good life'.
Were I advising you about your child, it would be to only promote their individualism, and their embrase of personal responsibility. If you do that, there is no way they could be anything BUT Conservative.
Conservative WITHOUT some sense of duty to those lazy enough to choose the Liberal path, and unafraid of adhering to their values, just because others suffer for not.
my sister is one of those!
My sister-in-law, whose parents came from China back in the 40's, refers to herself as a banana. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.
The tradition of being like Uncle Tom goes back to real heroes such as Daniel, Elijah, Joshua, and Joseph --those willing to hold to what is right, no matter what either their apparent adversaries or friends do, or wrongly believe about them --people willing to stand alone.
That's also the way of those who follow the One who came to hang alone, for all of us. Narrow is His way.
free dixie NOW,sw
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