What have Republicans/conservatives done for black Americans? I hear that question constantly when I disclose that I am a conservative Republican. Often I will provide the usual facts that seem to be missing from the historical lexicon these days: freed the slaves, were 90%+ in the majority in the votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, something about the question sets steel to my nerves and I’ve been meaning to articulate the reasons for it here for some time now.
Implied in the question is that a political party must “do something” for blacks. Not merely the usual “something” that a government entity does for all of its constituents, e.g. provide utilities, regulate commerce, etc., but something special.
That word ‘special’ has taken on a new meaning in recent years and I think that it applies to the special items that liberals/leftists believe that the government should provide for the ‘special’ people, the “congenitally retarded” folk.
Yes, we ‘special’ people--with ‘special’ needs--require special handling: special education and special employment. You can’t expect black people to live up to the standards of ‘normal’ people. Like paraplegics or the blind or the deaf or those afflicted with Down’s syndrome, singular accommodations must be made for the great handicap of being born with black skin. To liberals/leftists, black people are a crippled class that can never be made whole just as long as they can never be made not-black. What’s this notion called?
And if anyone tries to treat us as full, competent adults, the liberals/leftists will scream in righteous anger and protest about the unfairness of it all. And if some of us ‘handicapped’ verbally express the desire to be treated like full, competent adults and act in a manner that demonstrates that desire, we are deemed as traitors by those who share the same racial makeup, but buy into the ‘handicap’ philosophy. Yes, we are “traitors,” because if some of us refuse to take advantage of the special needs offered and succeed anyway, the vast majority of America will begin to think that we don’t really require the “handicap slot.”
The vast majority of Americans will begin to think that we’re not really inferior after all. (Optimistically speaking, I believe that the vast majority think this anyway.)
"You do not own, and you are not the arbiters of, African-American authenticity," said [Rod] Paige [to NAACP leaders], who rose from segregated Mississippi to become President Bush's education chief.(Thanks to reader Wesley J.)
Or, as I might put it, who died and made you the head of the Brutha/Sista Card Registry?
This idea of our race-wide ‘handicap’ is so ingrained in the mindsets of some, however, that it has morphed into the very existentiality of black identity: a black person who believes that black Americans need extra help to succeed is “authentically black.” Conversely, one who doesn’t buy it “isn’t really black” and is, therefore, a traitor to black identity.
In short, blacks who believe in their own inferiority are the real deal and those who don’t, aren’t. How's that for twisted dogma?
(This is why Condoleezza Rice comes in for special scorn among the liberals/leftists, especially black ones. Having been born with not merely one, but the proverbial two strikes against her, her very existence gives lie to the entire notion of black inferiority: she has succeeded through innate intelligence, raw talent and hard work. I’m sure that white supremacists hate her just as much. Now there's a marriage made in...somewhere.)
So when some black people find out that Republicans don’t want to “do anything” for them except to encourage them to take part in the American dream of prosperity, stemming from work and ingenuity, they’re like, “WTF? Where’s my money?”
So it is that white Republicans/conservatives, those whose ideology purports to treat blacks as equals are considered Devils. We blacks who agree with this are merely the Devils’ minions.
Those that have wondered why the vast majority of the Republican party don’t spend time on “minority outreach” miss the point. Republicans do outreach already. They just don’t do handicapped outreach, not unless you're really handicapped.