As you begin reading this article, I make one request: put away your pre-conceived notions of the title “black conservative” and open your mind to what black conservatives actually stand for. Statistics show that “black” people living in Jacksonville, Florida overwhelming vote and align themselves with the liberal/democratic platform. On the surface this stance is easy to understand because it is fueled by a litany of tongue lashings of how conservatives have lied, flip-flopped, exhibited racists thoughts or actions and are anti-everything except rich white men. Unfortunately, some of the accusations from the liberal side of the aisle are true, but it doesn’t represent true conservative values, conservatism, or Black Conservatism. It only represents the small percentage of individuals who act in that manner. For that reason, it is past time for the truth to be told about Black Conservatism, from the mouth of a Black Conservative.
Who are we? We are your neighbors, your best friends, your relatives, your co-workers and even your mailman. We are you! Black Conservatives are doctors, janitors, teachers, bus drivers, underemployed and even unemployed. Black Conservatives share the same discrimination, racial profiling, and stereotypes as any other Black Americans, but we see the solution to these problems differently from our liberal brothers and sisters. We have the exact same goals, but are just travelling a different road to get there!
We stand for strong, intact families. Many, but not all of us, believe in traditional marriage. We believe in limited government because government is made up of men and women who are subject to flaws. History tells us that people who have less control of their own destiny than their government does, are soon enslaved by that government. We believe in economic strongholds. Meaning the black dollar should be able to circulate in the black community an infinite amount of times without having to leave that community. This means we believe that there should be enough quality businesses of color to provide goods and services for the members of the black community without having to go outside of that community for anything. That means we have doctors, lawyers, plumbers, grocery stores, electricians, jewelers, dentists, etc…! We believe in everyone being afforded an excellent education, wherever it may be. If a community has failed to provide the best education for ALL of its children, then the children should be able to attend any school that can/will take them and that provide the best opportunities for that child to be his/her best. We believe in a healthcare system that is affordable and available to those who choose to participate. We believe in people earning an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. We believe that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes and share in the benefits and in the responsibilities of being an American. We believe all citizens should vote, but strongly encourage people to educate themselves on the issues before they do as to not vote against their own best interest. We believe that women should earn the same salary for doing the same work as men. We believe in a minimum wage that will allow a person to feed his family, but also a business owner to profit and expand his business if he so desires. We believe in a strong military and that our veterans should be treated with the utmost respect and receive the care they need after returning home from war. We believe that all people are equal and should be treated fairly. Most of all, we believe in individual responsibility- the ownership of one’s own destiny and his God given right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
As a Black Conservative, I often get frustrated because the minds of so many people are hardened to us and they often treat us like we are the enemy. I will give you a few personal examples of what I mean. Last year, I attended a meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was its first President. Shortly after entering, I was asked if I wanted to join and given a membership application. I took it and sat down to wait for the meeting to start. During the meeting one person stood up and discussed a previous meeting the organization had, he said, “… and we had 4 Republican there! They should not be allowed in our organization!” Sadly, he wasn’t the only one, there were some others that agreed with him, they didn’t want Republicans in their SCLC. Another example is when I attended a local NAACP meeting last year. After the meeting was over, I went and introduce myself to the speaker (who I will leave nameless, but he is well known in our city) and asked if the NAACP would work with my club on some outreach programs for minorities to register, get educated and vote. He was supportive—at first. When I told him, I was a Republican, his entire demeanor changed and needless to say, it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, I have yet another example, when at Jacksonville’s Black Expo 2015, I met a lady from the Black Caucus who had a booth not too far from ours. I think she came by our booth to see what we were about. I introduced myself and told her that her organization and mine should work together and she quickly responded, “We don’t need to work together on anything!” I asked, “So we shouldn’t even work together to help improve our schools?” She didn’t respond and walked off.
How much more could we have accomplished last year if we were willing to work together? How many children and families suffered because some of us are unwilling to partner with people who are trying to achieve the same goals? Isn’t this a complaint that we hear in the black community “…black people can’t ever get ahead because they can’t work together like, the white people do, like the Asians do, like the Native Americans do.” It is time for that to change!!
Sincerely, Hopeful, and definitely unapologetically,