Note: The Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) hosted a group of prominent figures from the black community on Friday, February 22, 2013 at the National Press Club to speak out against gun control legislation currently being considered on Capitol Hill. The following is a statement I contributed to CURE in support of this event and in lieu of my attendance.
Archive for the ‘Black in America’ Category
Note: We continue to struggle with race in America, even after electing a black man to a second term as president, an event that has occurred only 21 times in American history. Although my book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch, was first published in 2010, it is still timely and topical today. It’s a personal testimony of my journey as a Christian American conservative who happens to be black. The article below is the first chapter of the book. If the topic and the chapter below stir your interest, please visit my book page and consider picking up a copy. (more…)
As we approach the end of 2012, with a contentious electoral season behind us and a year of potential ahead of us, I want to try and address some strongly held notions in America’s black community that, if we are courageous enough to challenge them, could make 2013 a year of significant change not just for black Americans, but for all of us.
The prevailing attitude in the black community in the wake of President Obama’s reelection could be stated as follows: “We delivered for you, so now it’s time for you to deliver for us.” This attitude, in my opinion, is predicated on an unrealistic assumption of how politics works in the real world.
Frankly put, if politicians don’t have to work for your affections before the vote, they certainly aren’t obligated to reward you afterwards.
There’s a line in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet which reads, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” I confess that’s my reaction to the obsession of liberal elites with the topic of racism, which seems to take up an inordinate amount of their time and attention. I don’t honestly know if rank-and-file liberals share this obsession, although many of them parrot their claims. It seems, however, that the ones who have race on their minds the most are the ones who are always talking about it.
So when I read about the recent AP survey which suggests that a slight majority of whites in America have “anti-black” feelings, I rolled my eyes. The timing of this survey’s release is particularly interesting to me, given the tense and fractured state of our nation and the election a week away. It appears that a narrative is being constructed to explain a possible election loss by President Obama, and the article’s specific references to the potential impact of the attitudes addressed in the survey on his reelection chances doesn’t dissuade me from that thought.
Perhaps I’m dismissive of the study because there are a lot of memes that will be constructed around it that are ultimately destructive to our cohesion and harmony as a nation, but advantageous to certain agendas which depend on grievance and discontentment to survive. Nearly four years after thinking a new day in race relations had dawned with the election of a black man to the presidency, we are worse off than we were even before that time, and this ill-timed study is simply pouring gasoline on the fire.
I also don’t like polls where they ask peripheral questions or conduct some indirect test and, based on your responses, conclude that you’re prejudiced. That is, in my opinion, highly presumptuous where the private thoughts and intentions of another human being are concerned.
Essentially, they’re saying, “We’re going to ask you if you’re prejudiced, and we expect you’ll say no, because no one thinks they are, but then we’re going to ask other questions and flash pictures in front of you and, based on how you react to our mind games, we’ll tell you whether or not you’re prejudiced.” Mind reading is essentially the crux of their “scientific” methodology. Unless they were somehow granted the powers of a deity and can see into the minds and hearts of men, I’m disinclined to accept any findings not based on a direct answer to a direct question regarding the topic of race.
Let me be frank. There is racism in the hearts of men, and there will be until the end of time when Christ returns, because we are inherently sinful beings. No laws will ever eradicate racism, but – note this – the laws would not have changed to protect the legal rights of black Americans if the culture, and the hearts of the people, hadn’t changed.
Barack Obama would not be president of the United States if he hadn’t received more white votes than any other Democrat since Lyndon Johnson. Even if I buy the notion that many whites voted for him out of guilt for America’s racist past, doesn’t that mean they at least acknowledge that racism is a bad thing? I think most Americans agree with that sentiment, which is why they react vociferously to accusations of racism.
Racism has become socially unacceptable, as it were, and those who openly espouse racist views are ostracized and held in abeyance on the fringes of American culture. So why do some insist on keeping the specter of racism alive?
I’ve been a user of social media since before the term was even coined. I was using GEnie and CompuServe in the late 1980s, and was a charter member of AOL when it was first released on the PC under a long-gone desktop operating system and application suite called GeoWorks. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to witness and experience first-hand the impact of Internet-driven community building on the culture as a whole. The effect has been largely positive in terms of connecting like-minded people together on a scale and scope never before imagined.
In my early forays on Facebook, I remember connecting with conservative black men and women online, and the initial reaction from each of them was always the same; “I didn’t know there was anyone else out there like me.” The reaction on Twitter, where I was active at a time when people looked at you quizzically when you told them you were tweeting, was similar. We started to forge bonds and establish relationships, and we actively sought out others to join us. (more…)
The Republican National Convention this year devoted a significant portion of its prime time schedule to women and minority speakers, many of whom are the equivalent of rock stars in conservative circles. I expected liberals, from the bottom of the barrel to the top, to respond to the presence of these speakers, but even they caught me by surprise with the shrillness, ugliness and unhinged anger they showed.
Note: I had the honor this past Saturday of speaking as part of a panel at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, DC, on the topic, “Building Bridges to African-Americans.” I had prepared some remarks to share, but the discussion went in a slightly different direction than I expected, so I’m sharing them with a wider audience instead.
Note: These are my prepared remarks from my presentation to the 16th annual Clarion Community Martin Luther King Day Celebration, hosted at Clarion University on January 26, 2012.
One of the more compelling human interest stories of 1975 is the tale of Japanese second lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, an intelligence officer in the Japanese Imperial Army who surrendered to his commanding officer after he was persuaded that the war was over. The only problem is that the war he was fighting, World War II, had ended nearly 30 years earlier. Lt. Onoda had been hiding out in the jungles of the Philippines, destroying crops, engaging in shootouts with the local police and actually killing 30 Filipinos, fighting a war that had ended long ago.
We are now in the second decade of the 21st century and we are commemorating the birth of a man of peace, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let there be no doubt, however, that he was also a warrior, battling the foes of liberty and equality with weapons of non-violence, grace and dignity. Each time we come together to acknowledge this man’s greatness, however, I think it is instructive to ask ourselves where we are in the ongoing quest to be equal heirs with all Americans in enjoying the blessings of liberty.
As a former intelligence officer myself, I survey the American landscape, past and present, and questions arise in my mind. Are we fighting yesterday’s battles? Is there another front we’re neglecting? Are we fighting with modern weapons and tactics or, to use a popular phrase, are we bringing knives to a gun fight?
These questions came to mind as I read a recent report, The State of the African American Consumer, commissioned by the Nielsen Research Group and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, representing over 200 black community newspaper across the country. According to this report, the black community in the United States will have a cumulative buying power of $1.1 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – by 2015, just three years from now. If black Americans were an independent nation, we would be the 16th wealthiest nation in the world, ahead of nations like Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, which we normally think of as wealthy. By way of comparison, the combined buying power of the entire African continent is estimated at $1.7 trillion.
The same report states that the number of black households earning $75,000 or more increased by 64 percent between 2000 and 2009, a rate 12 percent higher than the overall population in that same time frame. Educational attainment at all levels is up, and black women are outpacing black men in obtaining college degrees, so we men have to step it up a bit!
I have a copy of the report for anyone who wants to peruse it, and it’s available online as a free download. I encourage you to read it because it will alter your thinking about the state of black America today. I don’t want to diminish the problems we still face with fatherless homes, unacceptably high dropout rates from high school among young black men, and all the pathologies that result from single-parent households and a lack of education.
What this report did for me, however, is focus my attention on a key question: What are we doing with this considerable buying power, and what should we be doing with it?
After decades of promoting education as the first and most essential step toward black self-reliance and success in the larger American society, it appears that the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson is changing his tune.
While visiting the Operation Black Vote headquarters in London, England, Rev. Jackson was asked what black fathers should do to protect their sons from the troubles that compel so many young black men to make poor choices leading to crime, violence and untimely death. This is the central point in his response:
When I was younger I would say I wanted my children to get educated so that they wouldn’t have to go through what I’ve gone through. I’ve changed that position now. I want them to get a good education so they can have more tools with which to fight. The fight will not stop. I want them to have more tools. I want black fathers to have more tools with which to fight.
It has been 78 years since black historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, “the father of black history,” wrote his signature work, The Mis-Education of the Negro, in which he accused the American education system of his day of indoctrinating, rather than teaching, black children, and perpetuating their sense of dependency and inferiority in American society.
Today, Rev. Jackson is suggesting that education is just another tool in the arsenal of grievance, victimhood and protest that he and others of his ilk have employed on behalf of the black community in America for half a century, with decidedly mixed results. I believe, however, that Dr. Woodson would categorically reject Rev. Jackson’s suggested application of education, and accuse him of mis-educating black people in his own right.
Note: This is the fourth of a series, “Brainwashed, Incurious, Hard-Hearted or Bamboozled?” The previous installments can be found here.
I have often recounted that my conversion to conservatism began in my late teens, after I left home and began to examine what I believed and how that compared and contrasted with the platforms of the predominant American political parties.
I concluded that the values instilled in me by my parents, who were and are lifelong and loyal Democrats, were more representative of the Republican Party than the Democrats. My parents responded to my question about this dichotomy with the statement, “Republicans hate black people,” a statement at odds with history, my own personal experiences and even my parents’ history since they grew up in a South that was Democrat and hostile to black freedoms and aspirations.
I decided I couldn’t compromise my integrity in that manner, and reached my own conclusions. I’ve learned and experienced so much more since then, but nothing has caused me to deviate from my decision to live out my values in every area of my life, including the political arena.