Back in 2016, when I first expressed my support of Donald Trump, my Black audience nearly died.
Many on Facebook knew of my educational and work background, and how I spent a large portion of my teaching career fighting against racial discrimination at the public school I once worked.
Coming forth as a Trump supporter seemed so out of place.
And the more I voiced my allegiance to the Trump campaign, the more my Black followers found me to be that type of coon who tap-danced for the White audience.
I'm happy to say that a couple years later, such remarks are practically non-existent, mostly because I have proven I'm not beholden to anyone.
I have shown that I'm willing to support Trump on some issues while rejecting some of his policies that I know will eventually work against Black Americans in the future (i.e. the First Step Act).
Yet, this isn't true of nearly all mainstream Black Conservative Influencers we see today.
In other words, you will NEVER hear certain Black Conservatives say anything negative about Trump or his policies, because they are more loyal to politics rather than humanity (or reality, for that matter).
And we have to ask ourselves why this is so.
Has the Right hired its own version of Black political charlatans, and is this why so many Black Americans want nothing to do with Republicans and the modern conservative movement?
Why aren't some Black Conservatives speaking about issues that are important to Black Americans while presenting conservative solutions?
Why are Black Conservatives more comfortable speaking about the ills of our communities with audiences that look nothing like us?
Why are these mainstream Black Conservatives unwilling to sit down with Black media outlets to engage in real discourses?
I explore this topic and more in today's post.
"Al Sharpton Does Nothing for the Black Community"
Earlier this morning, as I prepared to construct this article, I called my Love to get his personal take on the topic I was to address in this post. (By the way, my beloved reader, I am in love with someone. I will tell you about him soon.)
I wanted to know his perspective regarding Black Conservatives who typically make their commentary to predominantly all-White audiences, these same individuals who make statements such as "Al Sharpton does nothing for Black people." His perception was enlightening.
Now, just to give some context, Love considers himself moderate and independent in his politics. He's a Believer with strong, positive views regarding much of the same values conservatives have as a whole. He's incredibly successful in business, a pillar within his community, and a strong advocate for social justice.
I briefly shared with him that with today's Black Conservative Influencers, one of the major buzz phrases centers on us talking about the ways certain Black leaders are doing nothing for Black Americans.
The following video from Black Conservative, Leo Dunson, is one such example.
To paraphrase Love's remarks, he had this to say: "I hope Black Conservatives never find themselves in a place where they need someone like Al Sharpton, because Sean Hannity will not be there for them."
For the most part, Sharpton is disliked for what many consider his incessant race baiting. Without question, Sharpton has made mistakes in his political career, some of which he has admitted to. But the things he has done correctly is what persuades Black people not to disregard him.
Consider the work he's accomplished within his organization, the National Action Network. According to their website,
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality.
Al Sharpton was also influential in drawing national attention to the brutal murder of Walter Scott, who was shot multiples times in the back by former South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager.
Black Conservatives can say what they want about Sharpton, but one thing is for sure: he has a mission. He has a clear assignment. And he is executing his purpose with all diligence.
Here's the problem: For Black Americans, our stories rarely if ever receive the kind of national attention that comes to other ethnic groups.
Take, for example, the stories of missing women in the United States. In a New York Times article entitled, "The Case of the Missing Girl," the author highlights this:
"In 2017, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a New York Times correspondent based in Washington, wrote about how at-risk youths, who are disproportionately black and brown, 'are often ignored by public officials and the news media,' even though roughly 35 percent of missing children in the United States are black, and about 20 percent are Latino." (Source)
To summarize her argument, media readily fail to give adequate attention to stories involving Black or Brown people...
That is until people like Al Sharpton enter the scene.
When it comes to the Black community, Sharpton's high-profile media presence commands the attention of all major news networks; and when any Black person is unjustly mistreated, Sharpton provides a way for that person's story to get the attention and justice needed.
Such efforts is a far cry from what today's young Black Conservatives argue as Sharpton "having done nothing for Black people."
Black People Reject Black Conservative Voices because Black Conservative Voices Reject Their Heroes
Let me be clear: There are many wrong instances we can point to with regards to Sharpton and other leaders within the Black population.
But where most Black Conservatives get it wrong is when we attempt to downplay the courageous, and quite often life-changing, contributions some Black leaders have given to the cause of racial justice.
Each time Black Conservatives make blanketed statements about people like Colin Kaepernick, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and many others, what we essentially say is, "Black people, we really don't care that your father or son was unjustly murdered by the police. We're sorry you feel that way, but get over it, because that man should have never been in that situation."
In essence, we have lost what it means to have compassion and empathy for people, for the very people Black Conservatives claim to be saving from the evil Democrats.
Such rhetoric is wholly rejected by many Black Americans, because when push comes to shove, if a Black man or woman is unjustly treated, that person won't call upon Leo Dunson or Brandon Tatum or Anthony Brian Logan.
That person will be asking for the Al Sharptons or the Jesse Jacksons, who have a track record of bringing justice to Black people.
This is why Black Americans won't give up on people like them. This is why so many see such leaders as heroes to the cause.
This is why Black Americans consider Black Conservatives coons and uncle Toms, because they don't see us on the front lines, fighting for the causes Black Americans hold dear.
There's a Need for Healthy Balance of Political Activism among Black Americans
One plants, another waters.
So often, it seems as though there is competition among Black leaders to gain the attention and support of the entire Black American population.
Whenever we make statements like, "So-and-so does nothing for Black people," what we are saying is, "That person is no good, come follow me," even when such assertions are not based in fact.
But there is a need for a healthy balance of political activism.
The same popular Black Conservative Influencers who throw shade at the likes of Sharpton are the same ones who fail to provide little if any community work within Black neighborhoods.
I remember one time, a critic of mine asked me, "What have you done for Black people, Felecia?"
Of course, he didn't know my track record of working within the school system and striving to dismantle the ongoing discrimination within its disciplinary departments.
When I shared that with him, he backed away from his criticism, because I had proven my unyielding desire to empower others.
And this is what other Black Conservatives must be willing to do if we want our message to be taken seriously by others.
This doesn't mean we have to entertain every story that comes across as racist. Obviously, use discretion. Study the facts. Analyze data.
But when there are actual incidents of injustices, we ought not discredit such stories simply because it might anger the conservative base.
For Black Conservatives, if the base is unwilling to help other Black people, then at minimum Black Conservatives must be willing to help our own, including addressing racial issues when they are present.
Black Conservatism Must Become a New Norm
Since the emergence of Candace Owens, the Right has witnessed a total embrace of its own version of identity politics.
I shared my recent criticism on Owens and her version of this "Blexit" in a previous article; but what I did not address entirely is where she may have gotten it right, despite her recent racist actions.
Here's what I mean:
Black Conservatives are in a different segment of the general conservative movement. While we may be similar with other Conservatives in our views related to economics (pro-capitalism) and even spirituality (pro-Christianity), the social aspect is where we differ from the base.
Black Conservatives like myself are fully cognizant of the social issues that are within our communities as well as the external issues that have affected Black Americans for centuries.
Black Conservatives like myself are much like the Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s who were willing to call out the racism in American society and politics while simultaneously addressing how we can fix the problems within our own communities.
But to the conservative base, such mixture of values is unwelcomed.
As a conservative, I can cry loud against the lies of the Left...but I better not challenge the hypocrisy of the Right.
As a conservative, I can't be pro-police and anti police brutality.
As a conservative, I can preach loudly about the overt racism of Democrats, but I had better keep quiet about the passive racism displayed from today's Republicans.
But such polar opposites are not based in reality; that's political fiction.
Black Conservatives should never feel we have to give up the cause of fighting for justice where it's needed simply because the general conservative base abhors such talk.
Why should we when history has proven Black Americans have a vastly unique experience in this country?
It is clear that a new form of conservative identity must emerge and essentially become a new norm, one in which Black Americans embrace conservative values (which we overwhelmingly do) AND one in which we are permitted to discuss issues and problems unique to our experience.
What say you?
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he Fifteen 20 Rise is one of the few contemporary books that speaks directly to Conservative Leaders, Voices, and Influencers, helping them to understand how to develop effective communication strategies that will bridge the gap between their platform and Black Voters.
When the lessons and strategies are implemented by such leaders and influencers, we will start to see 15-20% of Black Americans voting for Conservative Candidates in 2020 and beyond.
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