Are there civil issues left to fight for?
If you take a moment to digest Sonnie Johnson's content, you hear her say repeatedly, "The Civil Rights Era is DEAD! Something else will fill the vacuum." And I would like to expound upon that statement here.
Most of us are familiar with the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. We are familiar with their grassroots, civil rights work and how their presence proved influential to Black Americans in some way.
In a former lesson, I taught why, for many folks, Sharpton is an icon because he brings Black stories to mainstream audiences. Like him or not, if a Black mother witnesses the police brutalizing her son, she can count of Sharpton to give that story attention.
Jackson and Sharpton are just examples of what we mean by Civil Rights Era politics: the idea that Black Americans continue to strive for civil liberties that other Americans exercise freely.
And we have to ask ourselves, is there any civil issue left to fight for? Are Black Americans still fighting for the rights to life, liberty, and happiness? Are Black Americans still considered second-class citizens in this country? Are Black Americans overwhelmingly confronted with overt racism that prevents them from achieving success?
Some folks would argue, "Yes," and if you follow the ADOS Movement, they will deliver tangible issues that still must be addressed.
But for those of us on the other side of this fight, we must ask, "What are we fighting for?"
We aren't fighting to sit in the front of the bus. We aren't asking to sit in the same restaurants as White people. We aren't asking for the right to vote.
So, what is the purpose of today's Black Conservative Movements? What causes are we fighting? And what are the results we desire?
Certainly if you turn to the mainstream punditry class, who -- again -- hate reading history books, you would see the goal is simply to get Black voters to vote Republican.
Now, they will pretend like that isn't the goal, but it is. They lie to the public because they know the public reads at an elementary level. They say whatever they want to the public just to get buy-in. Mainstream Conservatives have one mission, and that is to keep in power the folks who are already present. Anything to maintain Lily White-ism.
But if you turn to the grassroots Black Conservative Movements, you will see something different. I'm talking about movements like Hotep Nation, Empower America, and Conscious Black Conservatism. These works have no desire to pander Republicanism to Black voters. Instead, we focus on values and what they bring to our communities at large. Very rarely do you hear us speak about the same Civil Rights issues that Progressives push, that is unless we need to teach history to explain current events.
But every movement has a motive. Every movement seeks outcomes. And with the rise in this newer political space, younger leaders are asking for more than Civil Rights Era politics.
Transcending Civil Rights Era Politics
Let me preface this next section with this statement: I am eternally grateful to my ancestors and family members who took up the fight for Civil Rights. Their efforts paved the way for my freedom. Because of them, I do not know segregation or overt racism. Yes, I have dealt with passive racism within the workplace, for example. But I have no story to tell that mirrors what we read in recent history.
As a scholar and researcher, I understand the Black voting bloc's support for the Democrat Party. When a political machine agrees to give you what you want, just so you can live freely in this country, it only makes sense to keep that machine in power.
With that said, we have something else to address. We have to consider if our allegiance to that Party still warrants our support. Are they delivering equal rights under the law? Or are they enacting policies that directly harm our communities (i.e. "Stop and frisk")? If these policies work against us, it stands to reason that the Party our ancestors once aligned with is not delivering the results we need today.
Our society has shifted immensely. Today, anyone can obtain work by simply leveraging the online space. Take my business and ministry, for example. When I resigned from working in the public schools because of the danger I encountered, I took my teaching gifts online. In three years, I generated $100,000+ working as a freelance writer, editor, and book-publishing coach.
And I delivered my gifts to the market without the fear of being physically harmed.
Today, we have access to information like never before. If we want to know more about politics and party systems, we don't have to walk into libraries to search for answers. We can Google the question and receive information.
We are living in a fast-pace society. And today, this generation isn't concerned about Civil Rights Era politics. We don't push it to the side as if it wasn't important. But we are looking for that next level.
Now that we have protections under the law, what will we do with these freedoms, and how will they translate into social, political, and economic empowerment?
These are the questions we address within Conscious Black Conservatism. With all the tools and resources we have today, it behooves us to seize these opportunities.
Many within Black politics are fighting the wealth gap and addressing the economic disparities in our country. But what about the vast wealth that sits idly by, waiting for us to take hold of it right now? What about the vast opportunities to purchase land, to own online businesses, to establish virtual communities and ministries, or to create self-sustaining communal quarters?
Will we remain fixed on the oppression while ignoring the prosperity? Do we have to choose one over the other?
Obviously, this is not the way for Conscious Black Conservatives. We do not ignore the problems we encounter. Neither do we ignore the great opportunities before us. While one person's mission may be to address a political issue, another person's mission is to create new businesses. Together, the collective contributes to the betterment of the community.
We aren't asking to forget the work done by our ancestors.
No, we are asking, what next? Where are we going now? Where do we want to be 100 years from now?
We can't get there by wandering around the same mountain. We must have a dream or vision that extends beyond living in a society where we can eat and dine together as White and Black people.
Sitting next to Billy Joe in the restaurant is not our mission. It's not our dream. A new breed is here, and we are working together to cultivate that new vision.
A vision that transcends Civil Rights Era politics.
Our ancestors fought and conquered.
Now it's time for the new generation to build and expand.
It's time to focus on economic prosperity and ensuring our politics protects our growing Black Wealth.
And that's what we are witnessing in this new wave of Conscious Black Conservatism.
I want to reiterate my Kindred Fire's statement: "The Civil Rights Era is DEAD! Something else will fill the vacuum."
The question is, what will be that "something else"?
Will it entail more Progressivism, which breeds only death, poverty, and destruction?
Or will it be a new era of Black Conservatism that focuses on:
Within The Foundation, we will push the latter.
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