Is there another group out there with bigger delusions of grandeur than black conservatives?
It seems like ever since Candace “Blexit” Owens got her head all hyped up by Kanye “Slavery Was a Choice” West and their “free thinker” mantra was born, black right-wingers have become emboldened to emerge from the shadows and declare themselves revolutionaries of some kind of free thought renaissance. They’re taking to Twitter, now, to show themselves off in their MAGA hats with smug smiles on their highly punchable faces, adding captions with some variation of “I done left the Democratic plantation” and a “free thinker” hashtag.
To be clear, my objection to black conservatives isn’t their existence in and of itself; after all, it is true that black people are no ideological monolith and, given some of my people’s more unfortunate social hang-ups (homo/transphobia, uber religiousness, internalized anti-blackness etc.), it’s really no surprise that many of us lean right of center. I’ll even allow that they do, for all intents and purposes, think for themselves (however misguided I may believe them to be); my issue with them is their insistence that the rest of us don’t.
The narrative that we, the black collective, are being duped by “the left” and confined to a “Democratic plantation,” is and always has been condescending, intelligence insulting and, frankly, racist as hell, and it’s one that has been echoed by white conservatives for literal decades. That black conservatives are adopting this rhetoric and purporting it to be an example of their free and original thought would be comical if the level of cognitive dissonance weren’t so frustrating.
Contrary to what many seem to believe, we don’t have big “black people” meetings where we collectively decide what we’re for and against, what our experiences with racism have been or what political party we will pledge our votes to. Like Americans of all other races and nationalities, we walk into voting booths as individuals, cast our ballots and we do so having made our own conscious (which is to say, “free”) decisions. And, while it is true that we’ve been voting overwhelmingly democrat for some time now, I believe that to call it “blind loyalty” (and, to be fair, it isn’t only conservatives, black or otherwise, who call it that) to be a gross mischaracterization of the truth.
For all of their “free thinking,” I wonder why it never occurs to negro-cons (get it?) and everyone else that black folks vote blue, not out of loyalty, but out of sheer disgust of the other side. Maybe we’re simply deciding not to side with the party that Neo-Nazis, the Alt-Right and every other modern white nationalist group aligns themselves with. Perhaps there’s something about the ideology of Fox News, Tomi Lahren, Ann Coulter, Richard Spencer and Rudy Giuliani that turns us off. Is it really a mystery why we want nothing to do with those who say “Black Lives Matter” is a sham and/or terrorist group and that our expressed lived experiences with racial profiling and brutal police are all lies while, in the same breath, making us out to be synonymous with criminality? Is it so confounding that we don’t rock with the party that gave us our current Orange Leather Face Blowhard in Chief and his administration which has been mired in the very human rights violation and outright bigotry that we tend to try and avoid if we can help it?
Yet token black lackeys of the right like blogger and political activist, Candace Owens continue to spread old white lies such as the one about Democrats keeping black people under thumb by giving us welfare. This claim, of course, makes no sense seeing as, however disproportionate the amount of black people receiving government assistance per capita may be, the fact still remains that a strong majority of us are not receiving it, but still voting for Democrats far more often than not; but hey, why go with logic when you’ve got a perfectly good racist false narrative working just fine and black mouth-pieces willing to spew it.
Look, it isn’t lost on me that Democrats aren’t our friends. Bill Clinton’s ‘94 crime bill was just as devastating to the black community as any policy Ronald Reagan put into action. And I certainly realize that white liberals are often fair weather allies who only get on board with identity politics so long as it suits their own interests. They shout “Trump’s America” at any garden variety instance of racism, the likes of which were around long before Trump and will remain long after he’s gone. But let’s not pretend that Republicans and conservatives aren’t just as prone (if not more) to using black conservatives as pawns and ditching them when they’re no longer convenient to keep around.
Has Michael Steele not been blackballed (pun absolutely intended) by his own party ever since he proved to be more moderate than hard right, to the point where the first black chairman of the GOP wasn’t even invited to a recent event honoring the achievements of black Republicans? Was Colin Powell not snubbed in similar fashion once he started speaking out against the racist rhetoric by Republicans during Barack Obama’s run for the presidency? Was Herman Cain not a GOP hopeful until the first whiff of a potential scandal effectively changed his name to “Who?” Did Diamond and Silk, the modem, gender swapped versions of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” not end up disgruntled, underpaid and kicked to the curb by Donald Trump once he realized that particular minstrel show wasn’t doing him any favors? Did Omarosa Manigault not quickly go from being Trump’s biggest black cheerleader to a spurned formal associate with a major ax to grind?
And as far as ya’ boy Kanye West, the very man who kicked off the “free thinker” slogan, it took from April to October of this year for him to go from tweeting, “Free thinkers don’t fear retaliation for your thoughts. The traditional thinkers are only using thoughts and words but they are in a mental prison. You are free. You’ve already won. Feel energized. Move in love not fear. Be afraid of nothing” to tweeting “My eyes are now wide open and (I) now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative!!!”
Too bad I don’t think “freely” enough to recognize irony.