I have a number of friends that identify politically with conservatism, some of them people of color. My posts inevitably generate contentiousness and their disapproval. I’m now prepping a role for a play I’ll soon perform which engages the lives of black men, some of whom lived thru the times of segregation and our struggle for civil rights. The play questions who we have become and how we now think.
Black conservatism has always seemed a contradictory system of belief to me. Let me qualify that. Black Republicanism today feels conflicted to me. I can understand embracing certain principles of economic thinking, the qualities of entrepreneurship, independence, self-reliance. Suppose you were Vegan. And you learned that Hitler was reputedly also Vegan. You might acknowledge you shared an affinity…but I would not expect you to embrace Nazism. Today’s Republican party is a melange of aspirations (largely rejected by mainstream America), including religious intolerance, anti-governmental bias, tax policies that reward the wealthy and further challenge an already struggling middle class, regulatory free fire zones and a host of intentions that will disadvantage minorities. So I ask myself, why are my contemporaries of color, (born on 3rd base, thanks to our forefathers), so willing to join the cause of people who do not regard them with favor? They may invite you to sit at their table, they may include you among “their black friends”…but many will NEVER regard you as a peer, as an equal. And you must know that.
A character in my play says, “Scratch the surface of a black man with money, and you’ll discover a Republican every time.” I’ve noticed that, among some successful athletes…and many Europeans of all races (taxed FAR more onerously than us), chose to relocate to Monte Carlo and other tax havens…but this an economic rather than a political choice. I ask friends for their take on just why a modern person of color would willingly choose to align themselves with a political party, consisting of many who think and will willingly say the word ‘nigger’, out loud. Some friends suggest self-hatred, an underlying disapproval of their own people, their own culture, themselves. That would be an understandable result of existing in a country with our racial history…and even our present realities, improved tho they are.
I can remember a Randy Newman lyric from the album Good Ole Boys, “Honey, I ain’t a Negro, I’m a millionaire…” As tho race is transcended by wealth. And maybe that is the underlying carrot, since a multitude of poor whites vote against their own self-interest. Many Republican women would seem to vote against their own self-interest as well. Do they express contempt for their own gender by doing so?