It’s Time To Stop Saying It’s Time To Move On

By Jesse Taylor
Sunday, June 15, 2008 17:08 EDT
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imageSome prominent black conservatives don’t seem to have gotten the message…yet.

Just as Obama has touched black Democratic voters, he has engendered conflicting emotions among black Republicans. They revel over the possibility of a black president but wrestle with the thought that the Illinois senator doesn’t sit beside them ideologically.

“Among black conservatives,” [Armstrong] Williams said, “they tell me privately, it would be very hard to vote against him in November.”

One of the central conceits of black conservatism I’ve seen – both in its appeal and its acceptance – is the idea that black Americans simply need to get over the race thing (notice how this keeps coming back up?), and that the real path forward is through the “nonracial” (predominantly white) acceptance of supply side gospel and social conservative principle. The reason that so many in the black community view black conservatives with suspicion is this idea that one sells their birthright, their blackness, for a bowl of tax cuts and anti-gay initiatives. For the vast majority of us, the black American experience is an undeniable and irrefutable part of who we are, not something that’s an either/or competitor with Social Security privatization.

Of course, there’s the flip side:

John McWhorter, a self-described political moderate who is a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a New York Sun columnist, said Obama’s Democratic Party victory “proves that while there still is some racism in the United States, there is not enough to matter in any serious manner. This is a watershed moment.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the November 9th, 2008 talking point – Obama’s victory will show us that the final nail has been laid in the coffin of racism forever, because, for some reason, all black people are Barack Obama.

There is a consistent misuse of the colorblind theory of racial reconciliation – and evidence that total colorblindness in society is far more dangerous than multiculturalism to racial reconciliation and harmony. The reasoning behind it is pretty simple: if you believe that society’s ultimate aim is the complete denial, rather than acceptance, of our differences, then the very fact that we’re different becomes an affront to societal harmony.

I’m sure there will be conservatives who attack the black conservatives in this article as weak or in thrall to the “race baiters”, who apparently pepper the national lake of race like beafro’ed Babe Winkelmans. But they’re black people in a party whose entire ideological base is formed around a particular manifestation of the white experience in America. If there’s anyone who can’t forget that our differences are a critical part of who we are and how we think, it’s them.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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