Someone I have regular contact with made this statement to me earlier this week. Just before we went to lunch. I was stunned. I know she's white, and has made some questionable comments, but I don't automatically assume anything about people's political stances. My first reaction was to say to myself, "Really? How can you have friendly relations with me when you're a conservative?" I don't understand. Because when I think conservative, I think, "You don't like black people." At the very least, you're removed from reality, Clarence Thomas.
Conservatives believe in the bootstrap theory, i.e. I did it, my parents did it, so anyone else can bring themselves up from abject poverty on their own. Nice thought, but illogical. Do you understand that there are people who wouldn't know a good role model if he or she slapped them in the face? Do you understand there are children who have never been told they could do anything? Who attend subpar schools where rare is the teacher who has been there more than 2 years? What do you understand about poverty and some people's reality? If you're a conservative, I'd say not much. And considering you care far more about dog abuse than human abuse, I don't know what to say to you.
Do you get along with me because you see me as an exception, not the rule? Because I've met those people too. The ones who think they're being benevolent when saying, "You're not like the others." The others? But you thought I was until you had a conversation with me and realized I'm a third generation collegian, a second generation Hamptonian, grew up in the suburbs, and have never lived in a ghetto. But guess what, because you and people like you will always see Black skin and first think negative, I will never be separated from other Black people. And that's okay. Because the more you include me with all Black people, the more likely it is you will be able to stop thinking of me as an exception and see the many varied faces of Black America.
It's life as a Black person. I can understand that. It becomes a problem when your prejudices and stereotypes make the lives of others miserable and you preclude you from learning from other people. When you no longer even attempt to have a unique, unbiased thought.
Another person, who holds many conservative ideals close to his heart, I speak to regularly says he would never hate all cops, even if he was stopped every single day.
Pause. Take a minute to let that statement sink in.
"Even if I was stopped by a police officer every SINGLE day, I would NEVER hate all cops."
Perhaps you can say that as a white male who, though you never graduated from college, was able to move up through the ranks. That's excellent, but not a reality for most Americans, and even more unlikely for a Black American. Let's attack this you would never hate all cops statement. First, never say never. Second, have you EVER been stopped by a police officer for no reason? Has your child ever been accused of being a gang member for walking with a group of his friends? Has anyone ever locked their doors when you walked by the car? or clutched their purse? or crossed the street? or passed you when you were trying to hail a taxicab? regardless of your educational background or socioeconomic status?
I can almost guarantee the answer is no. If you haven't experienced that, then you should stop talking. You don't know what your reaction would be to consistent mistreatment, not only from ordinary Americans, but also from the people who have pledged to serve and protect, police officers. When you have that kind of daily reaction to something you have no control over, the color of your skin, it tends to color your actions and beliefs.
None of the aformentioned examples are to say I'm a liberal. I'm not. I'm a southerner. You will be hard pressed to find many liberals in the south. Its just not realistic. Liberals are looked at as tree-huggers. People overly concerned with the environment and animals, against gun ownership. Many people in the south own guns. I don't have one, but I'd like to. Most of my family members own guns and several of my uncles hunt.
With the hotly-contested mid-term elections approaching, I'm using the same logic I use with every election. I want the candidate who will most uphold the values I hold true, whether Republican or Democrat. I have no blind allegiance to either party. I know each party has its strengths and weaknesses. Republicans use the foolish "Party of Lincoln" statement in an attmept to attract the Black vote. I know history; and this is not the same Republican party of Lincoln. I also know Lincoln is not the Black savior he's made out to be.
I believe Democrats take the Black vote for granted. Your grandparents and parents have voted Democrat since they were allowed to vote without poll taxes and other Jim Crow methods, since the Civil Rights Movement. Don't buck the system. You need us. And most follow this blindly. What has either party done for me lately? I don't recall either party making the Voting Rights Act a law, instead of merely renewing it for another 25 years. I do recall the Southern Republican congressmen who did not vote in favor of renewal because it was supposedly unduly harsh on Southern states. So create something better with more even-handed justice. It would not behoove either party to shoot down such a law. Though Hispanics are now the largest minority, outside of the Southwest, life is overwhelmingly Black and White. Especially when at this point everyone is angling. The Republicans to retain control of the House and Senate, the Democrats to regain it. Regardless, I need to see some real changes from both political party before either will get my consistent vote. Even then, I will keep my eyes open and be aware of the platforms of each candidate. I will be voting for the best candidate for the job, and I suggest you do the same.
Unfamiliar with the State of Black America posts?
Part VI: Education
Part V: Names
Part IV: Rapists and Child Molesters
Part III: Hair
Part II: Katrina
Part I: The Athlete