10.13.2006

State of Black America Part VII "I'm a Conservative"

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

25 comments:

Stacie von Kutieboots said...

GET IT JAMEIL!!!!! I can never judge which SOBA is my favorite but I really think this one is it! I love the 2nd paragraph cause that is SUCH a reality! People call America the 'Land of Opportunity'...true if you're on the opportune side. Its natural to achieve when you have the resources!! How can a D school achieve if all the money and teachers continue to go to the A schools?? Separate but equal?? we're STILL debating abt that in 2006!

Lincoln.
So true his Repub party isn't the same as our current one.
Did NOT free the slaves out of the goodness of his heart. He didn't want his country to be split. 'Lies My Teacher Told Me' is real. is the GOP really using that line???? Audacious.

Great post Jameil.

the joy said...

well done. there are things i agree with and things i dont but that's the point right? form our own opinions.

btw i consider my self a liberal, and despite the fact that its a political term it has more to do with the way i live. and i'm not a tree hugger!

i think i might have to blog on a point you made. southerners...i never realized how much i'm not one than when you went into the guns and hunting thing. total turn off. i'll elaborate.

CNEL said...

"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."

I hear dat.

jameil1922 said...

stace... glad you liked it. i knew the school part would get you. there are a select few republicans who use the party of lincoln line.

joy... LOVE dissenters. do explain the liberal lifestyle thing. i thought all liberals were tree huggers... hmmm.... kidding! lmao! but that's really how i think of liberals. extremes on both sides of the political fence bother me. i'd love for you to expound here and/or on your blog.

cnel... word.

Dreamlover said...

I actually agree with most of this post, I also am neither a staunch dem or republican. To me they really both equal the same party!

I laughed at the lies my teacher told me, they are still telling them and what is sad that some people really believe them. I love your state of black america posts!!

4EverJennayNay said...

Thas wassup!

Yesterday was the last day to register to vote in my county. I had to get a new license too because I recently moved. You can do both at the drivers license office. When the lady asked me if I wanted to register to vote I answered with enthusiasm! YES! When she asked if I was republican or dem, I paused.

***Why are there really only two choices??????***

I told her I for independent.

I see both parties as two brothers of the same family. There should be other trees to choose from... Other trees that have a chance of winning.

jameil1922 said...

dream... yay! glad you like them.

jenn... i choose democrat simply so i can vote in primaries. in some states it doesn't matter, but NC is one of those states where you can only vote in the primary of your party. that means if you're an independent you're stuck waiting for a real candidate to come along or looking at the good candidate get ousted in the primary.

the joy said...

i second that about the independents having a chance. but its all about money sadly... i wanted to vote for the libertarian this election, but i dont know if it'll matter. my candidate, cathy cox, got knocked out it primaries, so i may not vote.

spchrist said...

tree hugger? first time I've ever heard that term.

Waking Up said...

I just read the other posts...I REALLY liked the one on the "N" word. I love the part about why we get so offended by the word still. I probably could be (if not already) that person who doesn't think I am "African-American". I guess that's from being around Africans so much and being in other countries. When I would say African-American to someone who was not familiar with American issues, they would think I recently came from there. Not to mention, saying Black is easier for me to encompass all my other ethnicities. But, now I am commenting on some old stuff. LOL

Anyway, I have met a few conservatives and they do kind of worry me. I vote like you...whoever I am feeling. I get a lot of flack about that. Apparently, my black card has been snatched time and time again because I don't automatically vote for the Black or the Democrat person who is running. Hell, David Duke was a Democrat at one time. Being a democrat does not get you an automatic vote from me.

Great post!!

AfriAmerican said...

"Our 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."


Jamiel, read your history before you make statements like this. It's true that, before integration, we voted Republican, when we could vote.

For the full story, go to the library, get "Eyes on the Prize" and read about the 1964 Deomcratic Convention, when Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party unseated the segregated Mississippi delegation.

After she and others forcibly integrating the Democratic party, white members switch to the Republican party - helped along by that party's the infamous Southern Strategy.

So, in effect, the same racists who controlled the Democratic party in the South, now control the Republican party. And that is why the Republicans are merely giving lip service to diversity. In reality, they aren't grooming any African Americans to take any leadership positions.

Stacie von Kutieboots said...

are liberals really looked at as tree-hugging tofu eating anti gun people? that's some satire. sounds like an SNL skit. i'm a liberal but maybe its cause I'm floridian...

jameil1922 said...

joy... i try to resist the urge to vote libertarian or independent. i usually feel like its a wasted vote b/c they likely won't win anyway. i know that's retarded. but i also find i usually don't agree with those candidates anyway.

SP..ever???

princess... sigh. but why would you blanket vote? its ridiculous. like you said every democrat is NOT in your corner. foolishness. i'll give up my black card if that's what it takes.

afri... after your response, AND knowing a good bit of history, i'm still not understanding how that statement was incorrect. true or false. from the civil rights movement on, have blacks voted overwhelmingly democrat? prior to that did they vote overwhelmingly republican? i also talked abt republicans using the foolish "party of lincoln" comment when clearly its not the same party... the parties switched ideologies.

stace... lmao! yep! and that would be a hilarious SNL skit. and you know florida is not southern (other than music). not your part of florida anyway.

Chris said...

That "you're not like the others" comment reminds me of a white kid I went to high school with who said he didn't like most black people because in his words "they think they're better than everybody else." That was probably the weirdest statement I've heard in my life. I just walked away.

Epsilonicus said...

Conservatives scare me, especially after spending 2 years at school in Erie, PA. I know it is wrong but when I hear conservative, I think backwater undercover racist. And this covers both conservative democrats and republicans. I know there are racist liberals but thats the imagine I feel whenever I hear coservative.

AfriAmerican said...

Well, of course, before the civil rights movement, we didn't vote overwhelmingly anything - becasue we couldn't.

What triggered my email was the tone of the comment that the Democratic party takes African-Americans for granted - as if we haven't gotten benefits from our work for and participation in the party.

I live in Cleveland, a blue city in a red state, and I see the political power that African AmMericans have built as Democrats. Here in Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor is a black man, but he took the nomination from the endorsed candidate. Nevertheless, Blackwell is not addressing bread-and-butter issues; he's playing to the Republicans' neo-conservative wing.

Am I saying the Democratic party is the sole answer? No. But our foreparents worked hard to gain a toe-hold in the party, and we have to fight to keep it.

Mostly, though, I'm discouraged by the cyncism and hopelessness I sense in the comments I'm reading here. I feel that whenever I listen to many younger blacks.
I advised going to Eyes on the Prize, because the story of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party is empowering. If sharecroppers can overturn 80 years of oppression, what can we do, with all the tools we have at our disposal?

By the way, my name is Afi

AfriAmerican said...

Well, of course, before the civil rights movement, we didn't vote overwhelmingly anything - becasue we couldn't.

What triggered my email was the tone of the comment that the Democratic party takes African-Americans for granted - as if we haven't gotten benefits from our work for and participation in the party.

I live in Cleveland, a blue city in a red state, and I see the political power that African AmMericans have built as Democrats. Here in Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor is a black man, but he took the nomination from the endorsed candidate. Nevertheless, Blackwell is not addressing bread-and-butter issues; he's playing to the Republicans' neo-conservative wing.

Am I saying the Democratic party is the sole answer? No. But our foreparents worked hard to gain a toe-hold in the party, and we have to fight to keep it.

Mostly, though, I'm discouraged by the cyncism and hopelessness I sense in the comments I'm reading here. I feel that whenever I listen to many younger blacks.
I advised going to Eyes on the Prize, because the story of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party is empowering. If sharecroppers can overturn 80 years of oppression, what can we do, with all the tools we have at our disposal?

By the way, my name is Afi

jameil1922 said...

chris.. i would've lmao @that! they think they're better??? so bizarre. i've never heard that either, not from white people anyway. that's great.

epsi... we're HERE. esp. b/c of bill james. a republican city councilman at home. he blatantly disparages black people all the time. so much so the republican party routinely apologizes and distances itself from his comments. look him up and your mouth will fall open that someone would have the nerve to let that kind of stuff come out of his mouth in such a prosperous, modern city. it sounds straight out of a slave owner's mouth.

afri... (i abbreviate based on what your name is you comment under when i respond) that's absolutely your opinion. I DO believe the democratic party as a whole takes the black vote for granted. it wasn't a tone. that's absolutely how i feel. you have a positive story. my hometown, charlotte is also a blue city within a red state.

however, i have still come in contact with racists and bigots throughout the political spectrum. i wholeheartedly believe there are democrats who will ignore the black vote b/c they think they already have it. there are republicans who will ignore it b/c they think it doesn't matter, and vice versa. the truth of the matter and what it essentially boils down to for me is DESPITE the party affiliation, i'm voting for the best candidate. i don't like to i.d. myself as democrat or republican b/c i don't like either party very much. i hate partisan politics.

the back and forth, mudslinging, standing by people in the party even though YOU KNOW THEY'RE WRONG is foolishness. and its happening all over the nation at all levels of government. that's part of the reason you will continue to hear the negativity and hopelessness when it comes to politics, particularly among the young. people are sick of not only partisan politics, but career politicians who are only in it for themselves.

i know our parents and grandparents worked to get in the party, but they also worked to give us a choice. so that we wouldn't just have to go with the party THEY chose. i feel no allegiance to the democratic party because my parents or grandparents had to fight to get in. i don't feel the need to personally maintain the toehold. my vote is the most important thing.

i'm actually very familiar with eyes on the prize. i watched it in middle school and had the chance to revisit the series my senior year in college while producing a documentary on the only reporter present when dr. king was shot. its also on pbs this month. its on my list to add to my collection.

shani-o said...

Just read this (as you know I've been out of the blogosphere for a bit). I agree with the vast majority of what you said... however...

I don't vote. I've made that decision every year since I was 18. And yes, I know, "if you don't vote, you don't have a right to complain," etc. But I think that the ONLY way the issues of african americans (and other people of color) will be taken seriously is if we withold our vote from both parties.

The Dems call on us every four years at the last minute by shoving Al Sharpton (and now Obama) in our faces. The GOP ignores us totally, and make themselves feel better by trotting out house negroes like Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas.

Black voters are disrespected and abused by both parties, yet we continue to give our votes to them.

I'm not saying that my solution is the best one - but for now, it's the only one I'm comfortable with. Of course, if I see my girl Maxine Waters on a ballot, I might just have to check the Hell Yes! box... lol

Mrs A. said...

brava! you killed it in this post. what else is there for me to say? keep it up grasshopper....you're certainly not like the "others" :-)

the joy said...

i totally agree with what you said about choice. people used to put that over my head back when i said i didnt wanna go to college. but so and so marched so you could have an education! no, they gave me the choice.

LaurenAshleigh said...

There is no party for people like me, people who support gay rights but aren't anti-guns. I consider myself libral because it most closely aligns with my views but it isn't a perfect match. But really, are there any clear distinctions nowadays? Politics isn't so much about issues anymore in as much as it's about who can manipulate popular thought better about a certain issue. But there's generally very little truth there. Hence the reason most people think liberals are "tree huggers". Actually the liberal lifestyle began not as a platform for the environment but rather one that was anti-war and for women's rights. Part of the propoganda perpetuated against the development of power of liberals was the stigma that all liberals were tree huggers, weed heads, eccentrics, unreliable artists. That feminists were all lesbians who didn't shave, burned their bras, hated men. The thought was manufactured and widely pushed to manipulate the thought of people not actually involved in or exposed to these revolutions who were easy to influence and many of the stigmas still exist today.

Just a lil history.

Omar Ramon said...

wow, i love when people make sense. it's much less common than i'm comfortable with.

speak your mind as you so effectively do...i'll be listening

jameil1922 said...

shani... you don't vote??? i can't get w/that. my grandfather was one of those people in Mississippi encouraging people to vote despite their lives and livelihoods literally being in danger. not voting doesn't teach either party shit.

a... one of these things is not like the others... lmao. you're an ass. i need you to come back again. stop being so strange (or a stranger, whichever).

joy... why didn't you want to go to college? what do you want to do?

la... i think that's how most young people, particularly young, black educated people feel. where do i fit? what's my party? i believe in gun control but freedom, not the death penalty, pro-choice for safety reasons, i believe in social programs. politics really is abt manipulating the popular thought! ya dropped some hot fiyah la! i still think of liberals as tree huggers and feminists as bra burners. partially b/c some of the feminist lit i've seen was soooo far out there i couldn't get behind it. plus i care more abt civil rights.

thanks omar.

JOB said...

Jameil, Did you read Stanley Crouch's opinion piece on Barak Obama in the NY Daily News - What Obama isn't: Black Like Me?

Just wondering if you had any thoughts on this particular subject. (I'm planning on including this in a post I'm sitting on.)