Perhaps the greatest ongoing miss by the Republican Party’s marketing department – the worst marketing department in the history of marketing departments, is on race.
It’s not a stretch to say nearly no one knows the conservative history as it relates to racism. As we head into the 2020 election, now would be the perfect time for President Trump to address race in this country. By sharing the Republican history on race, he could single-handedly change the Democrat narrative that all conservatives are racist.
Did you know Martin Luther King was a registered Republican?
Were you aware that Lincoln, who fought to end slavery, was a Republican?
Did you know the Civil Rights Acts of the 60s and the 80s were both, in part, made possible on the urging and support of conservatives?
Here’s a brief history of racism in our country. How much of this did you know?
- Democrats fought to expand slavery while Republicans fought to end it.
- Democrats passed those discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws.
- Democrats fought against anti-lynching laws.
- Democrats fought to keep blacks in slavery and away from the polls, and they started the Ku Klux Klan, as a political organization, to terrorize prominent black AND white Republicans.
- Democrats fought to expand slavery while Republicans fought to end it.
- Democrats passed the Repeal Act of 1894 that overturned civil right laws enacted by Republicans.
- Democrats declared that they would rather vote for a “yellow dog” than vote for a Republican, because the Republican Party was known as the party for blacks.
- Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, reintroduced segregation throughout the federal government immediately upon taking office in 1913.
- Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first appointment to the Supreme Court was a life member of the Ku Klux Klan, Sen. Hugo Black, Democrat of Alabama.
- Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s choice for vice president in 1944 was Harry Truman, who had joined the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas City in 1922.
- Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt resisted Republican efforts to pass a federal law against lynching.
- Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposed integration of the armed forces.
- Democrat Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, was well known for having been a “Keagle” in the Ku Klux Klan.
- Democrat Senators Sam Ervin, Albert Gore, Sr., and Robert Byrd were the chief opponents of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- Byrd personally filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 14 straight hours to keep it from passage.
- 82% of Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Only 64% of Democrats voted for it.
- Democrat Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, in Birmingham, Ala., unleashed vicious dogs and turned fire hoses on black civil rights demonstrators.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other protestors were fighting and protesting Democrats.
- Democrat Georgia Governor Lester Maddox “brandished an ax hammer to prevent blacks from patronizing his restaurant.
- Democrat Governor George Wallace stood in front of the Alabama schoolhouse in 1963, declaring there would be segregation forever.
- Democrat Arkansas Governor Faubus tried to prevent desegregation of Little Rock public schools.
- Democrat Senator John F. Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil rights Act.
- Democrat President John F. Kennedy opposed the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King.
- Democrat President John F. Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI.
- Democrat President Bill Clinton’s mentor was U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, an Arkansas Democrat and a supporter of racial segregation.
- Democrat President Bill Clinton interned for J. William Fulbright in 1966-67.
- Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright signed the Southern Manifesto opposing the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
- Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright joined with the Dixiecrats in filibustering the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964.
- Democrat Senator J. William Fulbright voted against the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
- In 2006, there were only five black Democrats in the House representing majority white districts.
- President Bush appointed the first black Secretary of State – Colin Powell.
- President Bush appointed the first black woman ever to be Secretary of State – Condoleezza Rice.
- Rush Limbaugh’s first choice to fill in for him on his radio show is black commentator Walt Williams.
- Rush Limbaugh’s call screener, and possibly most important employee, James Golden (referred to as “Bo Snerdley”) is black.
- In 2002, Democrats threw Oreo cookies at Maryland Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, Michael Steele, for being a black Republican.
- The Tea Party elected more minority candidates – many historic firsts in 2010 than Democrats by a near 8:1 margin.
All of this is true. But why isn’t it common knowledge? Why are we led to believe that conservatives are racist? The fact is that generally speaking, conservatives have been on the right side of history on matters of race.
Conservatives see people. They don’t see demographic groups. They don’t come to conclusions about people based on skin color, religion or anything else. They don’t see African-Americans. They just see Americans.
Most conservatives who voted against Obama, or any other black Democrat politician, did so because they don’t agree with liberal policies, not because of skin color. Black or white, anyone who represents those policies is not going to get the conservative vote. Yet, Democrats claimed any Republican criticism of Obama must be racist. (Nevermind that Republicans had been making those same criticisms of Democrats since the inception of the party.)
Speaking only by the numbers, this might be difficult to understand for many blacks, who consistently gave Obama over 90% approval – even as the rest of the nation was near the mid-40% range. It would appear, again based on the numbers, that they supported him simply because he’s black. If this is true, it’s not a stretch then that they would consequently believe that white voters don’t support him because he’s not white.
To suggest that conservatives are simply racist and have no legitimate or long-established issues with liberal policies is simply intellectually dishonest. It gives them an out from having to address the arguments of conservatives. Instead of having to debate on the merits of the philosophies – conservatism versus liberalism – it allows them to avoid the whole thing by attempting to dismiss conservatives as racist.
Just like conservatives are said to be homophobic for being against gay marriage and nativist for being against illegal immigration, it’s so much easier to call us racists than listen to what we’re saying.
The fact is that as much as some like to keep racism alive, racism dies a little more every day. Most core racists left in this country were brought up that way, and their racism will die with them. Growing up in the 70s, we were exposed to less racism than previous generations, and very few of those with whom I grew up harbor any sort of racism.
As I watch my own young daughter grow up, I can’t imagine how she, or any of her friends or generation could possibly grow up racist. There’s simply very little mention of the skin color differences between her and anyone else – and that’s exactly how racism goes away.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said himself, when we start judging each other based on the content of character and not skin color, racism will be dead. While that’s generally true, I’m afraid that the racism of 2020 is far subtler than it used to be.
It used to be that racism came with outward disdain and various levels of hate or distrust. Now, racism takes a much different form.
Racism today comes in the form of simply acknowledging one’s race. When we parse groups by black, white, Hispanic or anything else, we’re inviting the idea that there’s inherent differences between one group and the other.
As a society, we keep racism alive by recklessly crying racism any time someone of a different race disagrees with us. We keep it alive in our institutions by asking one’s race on every government form or job application.
The consequences of calling conservatives racist for disagreeing with Obama were a massive setback to relations between blacks and whites – only in the opposite direction. Where racism used to be thought of as whites looking down on blacks, the balance may have shifted a bit. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that while most whites no longer see skin color, blacks may continue to look at whites with great suspicion.
Constantly calling all of Trump’s policies racist does nothing to help us move on from a racist society.
As mentioned, racism will not entirely go away until we all stop talking about race and start talking about content of character and strength of ideas. So long as we have large and powerful groups who’s membership or activity is delineated by race, we’ll never be able to say we’re past it.
Take a look at how the black community voluntarily segregates itself from whites:
- Blacks have their own Congressional caucus.
- Blacks have their own television station – Black Entertainment Network.
- Blacks have their own magazines.
- Blacks have their own special interest organizations – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) being the most prominent.
- Blacks have their own awards shows and conferences for things like music, movies and even for black engineers.
- Blacks have their own spokesmen for the black community.
- Many campuses have black-only areas or “safe zones.”
The list goes on…
How many white-specific organizations, clubs or events are there?
Some would answer by saying “everything else.” But people of all races and ethnicities are welcome at “everything else.” There’s nothing out there that defines itself by labeling it for white people. But how often do you hear blacks speak in terms of race.
It’s not hard to find a black musician’s rap song that uses the “N” word. (If you want that word to go away, then stop saying it. Period. Forget the argument of “taking it back.”) Nor is it difficult to find a rap song that mentions white people – often with derogatory slang. The first group of people to point out blacks by skin color, or how something will affect blacks, or what blacks are thinking is black people.
Too many blacks and liberal politicians spend time talking about how this is racist or that is racist and we need to end racism. But ironically, they’re the ones who perpetuate it by continuing to parse our population by race.
Look at Affirmative Action and quotas. They are entirely social plans geared around the idea that blacks are not smart or talented enough to succeed on their own. They need help from the government. Somehow blacks just aren’t up to the task of helping themselves.
How about voter ID requirements. Those are based on the idea that blacks aren’t smart enough to figure out how to get their own identification card.
And who determined this? Liberal activists, politicians, and blacks. It makes me wonder – are black people capable of succeeding on their own or not?
I think conservatives know the answer to this. Blacks can and do persevere and rise to the top of their professions: Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Thomas Sowell, Colin Powell, LeBron James, Ben Carson, Herman Cain, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, and many others. At a time when people are looking for inspirational role models, you’d think we’d be celebrating these names and shouting them from the rooftops.
Yet, when these people achieve a status of acceptance by society at large, they’ve “sold out,” according to the black community. Instead of celebrating the achievement – especially if that person is conservative – the black community talks about how that person is an “Uncle Tom” and they’re kissing up to white people. Even Barack Obama was said, by some blacks, to not be “black enough.”
And what are the indicators that they’re selling out? When they start speaking articulately? Remember it was liberal Vice President Joe Biden who said Obama was articulate. Because they dress professionally?
Because they work with whites and not against them? What is it exactly? Since it is blacks that say it, they must have a definition in mind of what that means.
If there’s any obsession with race out there, and I think the case could be made that there is, it seems to be among liberal politicians and the black community.
What’s at the core of any prejudice? The idea that every member of an entire race, gender, religion or ethnicity are all the same simply because of that trait or belief. Yet it is not difficult to find Asians, Jews, Hispanics, women, men, whites, Lutherns, etc. with a wide range of beliefs on any number of subjects from politics to favorite movies. The black community, however, appears comfortable being perceived as all the same.
On any given political issue or candidate, it is difficult to find a demographic group that isn’t, to some degree, split on their opinion.
However, as mentioned earlier, the black community has provided a steadfast and reliable 90% or more base for absolutely any Democrat candidate or idea. One that Democrats simply take for granted and rarely work to earn.
When Obama’s approval rating was hovering in the low 40s, the approval number varied only slightly when broken out by demographics. Yet blacks approved of him with numbers over 90%.
Historically, they’ve approved of nearly every liberal politician and policy with the same kinds of numbers. The problems in the black community have been largely the same for decades, yet they continue to put their faith – wholesale – in the ideology that has contributed to their stagnation.
I grew up a white male in conservative suburban America. There are many who would say I have never faced the obstacles that some blacks have; that I can’t understand what they’re up against. Yet, in my high school, there were two black students, in particular, who skipped several grades and graduated two and five years earlier than anyone else. It seems to me that if there was racism involved, someone would have held them back or some racially biased test would have gotten in their way.
Instead, our largely white community rallied around both and were proud of their achievements – not because they were black but because they were both brilliant and achieved something few of us were able.
I don’t believe blacks are lazy or incapable of improving their communities. But I think many have fallen victim to the lure of government handouts, which has extinguished the desire, the drive and the fire that drives any one of us to achieve our goals and reach our potential.
Now, before the 2020 election, is the perfect time for conservatives to start visiting the poorer communities to talk about ending reliance on government and the fight against conceptual obstacles and for each citizen to start tackling their dreams on an individual level.
They should change the narrative of the impoverished with a message of hope. That it doesn’t have to continue to be like that.
Conservatives are naturally optimistic, and their policies serve as a roadmap for taking control of one’s circumstances and lifting oneself from poverty. President Trump is one of the greatest optimists of our time. He’s perfect for this message.
No one cares about the black – or any – community as much as those living in it. If empowered and motivated to start stewarding their own community, they will rise up and make it a place of prosperity, success and happiness instead of anger and victimhood.
Sure, my challenges growing up did not include all of the obstacles and distractions of the inner city. But it was a largely conservative community, and I can’t help but wonder if the black community were to embrace conservatism, would their opportunities slowly equate to my own? And if they did, would the self-appointed black leadership of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton sabotage it by saying they were becoming too much like whites?
In sheer numbers, the success that whites, generally speaking, are enjoying in this capitalistic society belongs mostly to whites solely because the black community prevents itself from joining it. We have to stop thinking in terms of a white society, or a black society.
It’s simply… a society.