New Visions Commentary
The National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans
Being both black and conservative, I know I'm a minority within a minority. Since liberals claim to embrace diversity, one would expect them to be ready and willing to hear my point of view. My treatment at a recent liberal event, however, made me pause to question the truth of liberals' alleged commitment to diversity.
Former President Bill Clinton, a good example of why I am conservative, recently visited my home city of Portland, Oregon for a Democratic Party fundraiser. It was held at a downtown hotel and was well attended by an eclectic group of supporters.
I was stationed outside the hotel with a small group supporting the campaign of incumbent Republican senator Gordon Smith. We were located near supporters of Smith's Democratic challenger, Bill Bradbury. All of us held signs and peacefully exercised our First Amendment rights during Portland's rush hour. Since Portland is a virtual breeding ground for liberalism, we were not surprised by the negative responses our group received.
Getting a thumbs-down or an upturned middle finger wasn't surprising. What was surprising was something said by a man driving by our rally. With an angry look on his face, and not knowing me from Adam, the very first words from his mouth were: "Are you stupid?" He then proceeded to blame President Bush for the precipitous drop in the Dow Jones average.
Such remarks normally wouldn't upset me, but this time they did because the driver was white. I can only conclude that he'd never seen an outspoken black conservative before and was somehow confused by my politics and party affiliation.
I expect to be treated like a turncoat by the liberal black civil rights crowd (who, in my opinion, are nowhere near civil and far from being right). It's no surprise to hear their vicious and asinine remarks. In fact, I was the target of such remarks at that same event. A black liberal called me blind, stupid, a sellout and a defender of Satan and informed me that my "ghetto pass" was revoked and that I was going to burn in Hell. There's tolerance for you in a nutshell. I turned to him and pointed out, "You forgot Uncle Tom."
Because of this contempt for fellow blacks, I guess more white liberals are becoming emboldened enough to show their own mean-spiritedness to conservatives of color. They seem to have lost some of their guilt. I'm now waiting for a white liberal to call me an "Uncle Tom." At that point, I'll know they've come full circle. I know it's not far off since it actually happened in Maryland. The liberal white president of Maryland's state senate used the term to describe Michael Steele, the black chairman of the Maryland Republican Party who is currently the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.
It saddens me that so many liberals believe they must insult conservatives to make their point. I need to remember who I am and what I believe. I must get used to the fact that I'm going to continue to be a political oddity to some people. This is especially true in a state such as Oregon, where black conservatives are very few and really far between.
I still firmly believe that the First Amendment gives people the right to express their political views and to disagree on issues, but it doesn't necessarily give people the right to act like a horse's hind-end.
I hope this anecdote serves as encouragement to my fellow black conservatives. Although we may be small in number, we still have two things going for us that liberals will never understand and can never take away. First of all, a black conservative is not an oxymoron. Second, being a victim is a one-time event and not a lifestyle.
To all those true-hearted and open-minded
political activists out there, keep fighting the good fight of
faith and keep on standing for truth! God bless America!
(Jerry Brooks is a member of the National
Advisory Council of the African-American leadership network Project
21 and a former television/radio/print political commentator in
Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.