Time to End the Inquisition Against Black Conservatives

A New Visions Commentary published July 1996 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected]

During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church and the Spanish held heresy trials. Hundreds of individuals were killed because of their beliefs, and religious freedom and thought were restricted. Today's inquisitors, while usually non-violent, still use intimidation to enforce their intolerant attitudes and beliefs. Black conservatives often are the targets of their tactics. Pursing the strategy that the rebels will disband when their leaders are weakened, the inquisitors have made Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas their prime target. Ridiculed by the 'elite' because of his tough stance on criminals, and his views concerning affirmative action, he is often considered a heretic and outcast.

The liberal elite has sought to intimidate Justice Thomas ever since his nomination to be a Supreme Court Justice. They have held candlelight vigils and prayer services outside of his house in their efforts to lead him in their direction. However, these same inquisitors do not lead their own misguided when they wander in the wrong direction. When former Representative Mel Reynolds was found guilty of rape, there was no liberal elite lynch mob after him -- or after Mayor Marion Barry, despite his long list of indiscretions, not to mention potholes.

In the latest assault on Justice Thomas, a Prince George's County School Board member, the county's superintendent of schools, and the principal of a school in the county rescinded an invitation for Thomas to speak to eighth-graders at an awards ceremony. The inquisitors, it appears, do not believe Justice Thomas is an "authentic" black man. I beg to differ, and would like to know what traits these elitists are hoping Clarence Thomas will adopt or exhibit to demonstrate his blackness. Unlike any other community, for years, we black Americans have told one another what black is and what black isn't. Not being a sociologist, I am unable to come up with a scientific description for this brand of 'inner stereotyping.' However, this is an innate problem that is not just affecting the adults whose arguments are the offspring of differences in ideology and the future course of the black community. Children who also aren't part of the 'black mode' reap the effects of this stereotyping.

Some prominent leaders of the black community seem to think we are all supposed to think, act and talk alike. Except for some geographical differences, we black people are supposed to be clones of each other. We should all act alike, have the same beliefs, and walk in line behind those leaders in Washington, like Jesse Jackson, the Congressional Black Caucus, and others who have legislated and led us into a nearly insurmountable wall of helplessness. Simply put, it is time for these 'leaders' to step down and stop harassing those who do not believe in their views.

I firmly believe that most of these black leaders have the positive interest of their community at heart. However, the leaders of the inquisition must realize that we cannot all follow the same path. For each one of us, the path to the mountain of success is different. Yet, when some black Americans like myself attempt to pave a new path, the Inquisitors stop construction, charge tolls, and throw sand in our eyes to prevent us from searching for a new path.

Our leaders are killing future generations of black Americans whose thought process, socialization and integration in American culture is a totally different experience from theirs. Clearly, members of the black community must break the mold, and renew the idea that freedom of thought and expression are paramount for the success of any civilized society.

by Stuart DeVeaux, a national Advisory Council member of the African-American leadership group Project 21. DeVeaux has served on numerous political campaigns, and in the offices of several public policy organizations including Empower America and Black America's PAC.

(New Visions Commentaries are the opinion of their authors, and not necessarily those of Project 21.)


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