One of my closest friends, colleagues, and co-authors is a successful, highly educated black man who happens to also be a conservative. He can tell stories that would shock even the most jaded among us about how he is treated by liberals of all races. Observe how conservative black Americans are treated by liberals and you will find yourself wondering what happened to those rights Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others fought so hard to secure. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was characterized by great sacrifice on the part of courageous people seeking to be treated with respect and human dignity. Battles were fought, blood was spilled, and lives were lost in a quest by black Americans to be treated fairly, equally, and properly. Civil Rights advocates—black and white, young and old, men and women—of the 1960s had to endure snarling police dogs, beatings, tear gas, water cannons, shootings, and even bombings to eventually win the battle.
Some things have changed since the 1960s, but some things have not. In today’s polarized political environment, black Americans who adopt conservative principles such as limited government, free-market economics, personal responsibility, individual liberty, and self-reliance—those who refuse to be labeled “victims” in need of government paternalism—find that, like their predecessors from the 1960s, they must fight to be treated with respect and human dignity. No, they do not have to worry about snarling police dogs, but they do have to worry about snarling liberals in the media and the Democrat Party. The beatings, tear gas, bombings, and water-cannon blasts administered to freedom-seeking black Americans in the 1960s have been replaced by condescension, ostracism, and verbal abuse.
The challenge faced by conservative black Americans in 2012 is strikingly similar to the one faced by their predecessors in the 1960s. Black Americans in the 1960s fought to cast off the shackles of Jim Crow—a set of rules, written and unwritten, that kept the races segregated. Black Americans in 2012 are fighting to cast off the shackles of liberal orthodoxy—beliefs which dictate that black Americans must see themselves as victims shackled for life to a paternalistic federal government.
Liberals who claim to be modern-day disciples of Dr. King, but want to keep those he fought and died for enslaved on ideological plantations run by liberal masters are doing everything they can to put roadblocks in front of black Americans who are moving to the right in their personal, social, and political beliefs. As the number of black Americans who turn their backs on nanny government increases, paternalistic liberals are becoming desperate. The more desperate they become, the more they behave like Birmingham’s Bull Connor from the 1960s. Conservative black Americans are being mercilessly set upon by snarling journalists in the mainstream media and having their character assassinated by liberals who resent their independence.
Conservative black Americans in 2012 want only what their predecessors in the 1960s wanted: to be treated with respect and human dignity. Black Americans in the 1960s wanted to be, in the eloquent words of Dr. King, “…judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” Like their predecessors from the 1960s, conservative Black Americans in 2012 want to be judged by the content of their character, not their adherence to liberal orthodoxy. I do not think that is too much to ask.