Glenn Beck was more ahead of his time than I knew when he featured a show on black conservatives to demonstrate that we “exist.” Still, many of us remain unseen on primetime to discuss issues directly related to the black conservative. A good example is the recent fallout from conservative Presidential candidate Herman Cain and accusations of sexual misconduct. Many conservatives recognize this as an attack on him as a black conservative frontrunner.
As a black conservative writer who has been writing on conservative values and their proper place towards victory in the black community for more than a decade now, these attacks on Cain have echoed my experiences when speaking out both in print, radio and television for years. Sure it has been on a smaller stage but the hate mail and feedback is all the same pervasive and virulent.
“And you even with your straight hair wig would have been mistaken for a welfare gal. Beck is using you. I hope it pays well.
“ …you display that sad self hating stereotype black conservatives are known for by not recognizing your African heritage.”
An oft expressed and baseless suspicion by our slanderers is that black conservatives adopt the conservative position for media attention or spotlight. Their premise: Because we are taboo and scarce we are called on by factions of the right as a side show to validate their bigoted and racist views simultaneously selling out our community for our own financial gain.
Ann Coulter seemed to validate this suspicion remarking, “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Watching Ann Coulter sit down with Sean Hannity all to herself as she (and receives deserved and likely provoked flak) takes ownership of black conservatives had me throwing trail mix at my flat screen. This type of flippant from a white conservative speaking for blacks whom she purports to support (or in this case, approves) serves to justify the accusation that black conservatives are indeed mere puppets in the rare instances they join in the conservative discussion. I am one of the blacks who she thinks is better than their blacks. Why am I (or another black conservative) not speaking about my experience in what is happening with conservative blacks? We are articulate, accomplished, committed to the issues, intelligent, and willing. And yes we too have good and insightful books to sell.
It is precisely because black conservatives are infrequently called on to espouse our conservative views in chief settings that this taboo notion of the black conservatives festers. In fact before appearing on Glenn Beck myself, I had never seen a room full of black conservatives given a full hour of floor and stage on primetime television speaking their opinion and I have not since.
Black conservatives don’t expect many friends on the left, but where are our friends on the right? Understandably MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and other networks don’t immediately look to the many black conservative commentators to round out the opinion on Cain, the 2012 election, how Obama’s administration has set the black community back harder than most. But Fox?
Fox actually has more steady liberal black commentary on their roundtables than black conservative. Juan Williams shares the Sunday roundtable with Mark Wallace. Marc Lamont Hill has a consistent presence on O’Reilly, and Jehmu Green who is described in her Huffington Post bio as “an evangelist for disenfranchised, vulnerable, and marginalized communities” makes several appearances on Fox (as a contributor). Being a black liberal apparently does pay well, even on Fox.
The left is putting up a strong effort to block the progress of conservative values to the black community. That Herman Cain is the front runner of the Republican field right now threatens their monopoly on the black vote. More than this his success endangers the overarching role of Government’s grip on the black community. Should Cain be successful in his candidacy we could see a shift in how blacks vote, how the black community lives, and what we believe about being black in America. This is the same black shift from Republican to Democrat that America witnessed in the 1960’s with Johnson (Democrat) signing the Civil Rights Act.
It is time to make the voice of the black conservative less obscure and more ubiquitous. We are the true advocates and evangelists for marginalized communities. We don’t think we are so special; we know there are more of us out there only they cannot hear us. The more we talk the less strange and unusual it is to be a black conservative making the whole notion of being black and conservative common. This serves the conservative agenda marvelously and unknots the labors of the left.
In thinking what prevents us from making the regular cut I can only surmise my comrades are also like me: modest in querying producers; afraid to appear arrogant or boastful; insecure about being big enough; dubious about appearing self-serving to get ahead. Still, I persist in knocking on doors unanswered or not. Is Fox leery to be perceived as “using” us? MSNBC and Al Sharpton surely aren’t worried about this. What, with Shaprton ranting racism and other slanderous babble that is the perpetual undoing of the black community all the way to the bank? Cha-ching!
Isn’t there room for black conservatives on “The Five,” or “The Great American Panel?” It is disservice to the conservative cause and a slap in the face that our presence is very often omitted. Yes, respected conservative commentators white, brown, or black are qualified to comment on issues revolving around the black community which is largely our American family. Equally, why can’t black conservatives be called to discuss conservative positions pertaining to America at large? White conservatives are sought to do both. Still, would Rolling Stone interview Dolly Parton on the influence of R&B and soul in music without talking to Aretha Franklin or Quincy Jones? It wouldn’t be sexist or racist, but it sure would be peculiar.
I hadn’t realized that Glenn Beck needed a show to prove to America that black conservatives do indeed exist. To a more relevant degree, we still don’t.
Lisa Fritsch is the author of Obama, Tea Parties and God and has made regular appearances on Fox News Channel. www.lisafritsch.com