For years we've been trying to figure out what a "black conservative" really is; this, in contrast, to a conservative who happens to be black. We discount those who traditionally call themselves that because in reality, it seems that they could care less about black people. The Wards and Clarences and Armstrongs seem to have no interest in identifying a uniquely African American agenda via their conservatism. They believe that African America's problems can be "fixed" generally through the adoption of the over-all (white) conservative agenda. They see no uniqueness to our position in this country. Furthermore, they see no need for America to "repay" us for anything. In the final analysis, their blackness seems to be more of nuisance to them, as opposed to something that they cherish as both a core part of their identity as well as their true birthright.
I was thinking over the weekend about my notions that "working the system" politically, along with supporting capitalism, executed in a more human-centered way, are the best ways for us to generally improve our lot here in America. I thought about some of the dialog that I've had with Oshun Auset, Nmaginate, and others who disagree with those positions. I pensively wondered perhaps whether my quest for a true "Black Conservative" should really end with me. Again, we pretty much dismiss the current black neo-cons as really not having any interest in our community at all. Does that then mean that someone like me - who holds the interests and future of African America closely to his heart, who loves his people and his Motherland, who is able to clearly see the repugnant ways in which our country operates, but who still sees 'the system' as something that we can manipulate to our advantage - is an example of the real "black conservative"?
Now I am absolutely sickened at the prospect of being called that. I have nothing in common with the black folks who call themselves conservative today. But if we look at the continuum of ideologies and approaches that exist within the community of those dedicated to our liberation, perhaps that is what I am. I strongly support just about every liberal/progressive pro-black position there is, but am I a "conservative" because of the approach I favor for our liberation? Can you be a conservative and also strongly support reparations, affirmative action, AFDC et al, universal health care, public schools, unions, fairer tax laws, etc., etc.? Can you be a conservative yet also strongly support African America's embrace of a broader Pan African identity and agenda? Can you be a conservative yet also believe that the government should play a role in 'making us whole' for all we have invested in this country?
I don't know. I certainly know that our current black neo-cons won't embrace me. Neither will the broader conservative movement. Nevertheless, what do you think?