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Thanks, Juan Williams, for Echoing What Black Conservatives Have Been Saying for Years

Oh, there are just some days when it's really good to be a black conservative.

Today is one of those days. In fact, it's been one of those days every day this month.

Juan Williams' new book dropped Aug. 1. You can tell why I've had 31 consecutive good days just by the title: "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That are Undermining Black America "” and What We Can Do About It."

Williams is a senior correspondent for National Public Radio, a political analyst for Fox News and author of "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965" and "Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary." That last book should give you a hint that Williams is a black liberal, not a black conservative.

But in "Enough," Williams says things black conservatives have been saying for years. Except when we've said them, we've been called Uncle Toms, Sambos, handkerchief-heads and fill-in-pejorative-here. When black liberals say the same thing, they're visionaries.

So, here's some of what the visionary Williams has to say:

"Under (Rev. Jesse) Jackson and (Rev. Al) Sharpton, the high moral standing of civil rights has eroded, slid downhill."

"In the 30 years from 1950 to 1980, households headed by black women who never married jumped from 3.8 per thousand to 69.7 per thousand. That, too, had real consequences. In 1940, 75 percent of black children lived with both parents. By 1990, only 33 percent of black children lived with a mom and a dad ... And there is no question about the impact on black children. With both parents in the house, they do better in school; the children of married people also have fewer run-ins with the police, as well as better self-esteem, and are more likely to enter into marriage before having children. This is a cycle of success, creating more success and prosperity."

Reparations is one of the "dead-end" movements Williams is talking about, and he's absolutely right on that point. Gangsta rap is also a target of Williams' dudgeon, and he hits it with a bullseye with this quote:

"The defense of gangster rap, with its pride in guns and murder, was that it was all about ˜keepin' it real.' In that stunning perversion of black culture, anyone who spoke against the self-destructive core of gangster rap was put down as acting white or selling out the ghetto. Violence, murder, and self-hatred were marketed as true blackness -- authentic black identity."

Williams' book is inspired by one William H. Cosby, who two years ago accused some poor black folks of not "holding up their end of the bargain" when it comes to education. Some distinctly non-poor black folks then accused Cosby of "attacking poor black folks."

But it's a funny thing about those "poor black folks." Williams, who defends the message of Cosby's 2004 remarks throughout his book, notes that it's "poor black folks" who are giving Cosby standing ovations when he goes on his town hall meetings throughout the country. "Poor black folks" are feeling Cosby's message. The people they aren't feeling are his middle-class black detractors.

I got to observe this phenomenon up close when The Cos visited two elementary schools and one elementary/middle school in Baltimore last week. At each school, the auditorium was filled with "poor black folks" from the surrounding poor black -- and downright rough -- neighborhoods. At each school, Cosby got a standing ovation.

Whether you're a poor black person or a former poor black person, you know the reason Cosby gets this reception. It's not because currently and former poor black folks know the kind of black people Cosby was talking about in 2004.

It's because we know many of them on a first-name basis.

Cosby's remarks "were long overdue," a guy who runs a training program for poor black folks in New York told me at lunch shortly before Cosby came to Baltimore. The commentator is a former poor black person himself, growing up in the treacherous stretch of a blighted, drug-infested, crime-ridden Baltimore neighborhood that has the dubious distinction of being the place that inspired our "Stop Snitching" DVD.

"Sometimes," he added, "you have to shame people to get them to change."

Ah, I remember shame. It was that thing that led precisely to black folks, at one time, having an overwhelming majority of homes with daddies in them. Black folks need to rediscover shame.

And shame on us if we don't heed the warnings in Williams' book or Cosby's message.

Does Williams' "echoing" of Black CONservative rhetoric suggest the legitimizing or
the growing (or inherent) legitimacy of the Black Conservative viewpoint?

I mean, him being a Black Liberal and all... (as if)...
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Does Williams' "echoing" of Black CONservative rhetoric suggest the legitimizing or
the growing (or inherent) legitimacy of the Black Conservative viewpoint?---Nmaginate

[i]The best that can be said is the 'African descendant' conservatives may have said it first. (I seems I will go to almost any lengths to find a way around the use of the societal pejorative.)

The only inherent attribute here the truth of the statement.[i]


Jim Chester
My first question is more philosophical. Why are we always so quick to pigeon hole things into conservative or liberal camps? I think it is simply better to address things as functional or disfunctional, pragmatic or unpragmatic etc.

I am reading the book now for a book club I am in. I don't think this is so much a conservative legitimacy stamp, but more so the beginning of us returning to us holding ourselves accountable for us.
"Why are we always so quick to pigeon hole things into conservative or liberal camps? I think it is simply better to address things as functional or disfunctional, pragmatic or unpragmatic etc.[/quote]
This is a question you'll need to direct to our conservative brethren, their the ones who always make this arguement. To me it seems they're more interesting in criticizing rather then making real attempts to help. In the climate we're in this stuff Mr. Williams is writing sells very well.
The only ways to bring about change in America is via politics or revolt. The frame work for the illusion or reality of change, in America, manifest via the two parties construct. For black people going forward, the two party systems simply represents the allusion of influence and the ability to affect change from a black perspective. The only way we can participate in change, via politics, is to side with either white perspective represented by one of the two parties' platforms.

Black conservatism and black liberalism have no viable political outlet unless they parrot the platform of white conservatism or white liberalism, in which case, they are essentially no longer black. That's a problem because black people have always had a"peculiar" situation resulting from that "peculiar institution" of slavery and white supremacy and blacks supposed place in the ordering. Black issues and problems of today will not be solved by piggy backing off white liberal or conservative political platforms and party ideology. Black people are only helped to the degree that we share some commonality with the whites, as either rich or poor, working class or business class, ect. The peculiarities emanating from a history of slavery and apartheid is not being addressed via parroting white political platforms.

That having been said, the question is how do we address and solve these peculiarities that is essentially preserving, if not worsening, the statistical socioeconomic gaps between blacks and whites? I cannot say that I know the answer to that, but I know the answer and solution is not going to come from the white and lobbyist dominated political parties, which don't see any benefit in solving the peculiarities of black's socioeconomic status in America. I lean toward a black boycott or separation from the mainstream political process and the forming of our own political process was we decide on a platform to sell to the mainstream political parties for our support. It can be used as "blackmail" to force implementation of policy created by us to solve the particular issues of people like us.

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