"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Black Conservatives Getting Some Love

Well, not really. But they may be getting a little respect. I came across an article by noted black conservative scholar John McWhorter a few weeks ago that warmed my heart. He writes about a play running in a small theater in Philadelphia where one of the main characters is about him. The play’s black conservative character, much to McWhorter’s surprise, is portrayed as a normal person. As he well puts it:

This is a symptom of a larger trend that we ought to keep in mind during Black History Month: a range of views beyond the left are becoming more easily accepted in the black community. This is crucial, because a discussion in which anyone with right-of-center views is dismissed as a moral pervert is not a healthy one.

The viewpoint increasingly questioned is that poverty and other ills in black America cannot be expected to change significantly short of a seismic transformation in how America operates. Under this analysis, we must hope that whites will undergo a "realization" after which there will be no racist biases whatsoever, that low-skill job facilities will relocate to dangerous inner cities, and so on. The assumption is, broadly, that black America must seek a "revolution" of some kind.

Increasing numbers of black people are realizing that this will never occur, and that it doesn't need to: it is possible to help people to help themselves within the current system. There is a proliferation of local organizations shunting low-skilled people into lasting work, helping ex-cons negotiate their way back into the system, and educating students of color well, on shoestring budgets.

That is, itself, the revolution, and important black people are with it. No one can accuse Bill Cosby of being "not really black" and yet he has taken to the road with a message of responsibility. Juan Williams, outspoken liberal and darling of National Public Radio, has written a book arguing that too many black leaders have focused on grievance rather than building. Essentially there are no new leaders in the race-baiting vein of Reverend Al Sharpton.


This is tremendous news. Black victimology and alienation have been the default position of politically correct black thinking for the last 30 years or more. This mentality has done nothing but impoverish a poor minority of this community in both soul and money, and has made the climb up the economic ladder that much more difficult for many of the others. In effect Black Americans have imposed this on themselves, and race hustlers who call themselves Black leaders have exploited it for their own profitable ends. It looks like this is finally changing.

One indication of this culturally speaking is a new show I’ve been watching on the ABC Family Channel called “Lincoln Heights.” At the center of the show are a black cop and his family who move back to his old neighborhood, i.e. The Hood, and deal with the struggles of raising a solid family unit in the midst of (mostly) black cultural breakdown. The family is solidly middle class, and the parents raise the children to resist a black culture that mocks civilized behavior.

Specific to the point of a growing diversity of black thought, last night’s episode dealt with the son learning that being “authentically black” doesn’t mean being a hoodlum. Each episode conveys something like that. Honesty, integrity, respect, all solid middle class, dare I say bourgeoisie, values are proudly on display and promoted in the face of black cultural decay by this black family on TV. It has taken some time, but maybe Martin Luther King’s dream of “one day” is finally being taken seriously by those whose ancestors lived the nightmare.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I agree with you completely about Lincoln Heights. I'm trying hard to get the rest of my family to watch that show...great message.