The Rise Of Black Conservatism Essay Research

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The Rise Of Black Conservatism Essay, Research Paper Part One: A Question of Perception. The words were wholly ironic: We must pursue a strategy that prohibits one party from taking us for granted and another party from writing us off. Jesse Jackson, when addressing the Republican National Committee in 1978, said this about the black vote in America, but has consistently proven himself to be the main violator of their spirit in the modern era. To him they were mere words. To others, though, the singular truth they express still stands — and has even begun to take shape. 1996 marks the end of the beginning of the rise of a conservative movement within the black community. A few years ago such a phrase would have drawn nothing but chuckles, but now the movement is visible

enough to be noticed by the politicos and media outlets that are paying attention to such things. In a few years black conservatism will be a force to be dealt with by both parties. More and more individuals are stepping forward, more and more organizations are being formed, more and more voices are being heard from blacks whose positions on issues match more closely with Ronald Reagan than Jesse Jackson. At the time these choices are to go against the grain — these people are saying things not in tune with many leaders in their community. And they say them not to stand out, but to lead. Not to move against, but to move ahead. Indeed, when former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Colin Powell finally announced he would not enter the political race in 1996 he took the

opportunity of the limelight to announce that he was, that day, registering as a Republican. In his stances he was an exception that proved a new rule. Powell, after all, is moderate where many studies show the majority of blacks to be quite conservative. Powell said he was pro-choice, but blacks tend to be more pro-life than whites according to research. Powell called himself a progressive and a Rockefeller Republican but, indeed, most blacks find themselves on the side of conservatives on many social issues. Polls have revealed that most blacks, in stark contrast to the self-appointed race leaders often sought out by the conventional media, favor strong anti-crime measures and significant reform of entitlement programs. In fact, 1988 ABC exit polling showed that 18 percent of

blacks described themselves as conservatives (while only around 10 percent vote that way). And an article in the Spring 1992 issue of Political Science Quarterly showed that on abortion, law enforcement, special status for homosexuals, prayer in schools, welfare reform and more, studies and polls reveal the black population as often being more conservative than the white population. In a Black Enterprise survey in the July 1992 issue, despite some heavy liberal spin, a few interesting numbers stood out: 39.9 percent of respondents said significant tax cuts were the way to get the economy moving again and 53.4 percent said tax cuts would be the best way to improve their personal economic situation. On welfare reform 60.5 percent said that learnfare programs where schooling is

required to get financial assistance were the way to go. On the whole, some very conservative economic principles are at work in these numbers. This is not to say that there are not issues on which the majority of blacks disagree with the standard conservative line. There are many. It seems, though, that there is a larger base for traditional conservative themes within the black community than within the white. The disconnect of these people from mainstream conservatism seems to be the association of the Republican Party with either racist or anti-civil rights tones. This association of the right with poor stances on race is not an insurmountable one, however. This is best proven by the fact that this has not always been the perception — that at one time, in fact, the opposite