Op-ed by: @TweetGvd
Recently, while scrolling my twitter timeline, I came across a tweet from one of my favorite accounts and a mentor of sorts to me, the great Hotep Jesus.
This latest tweet stated a simple but cold hard fact regarding the conservative movement/party. He said, “conservatism is a white space and black conservatives are only guests”.
Now when I encountered his tweet it had currently been up for 8 hours, I read it; comprehended it, and filed it away, as there was nothing controversial and/or incorrect about his statement.
Before I scrolled away I noticed something. The replies ratio was well above Hotep’s normal RT/like to mention ratio, so I decided to enter the thread…
The bulk of mentions were, of course, white conservatives who immediately went on the defensive, (possibly) out of guilt for knowing what Hotep said is true?
Regardless, these folks flocked into the thread to virtue signal!
Calling it a “shared space” and immediately declared he was wrong without even understanding his point.
This, ironically, is the same reaction the white liberals have to any sort of message contrary to their own.
The sorry attempts to appear “woke”, as many in this thread tried, simply came off as a desperate “I don’t see color” defense to a valid political assessment.
The remaining responses were conservatives from a multitude of races claiming “conservatism has no color” and using their involvement in the space as evidence of such.
But can a few outliers serve as evidence to contradict the original statement? Let’s take a look into that. Is conservatism really a “shared space” that “has no color”?
I would say no.
The Conservative movement, and more broadly, the Republican Party, is a faction built on disproportionately white votes, which put white candidates into office to focus on white issues.
Where do African Americans fit into that equation? Tell me how black conservatives are not guests.
This is NOT to say that the black community and conservatives do not share values and policies. The black community is a very traditional one with great policy overlaps with conservatives; they value religion, family, community, share our view on the 2nd amendment and the desire to be left alone by the federal government to do as we please.
Yet, even though we share such policy concerns, in the 2018 midterms “Blacks voted overwhelmingly (90%) for the Democratic candidate, including comparable shares of black men (88%) and black women (92%)”
If conservatism is really a shared space then why is that number so drastically one way?
The answer is, white conservatives don’t care about black people.
They only care about being called racist.
Hotep makes a simple observation, backed by exit polls, voter registration breakdowns, and a simple look at reality and the white conservatives’ first response is, “I’m NOT RACIST, I DON’T SEE COLOR, THIS IS FOR EVERYONE”.
Their self-preservation immediately overtakes rational thinking and instead of recognizing HJ’s point and discussing possible solutions, instead he is chastised and silenced.
What Hotep said was not only true but a necessary conversation starter to a discourse that must be had to secure a future for conservative ideals.
Conservatives must not only win the young vote, which is drastically shifting to the left. (A Harvard University poll taken in December 2017 found that among likely American voters aged 18-29, fully 65 percent supported Democratic control of Congress.)
But they MUST win the black vote as well. It becomes quite obvious why urban areas are untouchable for conservatives when you see 90% of the population votes against you.
So, how do conservatives win over black voters?
This I believe, was the true intention of HJ’s tweet; the conversation in the 1100+ replies should have been about how to bring black people into the party and make it theirs too; achieve that “shared space” that so many claimed it was.
As a white Hotep (not conservative), I could sit here and pretend I have all the answers for how to bring the black community into the movement but I won’t do that because I don’t.
I would say a good starting point would be, caring about issues that affect that community. Republicans love to cut taxes, remove regulation and expect that to be good enough to bring in voters from groups that wouldn’t normally support them, but that is not good enough.
Nobody cares about tax cuts when your neighborhood is filled with high crime and police whose high patrol schedule disproportionately locks your people up.
There must be specific policies directed towards the black community that will…
1. Actually help.
2. Convince black voters that Republicans aren’t the scary racists who will “put y’all back in chains”, as so famously said by former VP Joe Biden to a crowd of African American voters in Virginia during Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection.
Democrats have painted conservatives as racists who will send us back to the 1800’s while they push harmful policies on the black community under the guise of support.
What have republicans done in response?
Besides verbally deny the allegations and continue the broad policies that do nothing to encourage a change in voting? Not a damn thing.
Like I said, conservatives don’t care about black people, they care about being called racist.
This insane (insanity – doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) approach by Republicans is why nothing ever changes.
But this is a shared space? What a laughable assertion.
Conservatives want to garner black support and votes while simultaneously not focusing on issues that directly affect them.
Again I do not claim to know all the answers, but what I do know is, the conversation needs to happen because we can’t move forward until we’ve admitted the problem, and the reactions to that tweet has shown me, we aren’t ready to admit it just yet.