This has been a good time to be a conservative. The aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin has not only elevated Zimmerman to cult hero status, it has also freed Conservatives to express their fear and contempt of Martin, and of young Black men in general.
Anyone who has a conservative Twitter feed, follows the right-leaning blogs, watches Fox, and/or listens to talk radio has been inundated as of late with statistics on Black-on-Black crime. It is an important issue to be sure, and it is an issue AACONs has focused upon in the past as we undoubtedly will do so again. But the timing of this sudden onslaught of concern is suspect. Is it as Kirsten Powers says, “If conservatives are so concerned about black-on-black crime, it is concerning the only time I hear them talking about it is when they want to stick it to the Black community. And that’s what it seems like. Right now that’s the favorite topic. Topic A among conservatives is to talk about Black-on-Black crime. Black-on-Black crime is a year-round problem but now everyone is obsessing about it because they can make Black people feel bad about it”?
It seems so. Take a recent National Review column by Victor Davis Hanson for example. In it Hanson writes that he has told his sons to be wary of young Black men, which he did in response to a few incidents where he was victimized by them. This sounded familiar to me. My father, who was a successful business owner for most of his life, once told me when I was a boy that he felt he was cheated in some business dealings with Jews. Like Hanson, he warned me to avoid them whenever possible, because “their word don’t mean nothing”. No disrespect to Pop, but even then I thought that was crazy advice. I wonder how the Hanson boys responded to the advice they received. If it was heeded, what then would be their response if a young Black man was to come to them for friendship, or to shop at one of their stores, or to seek employment? How would the Hanson boys respond if they saw a young Black man walking through their neighborhood with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles?
Though Black Conservatives have been silent in responding to Hanson’s warning to avoid young Black men, they have hardly been silent on the response to Zimmerman’s acquittal. In fact, if this has been a good time to be a Conservative, it has been a great time to be a Black Conservative. There is no better time in general to be a Black Conservative than when the Conservative media needs a Black face to give it cover to denouncing the usual targets: Obama, Sharpton, Jackson, and the NAACP. Now that the target is the protests following the jury’s decision that Zimmerman would not be punished for killing Martin, Black Conservatives are in especially high demand.
With Black Conservatives, we now have Black-on-Black finger pointing aimed at the many self-inflicted wounds Blacks have been inflicting on its own people in an effort to trivialize the Martin protests. Who has been more widely praised in the Right media than Shelby Steele for his writing in the NY Times, “One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family?” Again, many of Steele’s points are valid, but his argument is clearly along the lines of that made by many others, that with so many African Americans murdered each day, so many with broken families and living in poverty, then what difference does Trayvon Martin’s death make? I call this the Hillary Clinton Defense.
Funny though, when abortionist Dr. Goswell was on trial not too long ago, no one argued that since so many unborn are killed each day, many late term and by the same horrible methods Goswell used, then what difference would jailing Goswell make? Yet this is the argument they make in regard to the Zimmerman case.
Some Black Conservatives have been so eager to praise George Zimmerman that you would think that he had just rescued them from an overturned truck. We have seen them make straw-man arguments defending the right to self-defense, though that is a right no one is challenging, regardless of how we may feel about the Zimmerman acquittal.
We have seen even fairly mild and measured criticisms of the verdict attacked. Some even criticized President Obama for making the observation that “There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were in a department store.” One does not have to be Malcolm X to agree with the president’s remark, so why then did Allen West respond by saying, “I don’t recall being followed in malls or shopping centers. I don’t recall car doors clicking locked when I walked across the street, And I definitely have not had women clutching their handbags and purses when I got on the elevator. I believe it comes back to being a respectful young man and maybe that’s something that was missing out of President Obama and Trayvon Martin’s life”?
There are maybe five people in politics I respect as much as I do Rep. West, and no one in politics I respect more, but I would bet the Lt. Col. that I could put him in a $2,000 suit and behind the wheel of a new BMW, and have him drive below the speed limit through certain neighborhoods not far from where I live, and he will be stopped by the police – regardless of what a respectful young man he may be.
True, some Black Conservatives legitimately agree with the verdict of the jury that found Zimmerman not guilty. But not all. I doubt if even most do. So why then the near-unanimous timidity in speaking out against the verdict by Black Conservatives? To paraphrase Ann Coulter, when did Black Conservatives stop being “volitional beings”?
The reason for this timidity is that Black Conservatives rely on the support of White Conservatives, and they are understandably very hesitant to offend their supporters. With an audience like that of Larry Elder’s or David Webb’s, or even AACONs’, one is simply better rewarded holding Guns-for-George drives than to cry “racism” regardless of how legitimate that cry may be.
It is unfortunate that so many prominent Black Conservatives seem unwilling to speak out against racism, because by not doing so they are not only poor representatives for Blacks, but are poor preachers for Conservatism as well, because Conservatism is the antithesis of racism. As Ayn Rand says, “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”