This was an E-Mail that I received a few days ago and am just answering it. As with all of my pieces, I speak for me, and me only, - I do not speak for all Black people, all Leftists etc.. so my words herein are not to be attributed to the ideologies that reside within “leftism” nor to all Black people as a whole.
“Good day to you, young brother
I do not have a Deviant Art account and was shown a piece of yours entitled “Why Socialism” by my son who has an account on the site and who follows most of your work. When reading this piece, I found, that there were some things that I could agree with you on within it, as well as other pieces that you linked to towards the end that you have written about your political views, and views on religion in general. I also read your piece on African Americans and reparations, well written. [WHILE HE DID NOT LINK ME TO IT, HERE IS THAT PIECE atheosemanon.deviantart.com/ar… ] I decided to email you and ask you a few simple questions, but before I do, allow me to give you some background information.
I was born in 1939, in the state of Mississippi.I have served my country proudly in Vietnam and have not regretted it. I support our country even if I do not support the man in office at times. Though I have read that you are of mixed race, for the moment please allow us to focus on African-Americans for the moment. I am a Baptist, life-long follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am also a conservative African-American man who am often called “Uncle Tom” by other African-Americans because I am a conservative and a Republican. I have voted for Republican for most of my adult life. The first election that I voted in was the 1960 election to which I voted for Mr. Kennedy, but every election since then I have voted for the Republican ticket.
My question to you is, why do most African-Americans in America have a negative view of conservatism, to the point that it is deemed racist to espouse a conservative idea, or to the point that I am called an “Uncle Tom” because I am a conservative Republican.
In 2008, I voted for John McCain, a fellow vet, and while I did not like the what I saw as hatred that some had towards Obama, calling him a terrorist and the like.. in 2012 I did not vote at all. The Republican party did not seem the party I remember.
My son tells me that you often answer people’s emails so I figured, since my son follows you and reads everything that you write that I would pose a question on the negative views of conservatism by African-Americans in this country.
First of all, sir, I would like to thank you for your email, [to which I shall link you to this post once it is posted] I would also like to thank your son for pointing you in my direction and allowing you to read some of my stuff. With respect to you being a Republican is rather understanding from my perspective given the time you were born and the state you were born. While many of today on my the right say that they do not know how any Black person could support the Democrats, I think you more than most would understand the reasoning. Particularly in the south, it was the Democrats more often than not, not the Republicans who were the ones attempting to do away with voting or putting excessive tests in order for Blacks to vote in the south. It was the Democrats which usually went by or were referred to as Dixiecrats to distinguish themselves from the more moderate or liberal democrats, to which, the dixiecrats were certainly known as the more conservative of the two in general. But ideological and party affiliations were quite different in parts of the North where in states like Indiana you had D. C. Stephenson, a well-known Republican, and Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.. yet in your state, many of them happen to be Democrats so that is why I open up with understanding your party affiliation as during that time in history many Blacks in the south joined the Republican Party. Even Martin Luther King Sr. was a lifelong Republican, his son, Martin Luther King Jr. as far as we know according to many fact checkers had no part affiliation. What we do know is that he surrounding himself with many who were clearly “leftists” his top advisor being Bayard Rustin, a former member of the Young Communist League USA, who left after they abandoned civil rights, and then he became a well-known socialist, and that MLK surrounding himself with people who were of both parties, and some of no parties… I do apologize, sir, I am going off the handle here.
With respect to them calling you “Uncle Tom” this has to be one of the best attacks against Blacks by Blacks … started by Whites. I think to understand the insult, we must first understand the man, Who was Uncle Tom? By most accounts, Uncle Tom - whose real name was Josiah Henson [went by or was called Uncle Tom] was a Black man that should be greatly respected. Here you have a man who was promised by his Master that if he could raise $450.00 [1830 money, which would be around $11,250 today]… After years of working, he had raised the money for his freedom, but when he went to give his Master the $450.00 to buy the freedom for him, his wife, and their four children.. only to find that the Master had raised the price from $450.00 to $1,350.00 or around $34,000 in today’s money. Rather than work for many years more, Mr. Henson escaped to Canada, where he started his own business trying to help escaped slaves by teaching them laboring skills to which would allow for them have a skill and find employment once they got up North.
At this time, being called an “Uncle Tom” by a White person meant that the Black person was seeming uppity, or raising above their status set in life.. in a sense, of acting “White” … over the centuries sadly, many Blacks in this country have used this as an insult, which, in my opinion, is more of a disgrace to the memory of Mr. Henson that they believe that escaping slavery with your family, starting your own business and helping others is “acting White” so with respect to them calling you Uncle Tom – I have been called this but as a child I was already taught who the man was thus when called this I took it not an insult - but took comfort in their ignorance, lack of knowledge within them; and their calling me or equating me to a man of his stature. So, the next time anyone calls you that, might I suggest telling them to go read up on who Uncle Tom aka Josiah Henson was… and if they still think it an insult - then merely smirk at their ignorance and move on.
Now to get to the crux of your email as to why do I think most blacks have an issue with conservatism. I would say that I do not think “most blacks” have an issue with conservatism per se, I think most blacks in America have an issue with the way that so –called conservatives have used racial issues to show blacks in a negative light. Let us look at Nixon and the “Southern Strategy”. I ask you sir, what is the southern strategy? It was stoking up the racism and negative views of White voters against Blacks in order to win favor with them and gain their comfort. It started in the late 1940s when the Democrats started adding voting rights for blacks as a part of their party platform which is where the whole dixiecrats thing started… anyway, it worked wonderfully for Nixon where he won the South rather easy by stoking racial animosity between the races. Between Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, Humphrey was clearly the more left leaning of the two, Nixon had foregone over 85% of the black vote in the south by using the “Southern Strategy” to which you could say that started and some may argue the reason today why most blacks in America do not self-identify as Republicans or conservatives.
Humphrey also started the Americans for Democratic Action, which is a progressive leaning group which since its founding in 1947, has advocated for social and economic justice through grassroots methods.. at its founding. While often smeared as communists by conservatives.. ironically enough the Union for Democratic Action, which was the group in which the ADA grew from...actually were very anti-communist and even banned communists from joining the group..
But with respect to why most blacks have a negative view of conservatism… I grow very worried when using most , while you may be correct I will simply say that many blacks have a negative view of conservatism because of the southern strategy to which has always tried to solidify the white vote by demonizing blacks. This is one case to which I think many blacks in this country have a negative view of the so-called conservatives.
Then you had Ronald Reagan and his whole “welfare queens in the south side of Chicago” which showed or implied that all or most Blacks merely wanted handouts and who were they taking money from…. Hard working Americans, wink-wink..
While I do NOT think Atwater was being racist nor even intended to be in this interview, he opens up a segment on socioeconomic issues and race to which would allow me to better address or rather be a lead in to my next points.
Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.
Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?
Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."
This leads me to my next point of why some blacks have a Distrust for conservatives or the modern Republican Party.
While Reagan is pumped up as this big tax cutter, and one Republican said, to which had me laughing that the “first thing” Reagan did when he got into office was cut taxes to “record lows”
Sir, you were alive then, might I link you to this
As you can see from that link which has the tax rates going all the way back to 1913… while in my Why socialism piece that your son let you read here, atheosemanon.deviantart.com/ar… I also did a piece entitled conservative logic 101 here atheosemanon.deviantart.com/ar…
As you can see there, with respect why I poke fun at them today, many Republicans today say we had a recession and depression because the Democrats ran up the debt and we had high taxes…. As the picture shows, the great depression started in 1929, ten years before your birth… you had Republican presidents from 1021-1933 and had Republican control of the House of Representatives from 1917-1933, and Republican control of the US Senate from 1919-1933…. So to blame liberals, democrats etc for it, is laughable.
But I bring this up to you because of the tax claim, the Republicans and conservatives claimed that the great depression happened because of … high taxes, as the tax foundation link clearly shows in 1917 when Republicans took over both the House and Senate,. We had a top tax rate of 67% it rose to a high point of 73% in 1920… When Harding ran for office, one of the main things he ran on was lowering taxes. When he got into office the top tax rate went from 73%-58% and was like that for the next few years… while the government was already running deficits because of a lack of revenue… they, the conservatives at the time, to which most people would say that Harding, Coolidge and Hoover were conservatives for their day. After the death of Harding, Coolidge seeing that the government did not have enough revenue, using the SAME conservative argument of today that if we just cut taxes, that would increase revenue.... he cut taxes from them 58% that Harding had supported… and in 1924 the top tax rate went from 58%-46%... and in 1925 it went from 46%-25%.. so sir, you see from 1920 a tax rate of 73%, to which I would argue is rather high… to just a year later dropped it by 15 points to 58%.. and just a year or so later from 58-46%...and then to 25%.. so in the span of just 4 years between 1921-1925 the top tax rate had dropped from 73%-25% … and yet they wondered why the government was not taking in enough revenue. While tax rate may be a factor when dealing with a high tax rate of 73% it is clear that merely lowering it without changing anything was not the solution.
You may argue, or I have heard some argue that … but hey, they lowered taxes on the poor as well…. Which is true, but as the father of modern Capitalism said in his book “The Wealth of Nations”
"The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion"
So while it is true that the tax rate of the poor were also lowered, it is also true that they were making smaller and smaller shares of the pie with each new tax break, thus their “buyability” also decreased after each tax cut, as more and more wealth flowed to the top… now sir, since you were born during this time, let us say and be honest in such that most of the most impoverished then and now where Blacks, with respect to which racial group had higher unemployment then and now.
After the Great Depression and FDR and Dems were elected.. .what you saw was investments in impoverished areas, mostly with things like the WPA which put poor people to work building roads, and the like, which saw great strides in investments in race relations with respect to blacks and the FDR administration, but thanks to some government programs which got poor people of all races to work doing things that the country needed, infrastructure.
While sir, I know you are a conservative and a Republican, and you of course may not have agreed with the WPA and the like… we did, thanks to many of these programs set up by FDR get out of the great depression [some conservatives argue we would have been out many years before if FDR had not been elected… then again they say the same thing now about Obama Administration]
But with respect to the debt, deficit, tax policy and Reagan,
When Reagan came into office the tax rate on the top was 70%... one of the first things he did do was cut taxes, from 70% to 50% .. but it was not to “record lows” because as previously shown before the great depression we had a top marginal tax rate of 25%... but even then, with a tax rate of 50% we, the United states were running high deficits… and debts, so in “fiscal conservatism” [I consider myself a fiscal pragmatist, not fiscal conservative.. I consider the fiscal policies of conservatives to be quite hilarious…. ] anyway, after several years of 50% and running up the deficit and debt… the tax rate was then lowered and the 1987 was lowered from 50% to 38.5% … and in 1988, it was lowered even further from 38.5% to 28%... Reagan, while the right loves to tout the jobs created under which was 16.1M jobs in 8 years… [I always point out that in 4 years 10.3M jobs were created under Carter… ] but if you look at PERCENTAGE, Reagan raised the debt and deficit more by percentage than any president in US history, to which the right conveniently forgets.
But keeping with the theme of your question, what else did Reagan do, sir? … He cut the Department of Education by 18.6% .. now many conservatives argument say, good, the DOE should be cut. But this was in his first year, in a time where you saw millions and millions of kids going to school… to cut the education budget by nearly 20% .. meaning schools have to do a lot more…with a lot less. Now. While this is not the major factor of race relations and the conservative party… you can also look at things like his ramping up social program cuts, his greatly increasing the ever failing war on drugs, increasing punishments for drug offenses. Now, while of course this is not indicative of why blacks in general do not hold a favorable view of conservative policies.. the fact of the matter is, it is more profitable to open a school instead of a prison and yet we seem to spend on average 4x more housing prisoners than we do on the average school child. You may say this should not be a reason, and I would agree, but in general sir, when you have such measures these police are more so going into the inner cities where mostly blacks live.
During his second time, he cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 40.1% in his second term, To which as you know, this program generally helps poor people get into homes.. yet in typical neocon fashion, he did raise defense both years. This is another thing, to touch back on the Sherrod quote that it is not about black and white, but rich and poor…. The conservative argument is that if we just cut social programs those on social programs would be better off, if we just give more and more tax cuts to the wealthy then they will create jobs which the trickle down economy has never worked. Why? Because a trickle down works on the premise that if the wealthy have low taxes and such that the wealth will flow down.. it acts counterproductive to most economic structure of a trickle up economy to which rich people do not become rich unless they have people buying their products and when you continuous offer tax shelters, loop holes, cuts etc this does nothing but increase the wealth at the top and generally hurts the lower to middle class person. Look at the wealth sir, of the wealthy people since the 1980s, their wealth and income has grown greatly while the middle class person has seen his wages barely move and in some cases decrease, while I said this for me is about poor people, not exclusively black people I would lend that this is another reason that many blacks do not trust, not conservatism per se, but how race is often coded within it.
But with respect to Reagan specifically, sir, we mustn’t forget his time as governor of California when he angered many blacks with his banning of loaded firearms in public because the black Panther party was telling people, a view I agree with somewhat, that if the police are not going to protect you, and let us be honest sir, in the 50s and 60s… the police officers were generally more feared than the thugs in many neighborhoods.. then when you have the Mulford Act, which many black groups at the time saw as trying to stop them from protecting themselves
You also had COINTELPRO… which as I am sure you know sir, was counterintelligence operations conducted by the FBI for years, with respect to this one thing and the Black Panthers, the selling drugs, the stoking faction violence between groups .. keep them occupied fighting each other as not to organize.
But touching back on Reagan, if you recall, What did Mr. Reagan do within months of being president? He pardoned the only two FBI agents that were convicted of crimes during the COINTELPRO operations.. there were many black leaders who saw this somewhat as an injustice that he would pardon these men after what they had done, at the time was said to help destroy Black communities. … so this, further stoked the flames of distrust between many blacks and so called conservative leaders.
If you recall the Pigford v. Glickman 1999 supreme court case, this was a Department of Agriculture case basically that also started under the Reagan Administration which discriminated against black farmers for farming grants making many of them eventually lose their farms whereas they had equal to greater collateral than some of their white counterparts, but the “scale” used for grants were quite different.
The socioeconomic views of race in America…
As Bernie Sanders, who is my favorite senator, said, that politifact rated as true
"Mr. President, in the year 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income," Sanders said. "The top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income--more than the entire bottom 50 percent. That is apparently not enough. The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent has nearly tripled since the 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the top 1 percent earned about 8 percent of all income. In the 1980s, that figure jumped to 14 percent. In the late 1990s, that 1 percent earned about 19 percent."
In America in general, we have 50M or 1/6 Americans living below the poverty line. With respect to blacks, in a 2010 study found that 27.4% of Blacks lived in poverty, nearly 25%...of Latinos you have 26.6%...compared to the 9.9% of Whites and 12.1% of Asians who were in poverty..
For me, and while I will touch back on this later, I take the Shirley Sherrod view of … it is not about black people, or white people.. but about poor people.
Now with respect to .. or rather in continuing on with the question of why do many blacks have an issue with conservative views..
What we know is that the number 1 way or rather the best way that one can raise themselves from poverty is a good education. Yet when you look at education in inner cities often has more students yet are greatly underfunded. When you hear conservatives speak most, the first thing they wish to cut most are social programs and the department of education yet I rarely hear a realistic alternative.. if you wish to reform the system… it is best to lighten the load and not remove it completely.
With this I mean that if you want to cut social programs or education… something that I do not agree with, but the idea that we will cut it to the point that it is on its knees in one year, vs gradually decreasing the budget until it phases out… while implementing programs or whatever that could then take up the slack of the cuts.
With respect to George W. Bush, while in general with respect to race, I think he faired quite well… until Hurricane Karina where the federal government was rather slow on the pick-up of the ball on that issue. After this, it once again stoked racial issues, rightly or wrongly, of who was head of certain positions that were not qualified, such as the FEMA guy, and some on the right praising of the president for his handling of it… while in general not a race thing, it did stoke racial issues of some things ordered, such as the police officers shooting looters, and how they portrayed blacks and whites differently. Speaking specifically of a picture of a white male and female walking down the flooded streets with bags of food said to be surviving by foraging for food and such and similar pictures with some blacks saying that they were looting stores etc.. and the ways some on the right spoke of it which angered some groups of blacks to further made a somewhat distrustful atmosphere of why some blacks have a distrust of conservative policies and the modern day Republican party.
The Last Republican President that I enjoyed, but was not alive during his term being born in 1987… was Dwight Eisenhower .. if I may share a few quotes of his
Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, l954
If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
I believe if the Republican Party espoused these similar ideas and views of today that they would garner much more support of lower and middle class people, and maybe even black people but the fact of the matter is, as the Republican party continues to move further and further to the right, I do not see that happening.
I am for one not a Democrat or Republican and have praised Jeb Bush’s 1 trillion dollar one time education reform budget which would allow for on average 10M dollars per public school to renovate and modernize. When you have some inner city schools using 15 year old text books, and you have overcrowding class sizes and the like… it is of no mystery as to why they do worse off in general with respect to individual cases… yet if you look at most educated states overall, I found it a bit to the needle with respect that according to fox business
of the 10 best and worst educated states..
ten out of ten voted for Obama of the most educated states and 1/10 of the worst educated states voted for Obama… while I merely used this as a leeway, I wish to try and wrap this up
You said you voted for McCain in 2008 and did not vote at all in 2012.. I do recall, as you may all of the racial stuff thrown at Obama from comparing him to a monkey, the racist emails that were forwarded by several top state Republicans to which two of whom that I can recall apologized and resigned.. the n in 2012 you had Rick Santorum saying "I don't want to make black peoples lives better by giving them somebody else's money" he claims that he did not say that.. but sir, please look up the video and judge for yourself. Then you have the Reagan-esque welfare queens thrown at him with calling him of the food stamp president and using typical Chicago thug as he is called and the like… this type of stuff usually thrown at him from the right is why I do not think many blacks in this country hold a favorable view of conservatism in general.
Speaking from my perspective, I think, As former GOP Chairman Michael Steele said that the message is not conservatism it is the way that many who are conservatives convey it. This may very well be true, I make no secret that I am a liberal, progressive, democratic socialist to which I sum up with National Conservative [not to be confused with American view of conservatism or neo-conservatism] But as I have tried to show why the past few decades especially as to why blacks may distrust conservative views in general with respect to economic policy, because whether under Republican or Democrat aka Dixiecrat, it was often seen as more conservative views that are against their interest.
You spoke of your belief, I do not think that matters with respect to ideological allegiance. Most Republicans are Christians just as most blacks in America are Christians. I would wager that most Republicans and most Blacks, are against gay marriage, which for me is a shame. While I am a heterosexual sapiosexual.. I see nothing more troubling than a group that was denied their rights for so long turn around and deny the civil rights to another group based on something that their bible says…remembering that religion was also a driving cause for keeping them down or many arguments there in were of then if god this and that.
With respect to social policy is where a major shift comes, many blacks [well poor people in general] want more investing in our education and it would seem the going talking point is cut education, many blacks want sensible social safety nets, and yet on the right we hear, cut cut cut!!
With respect to welfare, they, blacks, do not like always being portrayed as being drains on the system, and yet are often the race mentioned when spoken of welfare.. even though the majority of people on welfare, are not black.
I personally want welfare and prison reform. With similar things reforming them, if you are on welfare or in prison and you have no High school education, then you institute GED programs and have it available for them. If you are on welfare or in prison and the highest level of education you have completed was High School or GED, then have the ability for them to attend community colleges for those on welfare and have college level courses in prisons.. while you may say, TYPICAL LEFTIST THROWING MONEY AT THE PROBLEM, what is it that we know, sir? The higher the level of education you have completed, the lower the unemployment rate is. What do we know about prison. For both have work study programs
Those who get a HS Diploma/GED are twice as likely not to return to prison, those who get college level courses, or a skill that they can utilize on the outside, mainly woodcutting/labor type fields almost never return to prison/.
With respect to welfare, more education listed on a resume increases the likelihood of being hired, and if they can pick up skills for that particular field, which are recent and up to date that would also help them find employment and get them off of welfare.
I have always said it is about values and history…
Let us look at history
When we invested heavily in education we had low crime rates, low poverty rates, low prison population, low dependence on governmental programs and innovation was at its highest margins
Yet, when we cut education every few years
We then had higher crime rates, higher poverty rates, higher prison population, high dependence on governmental programs, no longer investing in American innovation..
As stated sir, while for me, it is more about poor people than what race they happen to be. While in my long-winded nature, I did tend to go on about the venture of the impoverished, somewhat more-so than the issues of blacks and the conservative platform, I do hope in this text that you have found your answer…or at least my opinion as to why the black vote generally does not go to the Republican party.
While, I respect you being a conservative Republican, and respect your service for this country, I do not know your particular views on the issues to say if I would agree with them or not. The Republicans I wish the party would hold favor with are Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater - - to which I honestly believe if Goldwater ran and won office in 1980 and again in 1984.. I think with his support of gays in the military, support or rather being pro-choice/thinking government should stay out of it that the party may have a better name than it does currently. While
I did not agree with many of his views, I found him to speak his mind and respected him for such.
Good day to you, sir.