Silencing of the Black Conservative
by Lisa Fritsch (bio)
Glenn Beck was more ahead of his time than I realized in 2009 when he aired his first program to prove the existence of black conservatives.
Despite Beck's assistance, we remain largely unseen on the news channels. As a black conservative advocate of how blacks should (and, in many instances, do) embrace conservative values for more than a decade, the media does not call us as often as it should.
Black conservative voices must become ubiquitous. We aren't anomalies. The problem is that we aren't being heard.
That's a shame since it is precisely because black conservatives are infrequently invited to espouse our views that the misperceptions about black conservatives fester.
Some want this silence because the more we talk the less unusual it is to be black and openly conservative.
That's why the left appears adamant in trying to silence black conservatives. After I appear on television, for instance, I can be assured pervasive and virulent e-mails meant to intimidate me are on their way. For instance:
- "And you even with your straight-hair wig would have been mistaken for a welfare gal. Beck is using you. I hope it pays well."
- "…you display that sad self-hating stereotype black conservatives are known for by not recognizing your African heritage."
An oft-expressed, but baseless, suspicion by slanderers is that black conservatives adopt the conservative position for attention. We are called on by factions of the right, they argue, as a sideshow to validate their bigoted and racist views — simultaneously selling out our community for financial gain.
If that's true, whoever they think is passing out the paychecks forgot mine. Furthermore, I recognize my African heritage more than just every time I look in the mirror. I'm secure in my heritage and my beliefs.
But making a respectable name for ourselves isn't helped when people such as Ann Coulter appear to validate the suspicion. On a recent edition of "Hannity," she said "our blacks are so much better than their blacks." For Coulter to seemingly take ownership of black conservatives had me throwing trail mix at my flat screen.
This type of flippant remark from a white conservative speaking for blacks whom she purports to support (or, in this case, approves of) unfortunately only justifies the accusation that black conservatives are indeed mere puppets.
MSNBC, CNN and other networks aren't expected to look to the black conservative commentators to talk about how the Obama Administration has set the black community back. But what about the Fox News Channel?
Fox News has a steady stream of liberal black commentary on their roundtables as opposed to black conservatives. Juan Williams, for instance, shares the Sunday roundtable with Chris Wallace. Marc Lamont Hill is a consistent presence on "The O'Reilly Factor" and Jehmu Greene is a regular Fox News contributor.
Being a black liberal apparently does pay well, even on Fox News.
In trying to determine what prevents black conservatives from making the cut, I can only surmise that my comrades are also like me: modest in querying producers; afraid to appear arrogant or boastful; insecure about stature and dubious about appearing self-serving.
Likewise, is Fox News leery of being perceived as "using" us? MSNBC and Al Sharpton surely aren't worried about this, considering Sharpton seems to be taking the race issue to the bank. Cha-ching!
But isn't there room for a black conservative on "The Five" or as a foil to Sharpton? After all, respected conservative commentators — white, yellow, brown and black — are considered qualified to comment on issues revolving around the black community. Why aren't black conservatives called more often to discuss policies pertaining to America at large?
I hadn't realized that Glenn Beck needed a show to prove to America that black conservatives exist. To a more relevant degree, however, we still don't.
# # #
Lisa Fritsch, a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, is the author of Obama, Tea Parties and God. Her personal web site is located at www.lisafritsch.com. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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