This was a funny tweet that went out earlier. Jamelle was part of a troupe of writers of a site called Postbourgie whose 1st generation of writers are all now doing fantastic things at major media organizations around the country. All appear to lean left-of-center, but the interestingness of their site was the fact (oh, it still exists with new writers) that they showed the diversity of opinions amongst black folks who were young, opinionated and often had white allies to boot. I enjoyed their takes and have enjoyed seeing them all over the place hawking their voices, even if I don't always agree with the underpinnings of their positions.
Having grown up black (and well, still am) and associated more with conservative movements in high school, college and through the mid-part of my 20s, to ask the question of "next generation of smart black conservative intellectual" is to talk about a thing that never had a huge generation to start with. I went to CPAC in 1998 before it went absolutely batshit and I think there were probably less than 10 black people there. I remember being asked to appear on a panel with a bunch of other young people with Steve Forbes for some TV show where we didn't get to ask any questions and he did all the talking with whoever was hosting it.
The conservative movement is a lot like working for an old company. Youth isn't necessarily prized in the same way. Now obviously there are youth organizations and there's a decent racket to be made if you're willing to be a shill for messages that people want heard. But thoughtful intellectual discussions? In this era of idealogical confusion? Moderate republicans don't really have a place in today's conversation, leaving the bombast of a Mia Love, Allen West or similarly positioned folks. Sure, there's probably a world for people like to talk to you -- surely they're out there -- but those folks aren't coming from a place of reasonableness to begin with.
Here's the deal with being black and right of center -- you're a fucking unicorn to start. People are going to be constantly questioning why you're doing it and these days, it seems a lot more hip to just claim some kind of libertarian spectrum and being done with it, because it comes with a lot less baggage. Add to that if you're right of center, you probably like money and so, the idea of blogging for shekels just doesn't appeal either. I'm painting with a REALLY broad brush, but...I don't think I'm far off.
So this whole topic intrigued me. I probably haven't blogged about anything remotely political since the early 2000s, if that. In part because of my own idealogical shifts and not being anywhere near where I was on the political spectrum in my younger years. Plus, since I made the web my full-time thing, I just haven't really been able to figure out a place for these kinds of conversations online. I'm not really interested in debating for sake of it.
But this tweet really got me thinking about the whole movement of ideas. Do I think that individuals with opinions shape or influence policy? In some limited cases. In the case of conservatism, there would need to be a legitimate desire on the part of leaders to want to understand the ways that the party misses on race & outreach to truly fix it. That's not really the narrative, especially in a Tea Party world. Also, I think the problem with the "loyal black opposition" stance would be the assault you'd get from all sides whenever you make anything vaguely racial. So there's a need to explain to your idealogical opponents why you see things the way you do -- and the consistent risk they'll call you intellectually dishonest -- and then people on your own side of the aisle calling into question why we even need to have these conversations in the first place.
Who has time for that? Where's the benefit? What's the aim?
Here's a stab. If you really do reject the politics that government has all of the solutions and that market-based solutions could provide more relief to a greater swath of the population, specifically the segment of the African-American underclass, then sure there's a message and a narrative worth pushing. The problem now is that nobody is really interested in having those conversation in the aggregate. The GOP isn't interesting, nobody votes for third parties and Democrats high step to the end zone with 90% of black votes in tow in every election.
In that kind of landscape, what the hell is the point of being an intellectual pure black conservative voice who is presumably reasonable to boot?
You'd make a lot more money doing other things.