Black conservatives face extra pressures
Concerning “Issues that challenge a black conservative,” by Bonnie Willis (5/29/2013):
I have appreciated your columns for a long time, but this is the first time that I have felt compelled to write about one.
You say that as a black conservative you have to deal with special challenges, and I’m sure that you do. Just to publicly identify yourself as conservative is to incur tremendous tribal wrath from most blacks who would want you to toe the Democratic Party line.
To them the most important thing is conformity, but they would probably use the term solidarity, or if they were being more colloquial “being black”. This gets to questions of identity: Is one a black conservative or a conservative who happens to be black?
It is easy for one to be a leftist white because there is no real ideological internal conflict involved. A leftist white accepts and has internalized a large degree of self-loathing of one’s “whiteness” as a term of enrollment into the leftist ideological tribe. It has become acceptable and something to be proud of in modern society.
A black conservative, on the other hand, wants to be proud of being black and at the same time wants their individual, not collective, identity to be recognized.
They have chosen to walk a tightrope between what they believe is right and what they are told they must believe in order to be one of the (black) group. Any slight or injustice, perceived or real, from whites, gives them cause to doubt their choice. Insults or shunning from blacks only causes further doubt.
As hard as it is to be a white conservative in present day America, it takes much more to be a black conservative. That is probably why black conservatives almost always cite their faith as important to them and a necessary support for the individual path that they have chosen.
Of all the things that we are supposed to celebrate in our modern world, we should celebrate such individualism under pressure to conform.
Unfortunately today’s Left has made personal attacks a necessary part of their worldview, so please withhold my name and address.
Name withheld by request