Ta-Nehisi Coates on Why Black People Won't Join The Republican Party


cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a former writer for the Village Voice among other pubs and has a new book coming out. I also know him from way back in the day in DC/Baltimore. (No, I don't know everyone I link to, but it can help :)).

Anyway, he's written an excellent piece on the debate about Obama's speech and Why Black People Won't Join The Republican Party. An excerpt:

My point is that the Right really doesn't understand black America, and is much more interested in lambasting it then going out in the field, reporting and learning. Cosby has commanded large crowds of black people, pulling on a conservative tradtion that stretches from Booker T. Washington to Louis Farrakhan. The crowds who come to see him understand his message of hard work and "not blaming the white man," but they also find him credible and don't think he's trying to sell them out.

The same can't be said of Ward Connerly black conservatives, and there's a good reason why. The conservative position on black people is essentially a negative one. I don't mean that in a value sense, but in the literal sense. The idea is to either dismantle all elements of government which explicitly attempt to heal the old wounds of slavery and Jim Crow, and then do nothing. Of course one could argue that this is of a piece of conservative, small government ideology. Except that black people aren't stupid. They know, for instance, that most conservatives think that government should ban abortion, and some don't. They know that most conservatives are anti-illegal immigration, and some aren't. They know that many conservatives doubt global warming, but some don't. They know that many conservatives believe in standing strong with Israel, but some others don't. There even are a few David Brooks conservatives who believe in gay marriage.

Yet when it comes to black folks, for decades the most impoverished demographic in America, the policy is essentially (excuse my language, but it's appropriate)--Fuck them niggers. The saddest thing about Obama's speech is that there really is not a conservative rebuttal. Peek in over at The Corner and you'll hear a lot of folks taking issue with the speech, but virtually no counter-proposals. That's because conservatives believe that black America's biggest problem is itself, and thus they see no role for government. There basic ideology is if black people would start getting married and parenting, they'd be fine. There may be some truth to that, but from there perspective--despite decades of racist policies enacted by the government--there's absolutely nothing government should do to help.