Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Screengrab from https://youtu.be/587FiLYlG7o
If you have been a conservative for any length of time, you have probably heard it said that the Republican Party cannot possibly hope to win votes in urban America. It’s a common refrain that arises during conversations about black people and the Democratic Party. Many conservatives seem to believe that Republicans earning votes in the inner city is like filling up a pool with an eyedropper.
Discussions on this subject tend to veer towards complaints about people who seemingly enjoy living on the government’s largesse while believing that all of their problems are due to racism. You may have even heard the term “Democratic Plantation” bandied about as an explanation for why minorities reject the Republican Party.
As a conservative who happens to be black, I can assure you that much of what conservatives believe about the inner city and minorities is utterly erroneous, and if we want a chance at earning converts, we have to change the way we approach the issue. Indeed, it will require quite the paradigm shift in the predominant thinking of those who embrace conservatism if we want to affect change.
I recently watched a video with Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter, answering questions at CPAC regarding how the conservative movement can make inroads in the inner city. His answer was not the typical message you hear from conservatives:
“The conservative movement has failed where we have not created enough and supported enough urban liaisons. The Left has done an amazing job of convincing urban America that the conservative room is a Klan rally. They’ve done it, [They’re] saying these things to say they don’t trust you. People, right now, Urban America, under a falsehood, does not trust you. What liaisons have you linked with that are already doing the work in urban America to highlight and spread our ideals of freedom?”
That’s a great question, but the answer isn’t a pleasant one. The reality is that conservatives have not done much in terms of reaching out to urban communities. In fact, they have avoided inner cities like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez avoids tough questions.
Today, the conservative approach to urban America consists primarily of tweeting about Chicago’s homicide statistics, ranting about how black Democrats are slaves on a plantation, and wondering why more minorities won’t vote for Republicans. Turns out that tweeting from afar and insulting those you wish to convert isn’t such an effective strategy after all, right?
To be fair, there are plenty of conservatives who take this issue seriously, and most of those who engage in the behavior mentioned above mean well. Moreover, many conservatives wish to see a change in the approach to inner-city communities.
But it does illustrate a lack of understanding when it comes to approaching inner cities. The truth is that it is going to take much more than tweets and fancy speeches to make progress in these areas. Instead of just talking about urban America, conservatives need to speak with urban America — in person.
Unfortunately, many of the conservatives with whom I’ve interacted are quick to claim that it is not possible for Republicans to go into these neighborhoods. I’ve probably heard all of the usual objections by now: “We’ll get shot.” “They will call us racists.” “They don’t want to hear from us.” “They all just want free stuff.”
I’ll be blunt. These are excuses and not very good ones. For starters, nobody is going to get shot just because they start conversations with these communities. That’s not a thing.
Yes, the Democrats in these areas will most certainly call us racists. It’s what they do. Leftists gonna leftist, right? But the response to their race-baiting can be summed up in one question: Who cares? In the end, actions speak louder than words. If conservatives are making a genuine effort to understand the problems inner cities face, the lie will be exposed.
As for the free stuff — don’t believe the hype. Yes, some minorities and whites enjoy being dependent on the state, but this does not represent the majority of those living in the inner city. If given a choice, most would rather earn their money instead of receiving handouts.
Don’t believe me? Then answer this question: How could the unemployment rate be so low if blacks don’t want to work? Exactly. The rate is low because more black Americans are working, which shows that they are willing to work when they can make a viable wage. So what do conservatives need to do to make inroads in urban America?
Toure’s comments were spot on. Conservatives and the Republican Party must create and support liaisons, people who are willing to sit and converse with people in these communities. These must be people who know how to listen more than talk. Preaching at people about imaginary plantations is not the answer; Instead, conservatives must treat them in the same fashion as people living the suburbs and rural areas. At the end of the day, it’s about relating to people, not just a voting bloc.
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