Black Ire Matters
In the election of 1968, GOP Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew coined a phrase to describe a new brand of conservatism. He called it “The Silent Majority” and that moniker resonated with millions of Republicans, Southern Democrats and Independents who thought their views and values were being discounted by Washington insiders and ignored by the press. For many, “The Silent Majority” was also code for “pissed-off White people.”
“The Silent Majority” movement was kept alive by right wingers well into the 1980s and 1990s by people like columnist/candidate Pat Buchanan, and by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who resuscitated Agnew’s cause to create “The Contract with America.” But somewhere along the way, Republican movers and shakers realized that “The Silent Majority” needed to be more inclusive of minorities. They also began to recruit “acceptable” Black candidates to run for President. Men like Alan Keyes, Herman Cain and Dr. Ben Carson were, from time to time, the face of Black conservatives in America. Still the needle wasn’t moving for African American membership in the GOP. Ironically that dynamic may now be changing, thanks to a bone-headed power move by our nation’s first Black President.
Last month, Barack Obama sent a letter to 13,000 school districts, telling them to allow students to use the bathrooms and showers according to the gender to which they identify, or else face losing federal funding. Not only did conservative Whites resent the President’s action, so did conservative Blacks, many who belong to “Project 21”, an organization which was spun off from the National Center for Public Policy Research in 1992. “Project 21” has since become the conservative voice of color for what I believe is a growing “Silent Minority” of African Americans who feel like they have been disenfranchised by liberals of both races.
A recent check of NCPPR’s website reveals a broad cross section of black professionals who are speaking out against Obama’s ill-advised social experiment with Transgenders.
Stacy Washington, a former school board member and now radio host in St. Louis writes, “The edict issued by the Obama administration is just another reason for parents and legislators to support school choice.”
Joe Hicks, a political activist from California said, “Obama ran his leftist social justice flag even higher up the flagpole by threatening every public school district in the nation with punishment if they don’t allow all Transgender students to use any bathroom or locker room they want…only 0.3 percent of the nation’s population identifies as Transgender, but now we are expected to accept the notion that the privacy concerns of ‘straight’ students is simply not as valuable as the claimed rights of Transgender youths.”
Reverend Steven Louis Craft of New Jersey writes, “How does Obama get the authority to decree that men can use women’s rest rooms, or (else) be denied federal funding? This is nothing less than legalized blackmail.”
And Horace Cooper, a professor of Constitutional Law at George Mason University says, “The White House is pushing a radical agenda … and they are pursuing it by threatening to punish the most vulnerable students in public school, withholding lunch and remedial teaching assistance from poor and minority students. This is cruel and divisive.”
But Black conservatives aren’t just angry about Obama’s left wing government over reach and threats. They are also deeply offended by his Administration’s equating the Transgender movement of 2016 with the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
Derryck Green, a doctoral candidate from Los Angeles writes, “…attaching this insanity to the legacy of civil rights, specifically that of Jim Crow segregation, trivializes everything the brave men and women experienced and sacrificed in the pursuit of social, economic and legal equality…Obama brazenly disrespects the tradition of the black Civil Rights Movement.”
And Emery McClendon, a political activist from Indiana says, “This is not a civil rights issue. It is a blatant abuse of people’s personal rights, and a tradition that almost every culture holds dear.”
These and other black conservatives are starting to make their voices heard this year, and if the Republican Party acknowledges those voices, then African American affiliation in the GOP could increase enough to affect election outcomes in some states this fall. Meanwhile, Democrats should be concerned about “The Silent Minority” because there is evidence that conservative Blacks within their own ranks are none too happy with liberal politicians pushing a Transgender social agenda.
Last week, Maya Dillard Smith, an African American and lifelong Democrat quit her job. But it wasn’t just any job. She resigned as head of the Georgia chapter of the ACLU because her organization supported Obama’s threats to our nation’s schools. “The rights of non transgender women are not being considered,” she told FOX’s Meghan Kelly during a June 2 interview. Smith also recalled an experience she had in California recently. “I took my young daughters into a public women’s rest room, and in came three Transgender adults who were obviously men. My children were visibly frightened, and I was very uncomfortable.”
Maya Smith’s departure from the ACLU is a sad commentary on how society continues to discount and disparage the views of black conservatives. But it is also a wake-up call to Democrats who have always taken the black vote for granted. “The Silent Minority” matters. Black ire matters. The question is, just how much will it matter on November 8 and beyond? !
JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).