"Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that can't keep promises it made you during election time and you're dumb enough to continue to identify with that political party, you're not only a chump but traitor to your race." – Malcolm X
What's your personal political ideology and most important value? Do you agree that certain political parties and issues are more important to Blacks than Whites? A political party typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating candidates with aligned political views and trying to seat them in political office. In your political alignments, are you getting what you need and deserve in return, and not chump change?
It was a Republican president who sought the Emancipation Proclamation. The Republicans Party was the party of most Blacks prior to the 1960s, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King. The founding fathers of the NAACP were Republicans as was the party that desegregated the South's schools and implemented America's Affirmative Action programs. Republicans believe in the free enterprise system. The Office of Minority Business Enterprise, a federal agency dedicated to minority business, was established by Republican President Richard Nixon in March of 1969.
African-American history is most often presented through liberal political lens that skew contributions and examples of African Americans outside the "liberal mainstream." Black Americans have been taught that Republicans are racist and care nothing about Black empowerment. Black Republicans are often labeled "insufficiently Black."
In truth, the history of the Republican Party's relationship with Blacks is one of a bright start followed by steady decline. Unfortunately, a reliance on family and faith has become a casualty of the modern welfare state, contributed to the destruction of family cohesion and supplanted faith in God with faith in government. Black conservatism is a political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the American conservative movement.
Alan West is an example of an elected Black Republican. Atlanta-born West who was defeated for re-election in the 2012 race is known for comments alleging that Democratic "handouts" to the poor have resulted in a "modern form of slavery" and rejects "the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock." West's point is that Democrats who claim to care so for African Americans, in reality, have done them a grave disservice by perpetuating myths of Republican racism and addicting them to a government check instead of liberation through education and strong families. Heritage Foundation data supports West saying: "The public's dependence on the federal government shot up 23 percent under President Obama."
Since the 1930s, the Democratic Party has put forth and promoted social liberal and progressive platforms; and for over 40 years Blacks have increasingly aligned themselves with Democrats rarely questioning: social policies rooted in low expectations and government dependency; economic and tax policies that stifle economic growth, job creation, personal savings and investment; and education policies that refuse to subject public schools to the competition of "school choice."
Blacks are naïve if they continue in their status and low regard among either of the dominate parties. The Democrats, led by President Obama, plainly ignore Blacks, while the Republican establishment disrespects and disregards us. But, apparently Blacks cannot envision leveraging our voting bloc into party platforms, policies and programs that reflect Black Americans' needs and wants.
(William Reed is publisher of "Who's Who in Black Corporate America" and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org)