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Part One: A Question of Perception.
"We must pursue a strategy that prohibits one party from taking us for granted and another party from writing us
Jesse Jackson, when addressing the Republican National Committee in 1978, said this about the black vote in America, but has
consistently proven himself to be the main violator of their spirit in the modern era. To him they were mere words. To others,
though, the singular truth they express still stands -- and has even begun to take shape.
1996 marks the end of the beginning of the rise of a conservative movement within the black community. A few years ago such
a phrase would have drawn nothing but chuckles, but now the movement is visible enough to be noticed by the politicos and
media outlets that are paying attention to such things. In a few years black conservatism will be a force to be dealt with by both
More and more individuals are stepping forward, more and more organizations are being formed, more and more voices are
being heard from blacks whose positions on issues match more closely with Ronald Reagan than Jesse Jackson. At the time
these choices are to go against the grain -- these people are saying things not in tune with many leaders in their community. And
they say them not to stand out, but to lead. Not to move against, but to move ahead.
Indeed, when former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Colin Powell finally announced he would not enter the political race in
1996 he took the opportunity of the limelight to announce that he was, that day, registering as a Republican. In his stances he
was an exception that proved a new rule.
Powell, after all, is moderate where many studies show the majority of blacks to be quite conservative. Powell said he was
pro-choice, but blacks tend to be more pro-life than whites according to research. Powell called himself a "progressive" and a
"Rockefeller Republican" but, indeed, most blacks find themselves on the side of conservatives on many social issues.
Polls have revealed that most blacks, in stark contrast to the self-appointed race leaders often sought out by the conventional
media, favor strong anti-crime measures and significant reform of entitlement programs.
In fact, 1988 ABC exit polling showed that 18 percent of blacks described themselves as conservatives (while only around 10
percent vote that way). And an article in the Spring 1992 issue of Political Science Quarterly showed that on abortion, law
enforcement, special status for homosexuals, prayer in schools, welfare reform and more, studies and polls reveal the black
population as often being more conservative than the white population.
In a Black Enterprise survey in the July 1992 issue, despite some heavy liberal spin, a few interesting numbers stood out: 39.9
percent of respondents said significant tax cuts were the way to get the economy moving again and 53.4 percent said tax cuts
would be the best way to improve their personal economic situation. On welfare reform 60.5 percent said that learnfare
programs where schooling is required to get financial assistance were the way to go. On the whole, some very conservative
economic principles are at work in these numbers.
This is not to say that there are not issues on which the majority of blacks disagree with the standard conservative line. There
are many. It seems, though, that there is a larger base for traditional conservative themes within the black community than within
the white. The disconnect of these people from mainstream conservatism seems to be the association of the Republican Party
with either racist or anti-civil rights tones.
This association of the right with poor stances on race is not an insurmountable one, however. This is best proven by the fact
that this has not always been the perception -- that at one time, in fact, the opposite was true.
Political decision-making for blacks in America, quite obviously, began with emancipation which did not fully come into effect
until after Republican Abraham Lincoln's death, when his Democrat-cum-Unionist vice president, Andrew Johnson succeeded
him. Johnson's views, though, differed sharply with those of L
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology referenced in this essay
media outlets, Civil Rights,
Television referenced in this essay
Meet The Press,
Sports referenced in this paper
Names mentioned in this research material
Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln, J.C. Watts, an immensely popular president, Lyndon Johnson, Alan Keyes, Ronald Reagan, Andrew Johnson, an eloquent leader, Richard Nixon, Another commentator, a white representative, Barry Goldwater, Louis Sullivan, Ken Hamblin, Rutherford B. Hayes, George Wallace, Jared Taylor, Walter Williams, Rush Limbaugh, Clarence Thomas, Willie, Rep. Gary Franks, Emmanuel McLittle, Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
Republican Party, all sides, Political Science Quarterly, Republican National Committee, Congressional Black Caucus, George Mason University, Great Society, health and human services,
Locations referenced in this report
America, Washington, D.C., California, U.S., Los Angeles, Arizona, East Los Angeles, Alabama, Denver, Colorado, Oklahoma,
Companies referenced in this paper
Keywords included in this paper
conservative, black conservative, Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson, black community, Los Angeles, Republican National Committee, black conservatism, Radical Republicans, welfare reform, Republican Congress, Rockefeller Republican, liberal, black middle class, Civil Rights, the republican, political party, Political Science Quarterly, tax cuts, Pete Stark, political movement, Watts, health and human services, Black Enterprise, political right, 1968 presidential race, Great Society, the black, political history, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, political opinions, Watts Riots, syndicated radio program, Supreme Court Justice, George Mason University, Traditional conservatism, Part Two, leaders, A Question, Colin Powell, best way, entitlement programs, America, Part Three, Lyndon Johnson, Right Side, exit polling, Ronald Reagan, Alan Keyes, one time,