The enigma and stigma of being a black Republican.
Black Republicans are not a major topic in the mainstream media, and the reason for that is simple: to them, we don't exist. Black conservatives are largely kept out of sight and out of mind, and the few who do appear are vilified and lambasted by the mainstream media and their fellow African Americans. If black conservatism does come up in a discussion, it is mocked: caricatured as the humble slave doting on their powerful massa. We are a considered a group of people who willingly vote against our own interests and lay our necks under the heels of those who see us as lesser beings. But is this reality? Can black conservatives only exist if they forsake their values?
At the young age of fifteen, I realized that my ideas did not fully align with the Democrat party. In my house, politics was rarely discussed. In fact, I didn't know that my mother was a Democrat until she began saying negative things about Republicans and calling them the "rich, white guy's party." I became more interested in politics during my late teens and found myself looking up the histories of both parties. What I found astounded me and when I asked questions about my discoveries, I was always told that the parties switched sides and that the Republican party we have today was formed from all of the racist ideas of the old Democrat party. So basically, my answers were always something along the lines of "Democrats good, Republicans bad." That was never enough for me. From what I could tell, ideologies don't just switch sides without there being any kind of evidence or reason, so I did as much research on my own as I could. There were hardly any names or dates that provided any evidence of either party having switched political ideologies. And as I looked and discovered more unfavorable positions that the Democrat party supported in modern times, I found myself leaning more and more right. Eventually, I decided that I would identify as a Republican, and one day, I revealed this to my mother. She did not look pleased, and even now, she still doesn't understand why I choose to be conservative.
Black conservatives don't often talk about their political beliefs. Growing up in staunchly Democrat homes can cause you to feel like you're committing a sin to openly express Republican values. As a black conservative, you have to be careful of what you say around your black friends and family members. I recall a conversation between myself and one of my cousins where we were discussing President Obama's health care bill before it became law. When I began to express my views in a calm manner and speak against his policies, she threatened to never speak to me again. After that encounter, I realized that being openly conservative might not sit well with a lot of people. My encounters and revelations didn't end with this one incident, however. As a teenager, I loved to debate, but my mother and older brother (both Democrat) were not the types to engage me in that sort of conversation, so I had to find another outlet: the internet. Chat rooms became my go-to place for meeting different people and making friends from various walks of life. I didn't log onto the website and boldly proclaim my ideologies, but through many conversations that included hot-button issues, like welfare, illegal immigration, and abortion, my political affiliation became clear. To my surprise, so many people couldn't believe it. Some thought I might be an internet troll, and others decided that I was actually a white person pretending to be black. To combat the latter assumption, I would often show a picture of my face and some would believe the evidence and others would continue to believe I was an imposter. Soon, I was met with all kinds of racist slurs by white, tolerant liberals and black Democrats. I was often called a coon and a self-hating black. I was also referred to as a coconut, an Oreo, and an uncle tom. I met several respectful Democrats who respected my right to vote my conscience regardless of my skin color, but the amount of vile, hateful words that came from liberals who claimed to fight for my civil rights simply astounded me. I was often asked why I would be Republican when Republicans were racist bigots who hated diversity. My answers were never sufficient for them and eventually, I gave up trying to convince them of my right to political autonomy. It became apparent to me that black Republicans simply do not exist unless we hate our own kind and love our oppressors. That is the message I received and that is the same message being expressed and spread around daily via the media and liberals who believe that they are the Universe's gift to minorities. I don't hate liberals or Democrats, I just disagree with many of their political views, and one day, I hope that we will all be able to agree to disagree peacefully. My skin color shouldn't determine the way I vote. I should be able to voice my opinions and vote for the interests that I believe in. As long as core conservative values remain the same, there will always be black conservatives, and as long as the Republican party represents these values, there shall always be black Republicans.