The Conservative Dignity Heist

Back in high school my friends and I used to go to Blockbuster (Remember those?) and rent movies. Usually we would go for quirky and often stupid films, while making fun of any number of ridiculous titles available. The still undisputed champion remains “The Watermelon Heist”, a black comedy flick that would make you respect “Soul Plane”.

During our roasts of the Blockbuster comedy shelves, my white friends would inevitably wonder why black people would subject themselves to acting in these buffoon movies.

Why would we expect better in entertainment when we get the same shuffling in politics?

Republicans have unquestionably cornered the market when it comes to debasing black politicians. While Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck may hold sway amongst the opinion of the conservative base, there is no reason for black Republican politicians to put on show for them.

I’ve known plenty of black Republicans throughout my life and none of them resemble the caricatures presented in the media. For example, one was staunchly against attending church unless it was Christmas or Easter and another attempted to organize a number of black physicians, albeit unsuccessfully, under one roof rather than serve as tokens in white practices.

Nonetheless, these people don’t seem to get airtime unless they’re holding up an inflammatory sign at a Tea Party rally.

Instead we get a rotating cast of characters who make the lowest common denominator comfortable.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an OG of this movement. Throughout his tenure he has been one of the most conservative judges and his opinions have often supported injustices in black communities. One of his latest opinions dismissed allowing further evidence for a man that was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. It seems as if we get a new story about a black man being released from death row via DNA test every week, yet Thomas continues to find no flaws in the system. Despite his sometimes quiet demeanor and “go with the conservative flow” attitude, Thomas has managed to be a constant and quite formidable (Just ask Anthony Weiner, who called him out for a financial records dump on a Friday and had his career end the next week) force.

Then there’s former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele. During his tenure he played right into the “Obama is a socialist” fear mongering and even had the nerve to say he’d bring “hip-hop” to the GOP with “off the hook” PR (Here’s a timeline of his missteps from the AOL News Surge Desk). By the end of his chairmanship he was a running joke. He even claimed “War and Peace” was his favorite book while quoting the most famous lines from “A Tale of Two Cities”.

Herman Cain, who is currently running for President, is another frustration. He is the successful CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and clearly an intelligent man, but he still shucks and jives for the audience. Whether he’s telling crowds, “Don’t condemn me because the first black President was bad,” or decrying his distrust of Muslims, Cain makes it clear he wants the conservative base to be comfortable with him, even if it’s at the expense of his dignity.

The man that takes the cake is Representative Allen West. He’s made ridiculous statements his calling card, most famously by calling Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz “vile”, “despicable” and “not a lady” during a policy debate. West might’ve topped himself Wednesday by saying he is a modern day Harriet Tubman and that black leaders like Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson are overseers. Never mind that his policies don’t support the black community whatsoever.

West is the reason I don’t believe in banning racial slurs. He is a coonami.

Sadly, he represents the latest incarnation of the black conservative comic relief. I’m sure it won’t be long before another person comes along and answers the never ending question of “How low can you go?”

The real question is why? It’s 2011. Black conservatives, for the most part, aren’t the stereotypes we see on TV. Unfortunately, it seems that their audience continues to insist on Capitol Hill Stepin Fetchits rather than three dimensional politicians.


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