Conservativism & Minorities
March 13, 2021
There is a current stereotype that exists within our communities that needs to be broken. People believe that individuals of color cannot exist within the stereotypical role that conservatives play. While many minorities may have conservative core values, society does not make fitting into the Republican party easy.
On February 28th, Sonnie Johnson, Angela Stanton King, Shemeka Michelle, Rich Valdes, and Maj Toure gathered onstage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to discuss the missed opportunity that occurs because of the failure to reach out to minority groups. Maj Toure even suggests that this failure to reach out contributed to the conservatives losing the 2020 election. Originally this discussion on black community outreach was supposed to be done solely by Maj Toure, founder of “Black Guns Matter”; however, he felt that it was best to bring in other people to highlight minority voices who stand with conservative values.
When asked how she views conservatism in relation to diversity, Angela Stanton King stated, “This is what we need in the Republican party… Conservatism is my beliefs and where I stand. It represents my moral code… Regardless of our religions, regardless of our skin colors, and regardless of our cultures, there are some things that bring us together on common ground and that is freedom of speech, we want to make sure that we are protecting the innocence of our children.”
To include all minorities within the Republican party, particularly the black community, we must change not only what we say, but also how we are saying it. This includes the message in itself and location. Adrian Norman suggests that we leave out a lot of people with conservative values because of how they are talked to. This takes place on multiple platforms through social media, politicians, individual encounters, and influencers. Conservatives needs to keep in mind how to respond to their audience when they want to think and speak toward a broader group.
Sonnie Johnson says, “This movement needs to look at black men as capitalists. If they (conservatives) had looked at black men and said that they want to be the heads of their households, they want to be fathers to their children, they want to be coaches of little league baseball teams… if they had looked at black men as more than a talking point, we would not be here talking about the failure of the last four years when it comes to black America.”
Johnson says that local governments have the most control over the people. Instead of going to places in which they are comfortable, conservative activists need to instead go and reach out to black communities because the black communities are the ones, we are struggling to see supporting the Republican party. People are influenced by those they surround themselves with and it makes it exceedingly difficult to relate to a group when there is a lack of people to relate with.
Within the minority conservative group, we also fail to remember and keep in mind that there are a whole bunch of different types of black conservatives. Shemeka Michelle uses the example of The Fresh Prince of Belair to help people better understand. Even the characters on the show had extremely different personalities, so conservatives cannot expect a black individual within their party to do all the encouraging and all the outreach because individual people have different levels of comfort with communication, even though conservative members of the black community serve as great people for minorities to relate to.
One thing that Shemeka Michelle applauds the Democratic Party on is their ability to include diversity and represent everyone as a whole. The message is extremely important, but sometimes the messenger is even more vital because people will choose not to get it if they have a preestablished bias.
Angela Stanton-King mentions that the Democratic Party excels in playing identity politics while the Republican Party goes about things in a straightforward manner. When you cannot personally relate to someone, find examples for others of people who do relate to them.
Adrian Norman calls for minorities to stick to their values and “lift themselves up by the bootstraps.” He says that since a lot of conservatism is powered by capitalism, we need to make sure that we are simultaneously supporting black-owned businesses and down the road, we should start to see results.