Another day, another state poll where former GOP “dark horse” (pardon the pun) Herman Cain takes the lead in what is quickly becoming a figurative “three-person” race, the other two candidates being Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, respectively. Cain’s ascendance has taken a lot of people by surprise. Out of the entire field of candidates, Cain currently is the only one who has not held elected office; however, to his credit, he still has a large record of private sector experience.
Oh, and he’s also black. Nope, you can’t forget that. Matter of fact, aside from Alan Keyes and political activist Isabel Masters, Cain is only the third African American in the history of the country (!) to run for the Presidency on the GOP ticket. You would think for that reason alone pundits of all creeds and colors would admire Mr. Cain’s perseverance in what is sure to be a very tough race ahead for the Republican nomination.
Except to do so would violate one of the most important tenants of politics in America: you’re not “allowed” to be black and be a conservative.
No less than the Emperor of Intellectual Black People, Cornel West recently told Cain to “get off the symbolic crack pipe” when he suggested that racism is not as large of a factor in black unemployment numbers. Archaic Civil Rights activist Harry Belafonte suggested that Cain is “denied intelligence” [sic] and is the creation of the Tea and Republican parties’ sinister plan to produce “[the] True Negro,” a tool thereby used to deflect the rampant bigotry and open racism that supposedly exists within said parties. The list goes on and on.
All of this criticism starts to read like an attempt to suggest that Cain is not really a “black” man at all. (Even though, if you want to get technical about it, he would be a “blacker” President that the bi-racial Obama. That, however, is an argument for another day… say in 2013.) No, Cain’s really just an impersonator of blackness; he is someone with all the physical and ethnic features of an African-American but who lacks the elusive je ne sais quoi that makes someone….Black. In other words, he’s kind of like the polar opposite of the character that Steve Martin played in The Jerk. Not that it’s condescending or anything.
Yes, this tactic is nothing new. Yes, it’s completely and utterly asinine. No, none of this has anything to do with the real reasons that Cain is experiencing a second wind in his campaign. What it does prove, openly and unashamedly, is that liberalism and its rank-and-file are obsessed with race. Furthermore, if one is to progress unaccosted through the ranks of modern-day politics, one has to be the right type in a particular race.
What’s the best way to combat such falsehoods? Well, being on the opposite end of the problem helps. I suppose I should disclose to everyone that I am, in fact, a black person who just so happens to be a conservative. Part of the reason that I declared myself a conservative was to deny others the opportunity to pigeonhole solely because of race. It’s something that most black people would wish for themselves and their peers…unless, that is, their peers have a different political viewpoint than their own.
So I’d like to try and explain, in my own humorous way, the reasons why black people seem so eager to go after conservative figures of the same race; why the Tea Party differs from the Republicans in their treatment of fellow conservatives – and the strange occasions where my race came into play in ways I’d never expected it to.