Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Loneliness of a Minority Conservative

D.R. Tucker has a fascinating blog post about Glen Loury, a black conservative who left the conservative movement a decade ago over the movement's lack of interest in Urban America. What was telling in the blog post was learning of Loury's isolationism from African Americans and conservatives. Tucker shares a story:
A 1995 New Yorker profile of Loury noted that in 1988, “…while Loury was in New York for a Public Interest board meeting, he had a revelation. Touring the Metropolitan Museum with Lisa Schiffren (who later wrote Dan Quayle's ‘Murphy Brown’ speech), he lamented the fact that, despite his prominence, he was completely isolated from his colleagues-that, in short, he had no friends. ‘But, Glenn, we're your friends,” she reassured him. ‘You're a member of a historically liberal ethnic minority, who through your own intellectual evolution have come to dissent from its convictions pretty much down the line. You voted for Reagan, you're pro-life, for family values--you're one of us.’’

Evidently, Schriffen failed to grasp the extent to which Loury felt isolated because he was a member of a “historically liberal ethnic minority.” Loury was, in short, an outcast among his own kind—and in his mind, the right wasn’t doing enough to alleviate his isolation.
Tucker gets at the heart of the matter: that conservatives of historically liberal groups, be it African American or gay, tend to feel isolated. They are viewed as suspect by their own kind, as well as by conservatives. It leads to minority conservatives to have to choose between their community and their ideology. After a while the strain is way too great and they are more likely to go with their community.

It's not that white conservatives , contrary to liberal beliefs, are inherently racist, but it's that they don't feel the need to be hospitable to minority groups. When I say, hospitable, I mean that they don't try to come up with ideas that will attract and retain African Americans.

Part of that lack of interest in trying to attract those voters lies in modern conservative belief. The way that liberals have attracted those groups is through government programs and government jobs or through laws like Civil Rights and those regarding hate crimes. Conservatives offer...what? Because of a belief in not rely on government, conservatives don't have much to offer African Americans.

That's why idea of volunteerism as a conservative program won't work. This is not a knock against those efforts, but the fact is, most inner city folk see these kind of programs already and alone they won't do much.

Which is why conservatives have to work on ideas concerning Urban America. There has to ways to use government to help spur growth and entrepeneurship instead of just giving folks a check.

When conservatives actually start thinking and bringing ideas to the table, then maybe black conservatives won't feel so isolated.

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