White conservatives and the Black Press
10th June 2013 · 0 Comments
By A. Peter Bailey
Slightly more than a year ago I wrote a column urging Black folks to begin paying much closer attention to the ever-increasing conservative influence in this country. I especially wanted the Black Press to begin profiling major conservative individuals, groups and organizations to make their readers, listeners and viewers more aware of those forces that are the foundation of a movement that has little, if any respect for us.
I was motivated to make this appeal after re-reading a statement by the late William F. Buckley, Jr., the founder of National Review magazine and considered by many to be the godfather of modern American conservatism. In a December 30, 1991 issue of his publication, Buckley wrote the following:
“Now ethnic sensitivities vary. It doesn’t matter what John Cheever or John O’Hara or John Updike or anybody else writes about them-you cannot really succeed, in America, in riling the WASPs. Their sense of security is as solid as Plymouth Rock, and incidentally as insensate. Blacks, yes, are sensitive, but Black lobbies are not powerful enough to punish nonpolitical transgressors against such taboos. (A Black book-buyers boycott against a novelist would not impoverish.) If the spoken or written offense is egregious enough, as in the case of the joke told in 1975 to John Dean by Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz, a cabinet officer gets fired. If a district attorney is named to a federal judgeship and it is revealed that he once made a genial reference to the Ku Klux Klan, he can be defeated on the floor of the Senate. And no one running for office in a state in which the Black population is significant would consider, post 1965, violating the taboos.
On the other hand, there is discussion of such questions as to relative Black intelligence, sexual promiscuity and upward mobility that still gets a sober hearing in sober surroundings. (Italics mine) About the American Indian one can say most things with impunity; about gays, progressively less as, emerging from the closet, they consolidate and give strength to their retaliatory powers.”
At least one has to give Buckley, whose haughtiness was legendary, some credit for acting on his belief that we were in no position to retaliate against his insults. The question now is how many conservative politicians, journalists, educators, radio and television talk-show hosts, judges, corporate executives, cultural leaders etc., share the beliefs about Black folks expressed by the Godfather of modern American conservation.
This is where the Black Press comes in. It has the absolute responsibility to advance knowledge about conservatives such as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who basically has two votes on practically every issue dealt with by the Supreme Court — his and that of Justice Clarence Thomas.
It has to alert us about the key players in the Tea Party; it has to provide concrete information on those who head think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute; it has to increase our knowledge about the Koch Brothers, the chief financial force for numerous conservative causes and propagandists such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh who howl about our “playing the race card” whenever we bring up the subject of prevailing white supremacy or racism in this country. These people are in the position to negatively affect our individual and group lives. The first step towards dealing with them is knowing as much about them as possible.
This article originally published in the June 10, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.