- - Monday, July 14, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“You’re crazy!” Having a law degree, a friend of mine chose those words intellectually. He thought my decision to join the GOP was a result of insanity.

Nationally, about 5 percent of blacks identify as Republicans. As Lil’ Wayne raps, “Women lie, men lie, the numbers don’t lie.” So I expect surprise about my political affiliation; there aren’t a lot of us. The Republican National Committee is working to diversify the party and broaden our message.

Only black Republicans have to defend their affiliation. Black Democrats don’t. Nor do black independents. Political bystanders are barely questioned. So why us? Because blacks have always been Democrats — right? Wrong.

Historically, blacks supported Lincoln’s party, but that support decreased during the New Deal. President Truman continued President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fight for racial equality, but he wasn’t alone. Nelson Rockefeller and other Republicans were critical players who fought Democrats’ opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

Yes, Sen. Barry Goldwater argued that the act was unwarranted federal power, and he defeated Rockefeller for the party’s 1964 presidential nomination. Goldwater’s sentiments weren’t reflective of the entire party’s, but that’s what black people are told to this day: Republicans are racist. Democrats conveniently use examples from Republicans while daring not to expose their own bigots.

Democrats don’t have an exclusive right to or history with black Americans. However, for decades Democrats have pretended they did. By denying their own past and demonizing opponents as “rich, racist white men,” they created an advantage among many poor blacks. While blacks don’t have a monopoly on poverty, it’s not uncommon in our communities. Black Republicans are keenly aware, but being poor was never synonymous with sloth or ignorance. My grandparents were proud patriots denouncing government handouts. They valued not only education, but also hard work as key to improving one’s position in life.

When other conservatives defend American individualism, it’s accepted, but when a black Republican echoes those sentiments, it defies expected values and party allegiance. Others question our logic and our loyalty to our race — or, worse, they question our race, period.

An uneducated population is easily manipulated, so the emergence of black Republicans only underscores the fallacies Democrats work to perpetuate. We’re very cognizant of our country’s past, but we remain committed to the Constitution and American values. I owe it to my community to encourage more diversity in the GOP. I’m a proud black Republican.

LIZ SMITH

Baltimore

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide