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Jewish World Review August 12, 2002 / 4 Elul, 5762

David Limbaugh

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The nobleness of black conservatives


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Have you ever considered what it would be like to be a black political conservative in modern America? How many people are brave enough to endure the kind of vilification and scorn they routinely encounter?

Just consider the mistreatment Justice Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Ward Connerly , JWR columnists Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, and many others have received for years. And it is not just from other blacks. White people (liberals) are even permitted to call these blacks names with impunity.

Why? Because they don't buy into the liberal template: the welfare state, affirmative action, multiculturalism, judicial activism, the public education monopoly and the rest. Unless you side with liberals on these issues, you are against blacks.

Why aren't conservative blacks allowed to have a difference of opinion? Why are they automatically branded as the enemy if they reject the liberal dogma that blacks and other minorities must be dependent on a paternalistic government? Why aren't they praised instead for their refusal to be told by the white cultural elite how to think?

Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (B.O.N.D.) is one of the latest to come under fire for daring to "stray from the plantation." One of Peterson's most recent infractions has been his outspoken opposition to proposals that blacks receive reparations for the slavery of their ancestors.

Peterson had the audacity to accept an invitation to debate professor Michael Eric Dyson on reparations at last week's annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists. He was probably the only conservative in the room of nearly 300 blacks and other media figures. He was not graciously received. Peterson told the Washington Times that "during the question-and-answer period, Dyson and others in the audience called me ignorant and accused me of being 'the white man's boy."

Dyson's invective did not stop at the debate. He followed up with some zingers in his weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times. He opened up his column, entitled "Self-hate Beyond Debate," with "If you've ever wondered what a self-hating black man who despises black culture and worships at the altar of whiteness looks like, take a gander at the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson."

After arguing that Peterson had nothing much to contribute to the debate, Dyson offered his opinion as to why this "ignorant" black conservative is given so much airtime "on countless radio and television programs. The answer," wrote Dyson, "should be obvious: His brand of painful self-hatred, and hence, his hatred of other blacks, plays well in certain white conservative audiences."

Wrong. Peterson's advocacy of self-reliance for all people, blacks included, is what strikes a cord among Americans. Yet Dyson would have us believe Peterson hates himself and other blacks because he wants what is best for them: that they escape the bonds of government dependency. But I will give Dyson credit for expressing directly that outrageous charge that many liberals only imply through code language: that some (read: many) white conservatives hate blacks.

Now, contrast Peterson's treatment with that of Jesse Jackson, a tireless peddler of liberal ideas and exploiter of race for personal gain. Dyson criticized Peterson for his "ill-formulated assaults on such leaders as Minister Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson.

So, Professor Dyson, Farrakhan and Jackson are positive forces, and Peterson is destructive? Putting aside Farrakhan, have you heard the latest on your main man Jesse Jackson? Do you think, Professor Dyson, that Jackson should be praised for trying to meet last week with Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of the terrorist organization Hamas before conveniently canceling after Hamas took credit for the bombing murder of seven, including five Americans, in the cafeteria at Hebrew University?

Should Jackson's motives in ceaselessly conducting such glory-grabbing escapades around the world be immune from public inquiry? How about looking into his alleged financial dealings?

I won't hold my breath. Liberals, black and white alike, are unlikely to criticize or scrutinize, much less psycho-analyze Jesse Jackson (or other liberal blacks) because he says the right (I mean "the left") things. The end justifies the means. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with politics.

Ironically, liberals purport to champion the dignity and independence of minorities, but when any of them tries to escape the tyrannical bonds of their credo, he is branded as ignorant, an Uncle Tom, self-hating or worse.

It takes no small amount of courage for blacks in this culture to challenge establishment doctrine, and the price they pay is often heavy. But by doing so, they perform a great service to their race and humanity as a whole -- and they should be heartily applauded for it.

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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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