Let’s make something very clear right now: GOP presidential nominee hopeful Herman Cain and other African Americans who happen to be conservative Republicans are not “Uncle Toms” and should not be characterized as such.
It is an insidious moniker that African-American conservatives are saddled with because they are not in the Democratic Party, where a majority of African-American voters, for dozens of solid reasons, feel more comfortable.
Cain and many other African Americans set their political parameters based on pocketbook and social issues from a different viewpoint. A growing number of African Americans have never lived in majority-black neighborhoods, never gone to majority-black grade schools and have few African-American friends. Conversations about race escape them, and they truly believe if you work hard everything will fall in place.
This is not true of all black conservatives, but is a trending dynamic in black America.
What drives liberal African Americans crazy about the Cains of the world is their willingness to preach against or ignore racism until it suits their purpose.
Remember Clarence Thomas and the Anita Hill controversy during his confirmation hearings to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice? Racism was not an issue in his world until Hill’s accusation of sexual harassment against him became public. He and his conservative friends dusted off the racism card and labeled the criticism and media inquiry as “high-tech lynching.” Once he was confirmed, Thomas quickly began making rulings challenging allegations of racism.
On his way to becoming a media phenom, Cain has derided those who claim racism is real and a factor in society. Tea party folk and mainstream conservatives probably swooned to hear those words coming from an African American.
Then in the past week or so, Cain and those same conservatives pulled out the race card, claiming race is the driving force behind accusations from his past that he might have sexually harassed at least two women and perhaps a third.
Essentially, only on matters of sex does racism show up in Cain’s mind. Racism wasn’t the cause of his 9-9-9 tax plan being D-O-A hours after he offered it. It wasn’t racism when he was criticized for claiming China was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon. The truth is China has more than 250 nuclear weapons right now.
Then just a couple days after Cain and Company had played the race card this time, he claimed GOP competitor Rick (“The Rock,” no need to explain further) Perry was behind the story. Oops, the racism claims started to subside. Interesting. So I guess white conservatives aren’t racist, just political bad sports.
No Cain is not an “Uncle Tom.” He is a media creation who does not know it. He will soon be on the political scrap heap with Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and others who were charming, fun to hear and political empty wagons.
Contrary to Cain’s assertion that black people don’t like him because he is a conservative, black people don’t like him because he is the worst kind of politician — a proven hypocrite.
Edward Pratt, a former Advocate editor, is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.