Nathanial Stuart has done something so remarkable, so groundbreaking that no MSNBC reporter could even fathom the sheer novelty of the idea: Have a conversation with an actual black person at a Tea Party protest.
Stuart has produced an excellent video of candid yet illuminating comments by “conservatives of color” who were present at the Washington DC Tax Day Tea Party. Instead of making them feel awkward for their audacity to fraternize with white folks, (brava, MSNBC’s Kelly O’Donnell), Stuart elicits serious, pointed reflections on the way non-whites at Tea Parties are routinely demeaned by (primarily) white liberal commentators and also the bigotry black and Latino conservatives face in defying leftist racial expectations.
The first protester he interviews is a forthright black women with an obvious flare for tough political debate. She’s proud of her independence and has strong opinions. Stuart first asks her what she thinks of a recent column by the New York Times’ Frank Rich in which, Stuart says, Rich implies that black Tea Party protestors don’t understand the civil rights movement:
Well, what Frank Rich needs to understand is that black and white people came together during the civil right movement. The majority of those people out there were Republicans….Black Americans have been following Democrats off a cliff for the last 40 years. We’ve been in the wilderness, we haven’t gotten any better, they haven’t done anything better for my people, so I’m out here with my family of Tea Party people…We’re out here to, number one, save our country. It’s not that we hate the President, it’s not that we hate Democrats, but we love our country….And we need for everyone in the whole United States of America to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. We’re allowed to have a voice. Just like they’re allowed to have a voice. So I disagree with him [Rich.] Vehemently.
Stuart: MSNBC has been reporting that black conservatives have been called Oreos, traitors, and Uncle Tom by other blacks. What’s your feeling on that?
Woman: Well, I really have no feelings on that. MSNBC, number one, if we’re talking about Olbermann — Keith Olbermann is not a black person. I am not an “Oreo.” I am a very agressive, assertive, professional black woman….We’ve always had, I’ll say, “interracial differences” even within my own people, but the truth be told, that’s simply not true.
Answering the same question, another black gentleman shouldering a flag replied,
I’d say that’s the oldest tactic in the world — race-baiting. Trying to pit us against each other.
Another interviewee provides an even more trenchant response:
If anyone wants to call someone an Uncle Tom, first read the book. Uncle Tom was a heroic figure. Uncle Tom stood up against the Democrat, Simon Legree who wanted to enslave those people. He stood up, he fought and he was willing to die for freedom. So, anyone who wants to call me or any other African American an Uncle Tom, doesn’t know what their talking about, because you don’t know what an Uncle Tom is. You’re a Sambo, you’re a Quimbo, you’re working for the Democrats, that’s the party of slavery and you’re continuing the enslavement of our people.
Sambo and Quimbo, I should note, were Legree’s black slave overseers and henchmen who assisted in Uncle Tom’s death.
The video is fascinating and I highly recommend you watch the entire thing. For me, it accentuates one of the things I love most about being an American conservative. As a people, we are united by a core set of transcendental ideas — including, but not limited to, the concepts of liberty, equality and justice. We are not compartmentalized by ethnic allegiances. In some circles, this may be viewed as deficient kinship with which to bind a nation. Yet, I’m hopeful it has potential for stunning resilience if we manage to keep our heritage alive.