Are Black Conservatives Simply Useful Idiots?

allen west

Rep. Allen West (R-Florida)

Only a few weeks into the new year, and it seems that black conservatives made their way out of the gate on the wrong foot.

That’s not to say that they ever were on point, in my estimation. But these days, they seem particularly off their game, out of place, out of step and isolated. When the Republicans were a center-right party with a semblance of a big tent, black conservatives were useful tools – pawns who were willingly exploited to put a black face on regressive social and economic policy. And I’m sure they did it all for a chicken wing and a bowl of grits. Now, at a time when the GOP is tea party-owned and steeped in 100 percent pure corporatism, greed, intolerance and white supremacy, they are simply useful idiots.

Case in point: the lieutenant governor of Florida, Jennifer Carroll, said that she couldn’t think of anyone who epitomizes the values and vision of Martin Luther King more than Gov. Rick Scott. That would be Rick Scott, the anti-union, voter disenfranchising corporate fraudster, and perhaps the worst governor in the country, which is no easy feat.

Ward Connerly, the former California regent and anti-civil rights crusader, is accused of financial impropriety and is being investigated by the IRS. He earns around $1.5 million a year at the American Civil Rights Institute, accounting for half of the nonprofit’s budget. The person leading the charge against him is none other than Jennifer Gratz, the white plaintiff in the University of Michigan affirmative action case that struck down programs of inclusion in that institution. Gratz later worked for Connerly, but no longer does. And Connerly is portraying her as disgruntled former employee. So, a man widely regarded in the black community as a race-based con man who pimps colorblindness and quotas for personal profit is now being accused by his own supporters of being just that – a race-based con man who pimps colorblindness and quotas for personal profit.

Florida Leutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll,

Black tea party spectacle Jesse Lee Peterson said he agrees with Newt Gingrich that blacks lack a work ethic. Peterson’s solution is to send blacks back to the plantation, literally, not figuratively. Doubling down on Newt’s racial rhetoric, Peterson said “one of the things that I would do is take all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working. I’m going to put them all on the plantation. They need a good hard education on what it is to work.”

And in an apparent case of buyer’s remorse, Juan Williams, Fox News’ resident black apologist, received a proper verbal beat down from Newt Gingrich at a recent GOP presidential debate in South Carolina. Williams appropriately exposed Gingrich for his comments on food stamps and the poor – including his remark that “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps” – saying the words were “intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.”

Don’t get me wrong, Juan was right to attempt to put Gingrich in his place. But that was not the job for which Fox – and by extension the Republicans – pay Juan so generously. They pay him to be different from the rest of us, to engage in self-loathing and attacks on black people, poor and working people, liberal thought and progressive values. So for a moment, Juan forgot where he was, and that’s why the crowd booed him. I don’t know what caused Mr. Williams to lose his way, but if this is a sign he has found it, we should embrace him. But he must realize that a GOP debate is the wrong venue to address Republican racism and scapegoating of the poor. The base wants to hear about doing away with child labor laws, about forcing black and Latino kids to clean the toilets in their school for pennies, and about calling Obama a food stamp president.

As for the black conservatives who are embracing this ignorance in the era of the 99 percent, they are really just a sideshow oddity. It is likely the loneliest job in the nation as a person of color, to sell your soul to a nearly exclusively white-extremist-fringe movement, one that truly hates everyone who looks like you, and works hard to scapegoat you for political gain. It’s as if they’re turning their back on the mama who raised them.

Meanwhile, J.C. Watts – who has returned from obscurity after apparently not suffering enough abuse in the party – says that Republican candidates need black strategists at the table to help them win over black voters and avoid controversial remarks. “Somebody that looks like us needs to be at the strategists’ table to say ‘I know what you’re trying to say, but I wouldn’t say it like that,” Watts said at an even hosted by black tea party darling, Rep. Allen West (R-Florida). West said that blacks have conservative views but don’t vote Republican.

Watts and West are missing the point. Having a black face at the Republican race-card table never changed the game, and they are proof of it. They are the only ones who don’t realize that they are the punch line to this offensive joke, and the joke’s on them.

David Love
Black Commentator 


  1. Kim says

    I’m sorry, but anytime I listen to Rep. Allen West, I just think he’s mentally ill. And I’m not trying to be flip. I mean it.
    Maybe I have no business delving into this. I am a (mostly) straight white female from a working class background. However I am perplexed by both black conservatives who pony up to the very people who want to crush them down and by the Log Cabin Republicans who consistently align themselves with folks who mean them no good at all. What is it in human nature that makes otherwise smart, capable people fight against their own self interests like that?

  2. Ike Edwards says

    Scorching article to the conservative side of politics. Great job. I still cringe every time I think about Jesse Peterson and Juan Williams (I believe he only spoke up because fox gave him the green light to discredit Newt, whom they fear due to his bat-shit craziness). My question is are you implying that “black conservatives” (I use quotations because let’s be honest, real conservatives and so called liberals are becoming scarce in the era of “back scratching” politicians) are no longer a danger to the minority community?

    • Anita Martinez says

      So black conservatives are only “useful Idiots” your words not mine. I will take Allen West in place of that CHICAGO POLITICIAN anytime. Mr. David Love, I was raised in South Texas with Blacks in the l940’s & 1950’s, and yes, we may have all been poor (but as kids we were not aware of it) , but we all had respect for each other and for our elders, we all helped each other, and we had intached families. So you can name “names” of so call idiots, but I will throw in a few for you, such as Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson and his son, all the members of the Black Caucus. And how about a white idiot who was one of the main causes for the housing collapse, Barney Franks. Be honest for a while and let the good people of this country get rid of all the politicians that just want to use the poor people of this country for their own political power. We the people deserve better.

      • Nanette says


        First of all, are you black? Anyway, I don’t where to begin with your comments. Yes, there are some who give up trying because of various reasons. However, most of the blacks that I know work hard and try to better themselves. When one of us succeeds, I say, they must have gone through the fire to get there. I’m sadden that you think that, the conservatives, are in your corner. Do me a favor and read American History. What I see is that they, the Republicans, want to return to the Gilded Age. That is, the extreme wealthy will, without regulations Democrats fought for, dismantle the Labor Relations Board, EPA, Social Security and Medicare just to name a few. Look at the past because this is what the Republicans want: no government regulations and compliance. Do you realize if they get this what your life will be like. For example, no civil rights for people of color (including you), no child labor laws (take a look at China), no minimum wage, no Social Security or Medicare. Boy, I can name more but, you get the idea. Stop, supporting them because they don’t CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT, THE RICH! READ YOUR HISTORY!

        • Anita says

          To: Nanette; no, I am not black, so is that what you look for in order to listen to anyone? Because I do not now or ever have looked at the color of a person in order for me to listen to him or her. I grew up when there was no civil rights, no Labor Board, and no EPA. There may have been Social Security but I know for sure there was no Medicare (yes, I am that old, but I still can outwork anyone 20years younger than me); and we did just fine. The women in that era were outstanding. Tough and gentle. They ruled their family with an iron fist, so there was no need for cops to keep us out of trouble. The women in the family took care of that. And the men in the families WORKED. My dad never took a dime from anyone that he did not earned. Nanette, we don’t need government to take care of us, we can do that ourselves. The government should be there only to keep the nation safe, manage the highways, and a few other things. And I have never earned income from a poor person; the rich old Republicans that I ever worked for paid me very well and all of them earned their money the old fashion way.

          And I may not be Black, but I grew up in the same neighbors with them. We all did; blacks, browns and whites. And we did not hate each other then. And we all helped each other. If any family did not have food, we shared; my grandmother gave eggs and tomatoes to the black family next door and they in turn gave us fresh milk from their cow.

          By the way I majored in History at ELA, and UCLA (also accounting). But I also LIVED THE HISTORY. We ALL went through the fire to get where we are. That’s what makes the battle so sweet after you are on the way to winning. Stop the government from giving the hand-outs, we are smarter than that and can do so much better for ourselves and our families. And keep the unions out of our schools. Our kids deserve the best education but we need teachers that work for the kids not for the unions. By the way I am trying to be one of the RICH and I want my children and grandchildren to also be one of the RICH. How in the world can you help anyone else if you are not rich? I want to be like Bil Gates, so that my family and I can give lots and lots of money away. Don’t you want the same?

          • Nanette says

            Well, I hope you are happy Mit Rommey is closer to the nomination. If he wins, I envision a more privatized country with no regulations to protect Americans. By the way, there are very wealthy people in this country that care about others. These people made money but, care about those who need it as well. In essence, having money doesn’t mean you don’t care. However, there are those who have it and will make sure others don’t. Pay attention to the real news, such as MSNBC not Faux News (Fox).

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