January 27, 2020

The New Face of Prejudice

A story of rejection and hope based on having the “wrong” political views for blacks.

In a society where racism is deemed evil for all, there can be no justification for the prejudices we conservatives experience today.

A week ago (on the MLK holiday weekend, coincidentally), I boarded a charter bus with a band of conservatives (of all colors, if that matters to anyone) en route to the BLEXIT rally in Charlotte. Also in attendance were my two oldest sons, who begged me to go. North Carolina bound, we all discussed issues, laughed together, and forged new friendships, bonding with one another over shared values and a hope for a stronger, more unified America.

But when we arrived, we weren’t met with this camaraderie.

Upon entering the hotel, some folks didn’t take too kindly to our presence. Many of us were wearing what we believed in — American flags, pro-God apparel, and also the infamous red MAGA caps. This attracted glares of disapproval and commentary. Some onlookers muttered under their breaths, while others had no problem stepping up to us directly; one went as far as to call us “trifling.” So much for a hospitable welcome.

After a five-hour commute, hunger set in. We decided on a bite to eat at a nearby soul food restaurant.

Our entrance disrupted dinner for some of the black patrons who decided to pack up and leave. Others made statements suggesting that we weren’t welcome, although the employees were kind and had no problem serving our group. Sadly, the best soul food I’ve had in years was peppered with the prejudice of passersby who refused to sit in the same room with us.

It was as if we walked into a time rift, returning to the civil-rights era. But instead of everything being labeled “whites or coloreds only,” our world was divided by whether we were liberal or conservative. Everything that’s old would become new again. I’ll leave you to decide which group isn’t welcome today.

It wasn’t until one group member started to cry that I realized something. I hadn’t factored in the reality that many of the people in our entourage had never seen what black conservatives experience on a daily basis. I had learned to grow tough skin in dealing with my own community, having been blackballed after my run for school board in 2014. I was told to never come back to the black inner city. I found myself unable to find work except for mopping floors in a medical facility to pay for my son’s private-school tuition. But like many faithful black conservatives, I did the only thing I knew to do — pray for God to create an opportunity for me.

But at that restaurant, hope was also served. Not every patron projected their disapproval on us. One woman asked questions about why some of us support President Donald Trump. After I explained my stance, she had more questions. Her curiosity had been piqued. In terms of thinking differently about politics, the seeds of freedom of thought were sown.

Our weekend continued to be filled with question and query, as people stopped to debate, discuss, or simply ask “why.” And while I know we will never convince every single individual of our views, having the conversation at all would be defined as a success in my book.

On a positive note, some minds were changed. Other people were prompted to think more deeply about their stances on topics such as school and educational choice, free enterprise, and abortion. So long as black people are thinking instead of feeling, God’s work is being done.

Overall, I found it interesting how our group of conservatives approached the aforementioned scenarios. Instead of attempting to “cancel” others with Facebook posts, marches, media coverage, and negative reviews, we compassionately shared a bit of ourselves with people we didn’t know from Adam.

During the midnight trip home, I quietly held my head down, reflecting on how much I learned from this experience. There’s much to realize about the state of our society and how racism has been allowed to proliferate among progressives for far too long. And while the road to ideological freedom is long, we’re growing closer and more black and brown people are coming along for the ride. Unlike today’s progressives and liberals, we conservatives have saved a seat for anyone who wants to come. The only admission is an open mind.

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