Patrick Hampton / Jan. 23, 2021

How Conservatives Can Reach Black America

Convincing someone to adopt a party's ideas is easier said than done.

Black Americans are in the middle of an ideological tug of war. Progressives want to keep our loyalty, while conservatives have been fighting to earn it. This leaves some undecided folks feeling more like a commodity than a fellow citizen.

And while political education is vital if we are to understand one another, convincing someone to adopt a party’s ideas is easier said than done.

The GOP has been ramping up its outreach efforts to African American voters, embracing people regardless of background but who share the same points of view. Many Republicans argue that the party should do more to earn the allegiance of blacks. But what does this mean?

If it means pandering to an entire demographic and assuming what they believe or feel about American society, then we’ll have already lost. This approach is exactly why people are fleeing the ideological Left. No one wants to feel like a stereotype or cliché.

If this means using tokenism as a way to show representation, then the effort is in vain. Many black Americans see straight through diversification plots. We would rather a party be genuinely inclusive, but not aggressively so. We see this with corporations that overdo inclusivity in their ads and recruitment tactics. Instead of gently adding seasoning, these well-meaning organizations overdo it, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those consuming their message.

Instead, what I envision is something more palatable — an approach that many black Americans will not just have to stomach but one that they can fully digest and find pleasant rather than feeling like they are being force-fed.

If conservatives seek to reach out to black America, I suggest it be done slowly and steadily, starting with the following:

Actually spend time in urban and predominantly black areas in a genuine fashion. Being present speaks volumes when addressing black issues. It’s one thing to know and understand what is said on television. It’s another to actually experience it. For example, President Donald Trump was already popular among black elites and entertainers. He wasn’t trying to do this for political gain, but to genuinely know people. This came to his benefit when he decided to run for office and won, despite not needing the black vote to claim the victory. Black Americans who were familiar with his impact were ready to support his cause. If the GOP wants the same, it’ll need to follow this same model. Instead of waiting for black people to come to us, slowly and steadily make the effort to go to them. But the key is authenticity.

Next, honesty is critical — which is why so many black Americans favored Trump over other conservative presidents. Trump didn’t bite his tongue when he asked black people, “What do you have to lose?” He drove the message home in the hearts of many because he understood his audience. That of course gave him the credibility to speak in this manner (which is why my previous point about being present is vital). If any member of the GOP or conservative movement seeks to further the gains Trump made with black voters, he or she will need to shake the fears of being called a “racist” and be more honest more often. Trump didn’t increase black voter turnout by staying mum about our issues.

Finally, overcoming fear and guilt are essential. Black America needs no one’s pity, and to be treated this way with pandering and coddling only delays a solution to our actual concerns. We’ve had enough of fake solutions to fake problems posited by the progressive Left. Conservatives, speak to us with confidence, conviction, as well as concern, and your message will go far. Otherwise, expect to be viewed as weak and uncaring.

In summary, the best approach in reaching the black community is one of balance and support. We can’t swing in the direction of diversifying everything, as that would appear artificial to us. But we can’t swing too far into allowing matters to unfold naturally, as indoctrination runs deep with us. If the GOP wants to survive in a diverse and changing America, it’s time to follow Trump’s path and accept black issues as truly America’s issues.

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