Hat tip The College Fix and New English Review
This article was first posted in New English Review.
Marc Lemont Hill is a professor at Morehouse College. He is better known as a cable TV commentator previously at Fox News and more frequently at CNN. Hill is usually more congenial when debating conservatives, but he really made a splash last week when he referred to prominent blacks who have been meeting with President-elect Donald Trump as “mediocre Negroes”. In that class, he included the man he was debating with, Trump supporter Bruce Levell. It also apparently included ex-football stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis as well as TV star Steve Harvey, all of whom have recently visited Trump at his Hqs in New York.
I don’t know much about the politics of Brown, Lewis or Harvey, though I would not recommend calling Brown or Lewis “mediocre Negroes” to their faces. I am old enough to remember seeing Jim Brown play as well as Lewis. Brown, after leaving football and a short-lived movie career, has devoted much of his time mentoring young gang members and trying to turn them straight. Lewis, who was actually accused of being involved in a homicide in Atlanta (He was never convicted), also spends time trying to teach young people to avoid the mistakes he made in his youth.
In a broader sense, however, this is the type of treatment that is dished out by the left to blacks who are either conservative, Republican, or who don’t follow the plantation rules of conduct and thought required by the left.
Aside from Brown and Lewis et al, this is what people like Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Larry Elder, Deroy Murdoch and others have been subjected to for years. Because they refuse to live their lives as victims and suggest alternatives for the failed policies of the left as they pertain to the lives of African-Americans, they are derided as “sell-outs” and “Uncle Toms”. Those are epithets that we as whites cannot fully understand or appreciate. They are designed to cut, to wound, and to silence the target. It is the last insult that most blacks want to endure just as whites are fearful of being called racist. It is to the credit of the above people I listed that they have continued to speak out in the face of a vicious campaign of vilification designed to discredit them and silence them.
Elder, who is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and commentator, believes that of all the problems facing black America, white racism is near the bottom while single parent homes with absentee fathers is at the top of the list. He states a simple rule: If you get a high school education, stay out of jail, avoid drugs, and don’t father a child out of wedlock at an early age-you will not grow up to be poor in America. (I am paraphrasing.)
When we look at conservative blacks, is there not a lesson there for the rest of us? Can we disagree about gay marriage without fear of being called a homophobe? Can we criticize people like Al Sharpton or groups like Black Lives Matter without fear of being called a racist? Can we oppose illegal immigration without fear of being called a racist? ( I oppose it, and I am married to a Mexican.) Can we speak openly about the threat of Islam and how it relates to terrorism without fear of someone accusing us of hating Muslims as people? Even I as one who has maintained that much of the opposition to Israel is rooted in Jew hatred should concede that not everyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-semite.
In my view, conservative black Americans are the most intellectually stimulating people American society has to offer. It takes courage for them to take the positions they take. They absorb terrible epithets and yet, persevere to say what they think. Their voices should be heard not silenced.