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Saturday
Mar292014

Is It Open Season on Black Conservatives?

Nearly every member of Project 21, the National Center’s black leadership network created to celebrate the diversity of black political opinion, has a story about how their conservative beliefs led to them being ostracized among their black peers (and often at the hands of their black peers).

It happens all the time.  Some black conservatives get angry, some laugh them off and some take them as a matter of course.  But they do happen, and they should not.

This sort of public shaming and/or character assassination at a very public level occurred involving Project 21 members twice in the past few days.

But, as Project 21 member Jerome Hudson pointed out, things are different these days as technology brings the world together and creates more conduits for the truth to come out.  He said:

In the age of social media, liberals can no longer throw the racist rock and hide their hand.

First, and most high-profile, an editor at Ebony magazine – Jamilah Lemieux – sought to deny a black conservative his racial identity in a Twitter attack that also involved Project 21 member Hughey Newsome.  Lemieux’s bosses at Ebony have since apologized for her “lack of judgement on her personal Twitter account” (which, by calling it personal, likely means there will be no further action on their part related to the controversy).

The target was Raffi Williams, the deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee and the son of Fox News Channel commentator Juan Williams.

It started when talk radio host and Huffington Post blogger Avis Jones-DeWeever retweeted to Lemieux that Dr. Ben Carson and Armstrong Williams (no relation to Raffi) were starting a black conservative digital magazine with the Washington Times.  Joyce Jones of Black Entertainment Television asked Raffi, Hughey and Orlando Watson (another RNC media relations employee) for more information about the endeavor and included Lemieux and DeWeever on the tweeted question.

Lemieux posted a snarky reply that “I wish I knew less!”  Raffi replied that he “hoped you would encourage diversity of thought.”  That prompted Lemieux to complain about “a white dude telling me how to do this Black thing.”

When Raffi inquired “who are you referring to as white,” Lemieux retorted: “You.  Now, leave…”

Once again, Raffi is black.  He always has been.

When Lemieux’s tweets began being shared and conservatives took offense to the attack on Raffi and defended him, she referred to her critics as a “house full of roaches.”

Hughey, who was drawn into this controversy simply for being a black conservative and having a Twitter account, commented:

As an African-American conservative, I am disappointed to see such a lack of professionalism from someone associated with an institution as prestigious as Ebony magazine.  More importantly, to resort to personal attacks against someone that has dedicated himself to focusing on uplifting out communities makes me sad.

While some may not totally agree with conservative principles, nobody should question that we need to consider all sides when seeking solutions for the ills that face our communities.

It is a shame that one of this magazine’s editors cannot seem to realize this principle.

Project 21 member Christopher Arps, a longtime friend of Hughey who actually first introduced Hughey to Project 21 a few years back, added:

Amazing.  An Ebony magazine editor calls an African-American conservative a “white dude” and likened others to cockroaches on Twitter.  But it’s almost playing out on the end among liberals like she is the victim!

Next, there’s been an apparent false implication that Project 21 member Stacy Swimp was cavorting with white nationalists.

In a Facebook post on the morning of March 28, Jimmie E. Greene, a political activist in the Saginaw, Michigan area, posted a photo of Stacy standing with Christian author Christine Weick and Jo Cater of the West Michigan Prayer Center with the note:

A group that promotes white nationalism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has filed a brief in Michigan’s gay marriage case now in front of the federal appeals court.  They play [sic] to protest as well.

I’m parking across the street to watch this demonstration play out LMAO!!!

Stacy has been an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage.  A court ruling recently legalized the practice in the state of Michigan, and he has participated in press conferences and rallies against that case, the subsequent ruling and advocacy for legalized same-sex marriage in general – including outside the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit in early March.

Stacy and Greene were friends, but they obviously don’t agree on this issue.  And, by the way, this led to them no longer being Facebook friends.

At first glance, and that’s sometimes all people give to the many Facebook postings they receive, it would seem that this trio was involved in promoting the affairs of the Traditionalist Youth Network, the group that is considered a hate group by the SPLC and did submit a legal brief in the appeal of the Michigan same-sex marriage case.  The wording of Greene’s post also could lead one to believe that Greene is watching a rally by the TYM as he posted the photo.

Does it literally imply Stacy and the others were there supporting the TYM?  No.  Could that be inferred by someone flipping through posts at a random moment?  Absolutely.

There are several facts that prove this possible situation to be false.  For one thing, Greene posted the photo from Carrollton, Michigan – approximately 90 minutes away from downtown Detroit.  An hour later, he posted that he was in Saginaw at a lobbyist breakfast in Saginaw at a restaurant that is also about 90 minutes from the courthouse.

It’s likely that the photo Greene posted was taken at the March 3 courthouse rally.  Not only was Weick photographed that day wearing the same jacket and carrying the same sign, but the photo was taken on a clear day, and the March 28 weather report for Detroit was cloudy and rainy.  The photo has a reflection on the granite of clear blue skies.  And the temperature was too hot for the bundled-up trio in the photo Greene posted.

Also, Stacy, on the morning of March 28, was at physical therapy in Flint, Michigan for treatment related to a serious car accident he was involved in a few months ago.  Flint is approximately an hour away from downtown Detroit.

Stacy obviously wasn’t outside the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit with those women or any white nationalists.  Neither was Greene in any car parked across the street.  Yet the posting could absolutely make someone think that Stacy was there and that he even supported the brief filed by the TYM – an alleged hate group.

Such an allegation is offensive to Stacy, and it has pretty much ended his friendship with Greene.

Stacy made his own statement about this posting, which said, in part:

I have not been to Detroit today.  Furthermore, these women are not white nationalists.  They are Catholics from Lansing…

This kind of vicious attack is standard of those who despise the religious conscience of Americans who reject marriage redefinition.  Yet they cry intolerance from Christians when they feel wronged.

I will not play the game of slander and personal vendetta, but I also will not allow slander and false gossip to go unaddressed when it can potentially harm so many…

Let us pray for those who bitterly despise us.

Both of these instances of attacks on black conservatives are unnecessary and inappropriate, but they are not surprising.

It happens all the time.  Some black conservatives get angry, some laugh them off and some take them as a matter of course.  But they do happen, and they should not.

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