Delusions of Kanye

//Delusions of Kanye

Delusions of Kanye

Is there an alternative? Realistically, maybe not: In the shadow of Trump, the pan-ethnic conservatism the country (and, for its long-term survival, the G.O.P.) needs may be a fantasy. But conservatives who want their politics to be pan-ethnic might ponder two initial changes in how they approach racism and race.

First, conservatives who resist the idea that today’s racism can be legislated away need to think harder about how to honor the particularities of the African-American experience.

You don’t want to take down every Confederate statue or dethrone slave-owning founders? Okay: What monuments to the slave or Jim Crow experience will you enthusiastically support? What more capacious retellings of history, with black heroes instead of sentimentalized Confederates, are you willing to endorse?

You don’t want the federal government interfering with local law enforcement? Okay: Then when black people are obviously victims of local institutions, are you willing to elevate and defend them, to make them a cause célèbre, to act as if their concerns are yours as well?

Second, conservatives who want black Americans to give their policies a new hearing should repudiate policies that on the margins tend to disenfranchise black voters.

If you’re telling African-Americans that their current political leadership is failing them, don’t package that message with the exaggerations about “urban” voter fraud that too many Republicans have propagated. If you want people to consider joining your coalition, act like you want to compete for their vote, not just discourage them from voting.

These two suggestions are a beginning, not an end, and the right is obviously better off listening to actual black people than extremely white columnists like me.

But a red-pilled rapper is a bad place to start that listening tour — at least if conservatives want a real bridge, not just a Kanye dream palace, linking worlds that are strangely close in certain ways but also as far apart as ever.

By | 2018-05-12T19:13:24+00:00 May 12th, 2018|Conservatism and the GOP|

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