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"Essay by actor/writer Joseph C. Phillips - U-N-I-T-Y Part 3: Partisanship and Black Authenticity"

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jcphillips (12k image) As I continue to ponder the question of partisanship, I find myself considering principles. Do the principles we hold apply to all men or are they simply preferences that can change with the seasons? It is the difference between objective and subjective morality. One holds forth a standard of behavior that is true for all men no matter their station. The other subjects men to the whims of an elite who determine for the rest of us when and what the standards are. The former are principles upon which this nation was founded and represent the greatest harbinger of success for minority American populations. If charges of partisanship are going to be levied perhaps they need be directed at the prevailing black "leadership", which has aligned itself with causes and supported issues increasingly hostile to the principles that have been beneficial to Americans in general and black Americans specifically.

It was not a benevolent federal government that loosed the shackles of black America. The evils of slavery and Jim Crow persisted until government met its obligation to secure the individual rights of each citizen regardless of race or ethnicity. A commitment to the principles upon which this nation was founded, and an unyielding belief that God desires freedom and justice for all men is solely responsible for unleashing the talent and industriousness of millions of black citizens.

Yet, the prevailing black political wisdom is married to the welfare state. Black "leadership" opposes reforms of welfare, public education and Social Security in spite of evidence that change will empower parents and families and they demonize the free market, the source of job creation. So ingrained is the political orthodoxy that they have even turned their backs on the traditional institution of marriage, which has long been a key to stable and productive communities.

Most ironic is the notion that endorsing ideas counter to the prevailing hot air being blown by black civil rights leaders or questioning black allegiance to the Democratic Party makes one not just un-black, but downright anti-black.

The grand pooh bahs of race are rarely willing to argue the failure of their ideas. Nor are they very willing to argue the more broad philosophical questions. Instead they are content to launch ad hominen attacks or offer sardonic quips such as, "Exactly what is it that you black conservatives are seeking to conserve?"

A better question might be, "Toward what is the new liberalism progressing?" What I seek to preserve are those principles and values taught us by generations of black folk who demanded that America live up to the meaning of her creed. That's right. Far from longing for the good old days of Jim Crow and tap dancing, black conservatism means embracing the founding principles of self-reliance and the concept of individual rights and responsibilities. That's black pride, baby! Black conservatism affirms the ability of black fathers to lead and provide for their families. Black conservatism insists that black children are as creative, industrious and academically capable as any other children.

Black conservatism proclaims to the world that our American culture benefits when the creative energy of individuals is unleashed.

Contrast that with the progressive notion so prevalent among the current anointed elites that rights flow not from God but from government, and not to individuals but through group affiliation; that true black success is the result of government programs or sheer luck.

I suppose it is open for debate as to whether the black devotee of the new liberalism has truly forsaken principle in the name of racial identity. What is unmistakable, however, is that they are, in the words of Thomas Jefferson "the timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty."


U-N-I-T-Y Part 1
U-N-I-T-Y Part 2

Joseph C. Phillips: (Visit josephcphillips.com)
Phillips is an actor and writer living in Hollywood, California. He is perhaps best known as one of the stars of The Cosby Show. He was also a three-time NAACP award nominee for his role as attorney Justus Ward on the daytime drama General Hospital and was the mayor on The District. Mr. Phillips has had essays published in Essence magazine, USA today and the College Digest among others.


Copyright 2005 JCP Productions. All rights reserved.

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