WATCH: On Being Black and Republican In the Age of Obama

4798As residual excitement from the second inauguration of President Barack Obama continues to flow through Black America, or rather the 95 percent who voted for him in the 2012 election, there are a growing number of Black conservatives quietly strategizing on the most effective methods to broaden a political conversation that hasn't included the Republican Party since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

Republican Party Strategist Stephen N. Lackey
In 2013, sharp remnants of a malignant plantation culture - one defined by a rigid racial caste system -- still remain, but it is more subversive. Violence is embedded in public policy that places more value on gun ownership than universal healthcare. The great educational divide is perpetuated by tattered textbooks and dilapidated schools. And we need look no further than the Prison Industrial Complex to see modern-day plantations -- and our judicial system to see the auction blocks.

Though Democrats continue to vilify Republicans for their allegiance to a system forged in White supremacy that leaves many Black and Brown citizens living The American Nightmare, there is a new breed of conservative that is both empathetic to entrenched cultural biases and wary of political motivation. For these Republicans, the liberal contention that government is needed to balance the scales of injustice and inequality is a myth. They passionately believe that self-reliance and community empowerment have always, and will continue to be the keys to success in this country.

And these Republicans are Black.

On issues such as religion, sexuality, gender and race, the African-American community at-large has proven to be conservative. Adhering primarily to the Christian faith as it pertains to homosexuality, marriage and abortion, many African-Americans are lock-step with a party who would deny LGBT couples the right to marry and women control over their reproductive choices. Still, if conventional wisdom is to be believed, people vote through their pockets. And the glaring absence of fiscal equity in Republican politics leads some Black, Christian Americans on a divergent -- if somewhat uncertain -- liberal path.

Black voters who identify as Republican are often referred to as sell-outs, tokens, Sambos and the mis-appropriated Uncle Tom for their belief in small government that favors the wealthy; yet with Black unemployment and incarceration rates sky-high, health and educational disparities, and the ever-looming police brutality continuing to go unaddressed, the narrative has shifted and become more nuanced, with these Black Republicans asking, "What have Democrats done for you lately?"

The shift in political winds may be subtle, but it is undeniable.  General Colin Powell (above left) is speaking out against racism within the GOP; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (above right) and former Republican National Committee Chair Micheal Steele have landed highly visible pundit roles on CBS AND MSNBC respectively; and the election of Senator Tim Scott, the first African-American congressman from the state of of South Carolina -- a state that still flew the Confederate flag and allowed employees the option of observing MLK Day or a Confederate-related holiday until 2000, has proven to be a catalyst for the emergence of young, African-American Republicans around the nation.

So just where does that leave the nation's socio-political equilibrium during the second-term of our first African-American president?

Source: | Kirsten West Savali

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