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Walter Hudson

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March 7, 2013 - 7:00 am
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Republican.

My conservatism caught me by surprise.

While raised in the peculiar isolation of Jehovah’s Witnesses by a white mother and a black father, politics was as elusive as birthday celebrations and gifts on Christmas morning (prohibited by JW theology). In elementary school, as other children would cover their hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I stood silent with my hands at my side. Participation in the political system of men was a betrayal of the kingdom of God, or so I had been taught. I therefore had little frame of reference for, or interest in, the political discourse.

I thus came into middle school ripe for indoctrination. My first impression of the major political parties was imprinted by a social studies teacher who explained as a matter of fact that Republicans were the party of the rich and powerful while Democrats were the party of the little guy. That settled it. Lacking in wealth and power as I was, if I was ever to be political, I was clearly to be a Democrat. Thus guided, I dutifully cast my ballot in the mock election of 1992 for the well-coifed champion of we little people – Bill Clinton.

In the years that followed, something happened which my teachers did not intend. I enrolled in my state’s postsecondary enrollment options program, and came to spend half the day at a local community college. My schedule was such that I drove between my high school and the college right when a certain talk radio personality took to the air. In a way, listening to Rush Limbaugh proved a form of youthful rebellion. My curiosity was aroused by leftist characterizations of the man as a bigoted hate-monger. Surely, listening to the rantings of a modern-day Klansman would prove entertaining.

You can fill in the rest of the story. What Limbaugh had to say on those daily drives to college proved more enlightening than what I was offered in class. I was not converted so much as matched with the ideology I implicitly held.

As I came of age politically, the reality of being a black conservative was no more isolating than being a Jehovah’s Witness. I had grown used to being a minority within a minority, the odd guy out, and having to routinely explain myself to others. While I eventually dropped the religion, I maintained its contentment with abnormality. As a result, I did not endure quite the same trials which many other black conservatives do when they reveal their values to a community enthralled by liberation theology.

Nevertheless, life as a black conservative has granted me insight into the plight facing those who stand up for what they believe in. Here are 5 tips for coming out as a black conservative.

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Top Rated Comments   
Walter, THANK YOU for writing this piece. First of all, let me start out by kindling with your transition. I was raised Jehovah's Witness myself but stopped going when I was twelve. I won't go into anymore other than that.

I've already stated that my conservative transition started when I began to question some of liberalism's tenets. For example when I basically said a hateful thing to a white person (sins of the father for white folks) I knew right there that I was in the wrong and not him. Once I began to question that I began to question everything else about liberalism. Over time I just decided it was not right for me and began to look into conservativism.

What a refreshing change! I found a set of principles that were more in line with my own. All five of those points you listed are very key but the most important is the last one. It's not so much about self-esteem that is important but self-respect. This is why I post under my actual name and not under a pseudonym: I have come to embrace my conservative views and I want those in the background to know that it is a real person that is putting out these views (no offense to those who like to use pseudonyms). I want others to become comfortable with their own conservatism and question against things that have been told to them since they were young.

I've been ridiculed more times than I can count. And Black liberals do not like the fact that a Black conservative is willing to challenge their owned warped views. It'd be nice that it was you, not Ta-Nahisi Coates, that got the opportunity to write for the NYT. Keep up the good work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I will never make the claim that someone's race invalidates their opinion. I've been known to express an opinion or two related to womanhood, and that's okay.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This may reveal my utter stupidity, but the journey you describe seems to be the one we all must take if we are to seek truth in our lives. It’s not a black/white thing, but a human thing. I am blind to the added element of exclusion from the group.

Your writing about what could be a difficult subject is clear, concise and unemotional.

More please.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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Walter,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You give me hope that there may be a different outcome to our country's story than the slow march to socialism that I fear.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"My first impression of the major political parties was imprinted by a social studies teacher who explained as a matter of fact that Republicans were the party of the rich and powerful while Democrats were the party of the little guy. "

My son was taught that by TWO teachers just this year. He goes to a school of mostly Asian immigrants (Indian and Chinese). One of the students asked the teacher what the difference between Republicans and Democrats is. The teacher replied that Democrats want to help the poor and are for world peace, Republicans just want to make the rich people richer and start wars. This was repeated in another classroom, too. (Language Arts and Social Studies). The new voters in the 2016 election are 12 years old today. This stuff makes a difference. We have teachers actively engaged in political indoctrination.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Black conservatives are the bravest and most intelligent people around! What Walter says applies to everyone: it takes integrity and strength of character to choose to live in Truth. Eventually, however, the Truth sets us free.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Moral authority, not popularity, is what will empower you.

The key is simple, do the right thing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You write with such clarity and your very nuanced description of your experience rings with new insight into the nature of authority and its misuses. How ridicule works as it functions to redirect the cognitive dissonance of its executor is priceless and makes clear the process of projection. Thanks for this; your personal take has universal application.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I have done before, I strongly recommend Shelby Steele's marvelous book, "White Guilt." In it, he states clearly that those blacks who refused to embrace the white guilt philosophy were ostracised at the time. They still are. I am old enough to remember when many of the parents of my black classmates were Republican.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Congrats on leaving 2 cults!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr Hudson,

AWESOME piece. Thank you.

Admittedly I'd gotten choked up when reading the portion of your speaking engagement at the college campus and the 1 brave man '..was my audience that day'.

Like you'd said, he indeed can be consider a 'radical'.

A very poignant, much needed discussion.

~ Cheers
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What a great and clear text! Thank you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Walter,
thanks for this piece. I read the Shelby Steele piece. Both excellent articles. It's sad that the politics of race keeps minorities from being truly free. You can never be free until you are willing to stand alone and take total responsibility for yourself. I'm white. I'll never completely understand the monolithic nature of the black voting bloc. But it sickens me to see generations of children who are taught to be dependent on handouts rather than that they can achieve and be builders and leaders.

"Up to a point a man's life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him; then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, 'this I am today, THAT I shall be tomorrow.' The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds."
Louis L'amour, The Walking Drum

Walter, sometimes it's lonely to be a man. But a man is exactly what you are. I'd walk into a firefight with you any day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your comment reminds me of Iron Maiden's, 'Runnin' Free' song.

Perhaps all the more so with Iron Maiden's original drummer, Clive Burr passing away yesterday from his bout with MS.

~ Cheers

\m/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I didn't start getting into rock until after Afghanistan, so I had to look that one up. I'm definitely adding Iron Maiden to the "must buy" list. You're right about that song. It made me think of a couple other good L'amour quotes:

A man shares his days with hunger, thirst, and cold, with the good times and the bad, and the first part of being a man is to understand that.

To disbelieve is easy; to scoff is simple; to have faith is harder.

My future is one I must make myself.

There is no miraculous change that takes place in a boy that makes him a man. He becomes a man by being a man.

We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of further inertia and the irksomeness of action.

A man who says he has never been scared is either lying or else he's never been any place or done anything.

Being scared can keep a man from getting killed, and often makes a better fighter of him.

It is better to have no emotion when it is work. Do what needs to be done, and do it coolly.

Victory is won not in miles, but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more.

He never knew when he was whipped ... so he never was.

Any man can shoot a gun, and with practice he can draw fast and shoot accurately, but that makes no difference. What counts is how you stand up when somebody is shooting back at you.

I read a lot of his stuff when I was growing up, it kind of stuck with me. Since Afghanistan I've gotten back into it. From any other writer a lot of this stuff would seem trite, but he grew up around fronteirsmen and worked as a cattle skinner, hay baler, miner, miller, prizefighter, drifter, soldier, tanker, trucker, commander, and merchant mariner. He knew people and he knew life. So these quotes stick; they came from a man who had been around.

Anyway, like I said, being a man is lonely. But I couldn't stomach begging for table scraps from the government to feed my family.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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