So Virginia will have a black woman as a lieutenant governor. And if Winsome Sears were a Democrat, the Left would have been fine with it. But she isn’t Democrat, she is a Republican–and thus not a real black person in the eyes of progressives. And as a white man, that mindset always struck me as odd since I never thought it was my place or anyone else’s to determine what it means to be black. I always thought that was up to the person in question. Sears summed it up nicely: “I have had white liberals talk down to me — talk down to me, and as if I didn’t exist — simply because I’m a Republican.” And I can tell you, that has been going on for a long, long time.
Some of the young people I work with ask me if I remember the 1960s. I’m not that old, but I do have spotty memories of Armstrong walking on the moon, singing “We Shall Overcome” in church ,and making a snowman. Not exactly Abbie Hoffman, but hey, I was like three years old.
My parents viewed themselves as ’60s activists. Growing up, the sounds of Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez echoed throughout our house. My father took pride in telling the story of being beaten up during a civil rights march. They started a coffee house and bought bongo drums. No, really, bongo drumss. They actually took a stab at avant-garde poetry. They were Kerouac long after Kerouac wasn’t cool anymore. They intentionally moved into a neighborhood that was becoming integrated and stayed long after most of the neighbors succumbed to white flight and made tracks to the decidedly monochromatic suburbs to the north and the south. My father desperately wanted to show solidarity with the black community. He took a job as a social worker on the city’s predominately black west side. For a while, our home décor was made up of “African” artwork that looked more like it was assembled in China. And it probably was. My father wore a dashiki, and I am certain that, God bless him, the man would have grown an afro if he weren’t white. And bald. He was black and proud, even though he was a potbellied white guy in his 30s who looked like he should have been selling copy machines.
In my house, the ’60s spilled over well into the ’70s and came to a screeching halt in the ’80s. There were several reasons, but I think the final straw that launched my own parents to the suburbs came during my senior year in high school. I remember it because it was honestly the first serious fight I had with my parents and the only time my father and I came close to trading punches.
You see, that year, after what seemed like an interminable period of waiting, I finally got a girlfriend. I was not a popular guy in school and for me, this was a momentous occasion. As in Franklin Mint commemorative plate kind of moment. After years of waiting, I actually had a girlfriend. Incidentally, she was black.
Her skin color never was an issue for me. I wasn’t excited that I had a black girlfriend, I was excited that I had A Girlfriend. And it wasn’t an issue among our friends. But at home? Oh, did the tempers fly. My parents refused to allow the relationship to continue. These were the same parents who wanted everyone to know the sacrifices they made for civil rights. This was the same dad who wanted to be black to the degree that he could have given Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton a run for an affected accent. Why? Because all of a sudden, their son was treating a black person like well…a person. The comfortable distance between the would-be shepherds and the ersatz sheep was suddenly much smaller than it had ever been.
It was not long after that that my parents started plotting their escape to the ‘burbs. To be fair, it was a nice condo/townhouse. There was a pool which I got to use a few times.
So what does this have to do with Winsome Sears? Well as the cries of white supremacy went up Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, I was reminded of my parents. As well-intentioned as they may have been, my parents, like everyone on the Left, expected black people to behave in a pre-defined way. Grateful, and dutiful and slightly obedient and subservient. But the primary purpose of black people to the people in power on the Left was then (and is now) to validate the existing power structure. Sears changes that in a way that cannot be denied no matter who is doing the desperate screaming on the cable channels.
The sole end of the Left has always been power, and co-opting the black experience has always been a bulwark of the power and a way to legitimize that structure. As Sears said in reference to the gentrification of black neighborhoods: “I think we have to consider that most of these places that they’re talking about — gentrification — they’re run by Democrats. They are run by Democrats. And so here we go again.” She had harsh words for Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton: “We’re talking about — Republicans are supposedly racist, and Democrats are supposedly the ones who care more about you.” And she understands how deeply and how overtly that mentality runs when it comes to treating blacks like chattel: “’Listen to his vernacular, his language,’ she said, adopting a vocal caricature of a white man trying to affect a black accent. ‘Republicans gonna put y’all back in chains’…And then when Hillary was in a black church, what did she say? ’Ah don’t feel no ways taahred. I come too faaahr to turn back now.’”
The Left is threatened by Sears because she knows them all to well. She has seen beyond the façade of a former Virginia governor wearing blackface and Democrat presidential candidates affecting a stereotypical black patois in order to pander to what they hope will be a loyal base. In the end, the power brokers of the Left still demand that blacks play Stepin Fetchit, carrying their luggage and shining their shoes. And yes, some of the most vocal critics on the cable news channels Tuesday night were black. And one wonders if they have not realized how the game is played on the Left. They will eventually find out that the house always wins, and realize that no matter how many cameras they have trained on them in an Atlanta studio, they are still being regulated to being maids and shoe-shiners.
But Sears refuses to follow the herd. She refuses to allow someone else define her identity or, for that matter, define her. She understands that a free person is not hobbled by someone else’s ideas. She refuses to let the mainstream media or the self-majority dictate the terms of her existence. Would that we all understood that.
So congratulations to Lt. Governor Sears. She has lessons to teach us all. And here’s to Governor Sears someday, and maybe even President Sears.