Conservatives, Liberals, and Blacks

by | Aug 4, 2004 | POLITICS

During the first Reagan administration, I participated in a number of press conferences on either a book or article I’d written or as a panelist in a discussion of White House public policy. On occasion, when the question-and-answer session began, I’d tell the press, “You can treat me like a white person. Ask hard, penetrating […]

During the first Reagan administration, I participated in a number of press conferences on either a book or article I’d written or as a panelist in a discussion of White House public policy. On occasion, when the question-and-answer session began, I’d tell the press, “You can treat me like a white person. Ask hard, penetrating questions.” The remark often brought uncomfortable laughter, but I was dead serious. If there is one general characteristic of white liberals, it’s their condescending and demeaning attitude toward blacks.

According to a Washington Times story (July 14, 2004), Democratic hopeful Sen. John Kerry, in a speech about education to a predominantly black audience, said that there are more blacks in prison than in college.

“That’s unacceptable, but it’s not their fault,” he said. Do you think Kerry would also say that white inmates are faultless? Aside from Kerry being factually wrong about the black prison population vs. the black college population, his vision differs little from one that holds that blacks are a rudderless, victimized people who cannot control their destiny and whose best hope depends upon the benevolence of white people.

Have you watched some white politicians talking to black audiences? It’s bad enough to watch the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do an imitation of Flip Wilson’s Rev. Leroy. But to watch Al Gore and Bill Clinton do it is insulting at the least. They don’t talk to white audiences that way. As a matter of fact, Sharpton and Jackson don’t talk to white audiences that way, either — talking about going from the outhouse to the White House and from disgrace to amazing grace and other such nonsense. By the way, after addressing the NAACP’s 95th annual convention in Philadelphia, Kerry gave the audience the black power clenched-fist salute. I wonder whether his white audiences get the black power salute as well.

On July 23, President Bush gave a speech to the National Urban League. Unlike so many other white politicians speaking before predominantly black audiences, Bush didn’t bother to pander and supplicate. He spoke of educational accountability and school choice and condemned high taxes, increased regulation and predatory lawsuits. He defended the institution of marriage. He didn’t see blacks as victims in need of a paternalistic government to come to our rescue. He saw blacks needing what every American needs — an environment where there’s rule of law, limited government and equality before the law. The most important question President Bush left with the audience was whether blacks should give the Democratic Party a monopoly over their vote and take their votes for granted.

Sen. Kerry and others have criticized Bush for snubbing the NAACP convention. Here’s my question to you. If you were president, would you speak before a group whose president, Kweisi Mfume, said, “We have a president that’s prepared to take us back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and dominance,” or whose chairman, Julian Bond, said, “(President Bush) has appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and has chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection”?

It’s always been my contention that the conservative vision shows far greater respect for blacks than the liberal you-can’t-make-it-without-us vision. For decades, there have been buy-off-the-black-vote presidential appointments like secretaries of labor, health and human services, education and housing. But it’s been conservative presidents who have appointed blacks to top positions of responsibility and authority such as secretary of state, national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Republican presidents didn’t make these appointments to buy off the black vote. They chose the best people around, who just happened to be black Americans.

Maybe it’s guilt that motivates white liberals. That’s why I’ve graciously offered a Certificate of Amnesty and Pardon.


Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon
Granted to All Persons
of European Descent

Whereas, Europeans kept my forebears in bondage some three centuries toiling without pay,

Whereas, Europeans ignored the human rights pledges of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution,

Whereas, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments meant little more than empty words,

Therefore, Americans of European ancestry are guilty of great crimes against my ancestors and their progeny.

But, in the recognition Europeans themselves have been victims of various and sundry human rights violations to wit: the Norman Conquest, the Irish Potato Famine, Decline of the Hapsburg Dynasty, Napoleonic and Czarist adventurism, and gratuitous insults and speculations about the intelligence of Europeans of Polish descent,

I, Walter E. Williams, do declare full and general amnesty and pardon to all persons of European ancestry, for both their own grievances, and those of their forebears, against my people.

Therefore, from this day forward Americans of European ancestry can stand straight and proud knowing they are without guilt and thus obliged not to act like damn fools in their relationships with Americans of African ancestry.


Walter E. Williams, Gracious and Generous Grantor

Walter Williams (March 31, 1936 – December 1, 2020) was an American economist, commentator, academic, and columnist at Capitalism Magazine. He was the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a syndicated editorialist for Creator's Syndicate. He is author of Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?, and numerous other works.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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