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Black conservatism in the United States is a political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the American conservative movement, including the Christian right. Black conservatism emphasizes social conservatism, traditionalism, patriotism, capitalism, and free markets. What characterizes a "black conservative" has changed over time, and the people listed below do not necessarily share the same political philosophy.
Influential Black conservatives in the early 21st century who held office include Senator Tim Scott, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Cabinet secretaries Ben Carson, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell. Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, Walter Williams and Candace Owens are among the most influential black conservative political commentators.
One of the main characteristics of black conservatism is its emphasis on personal choice and responsibilities above socioeconomic status and institutional racism. In the tradition of African American politics and intellectual life, black conservatives tend to side with Booker T. Washington as contrasted with W. E. B. Du Bois. For many black conservatives, the key mission is to bring repair and success to the black community by applying the following fundamental principles:
Black conservatives typically oppose affirmative action and tend to argue that efforts to obtain reparations for slavery are either misguided or counter-productive. Black conservatives tend to be self-critical of aspects of African-American culture that they believe have created poverty and dependency.
Black conservatives—especially black Republicans—are often accused[by whom?] of being Uncle Toms. Ebony in their May 2001 "100+ Most Influential Black Americans" issue, did not include a number of influential African Americans such as Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, Walter Williams and, most notably, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The Economist described the exclusion of Justice Thomas from the list as spiteful.
Black conservatives favor integration of African Americans into mainstream America and, consequently, disagree with black nationalism and separatism. Black conservatives are more inclined to support economic policies promoting free trade and tax cuts.
According to a 2004 study[by whom?], 14% of blacks identified as "Conservative" or "Extremely Conservative"with another 14% identifying as slightly conservative. However, the same study indicated that less than ten percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning. [dead link][original research?] Likewise, a 2007 Pew Research Center survey showed that 19% of blacks identified as Religious Right. In 2004, though, the Pew Research Center indicated only 7% of blacks identified as Republican.
A National Election Pool poll showed that support for California Proposition 8 (2008) (a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as an opposite-sex union) was strong among African-American voters; 70% of those interviewed in the exit poll—a higher percentage than any other racial group—stated that they voted in favor of Proposition 8. Polls by both the Associated Press and CNN mirrored this data, reporting support among black voters to be at 70% and 75%, respectively. African American support was considered crucial to the Proposition's passage because African Americans made up an unusually large percentage of voters in 2008; the presence of African American presidential candidate Barack Obama on the ballot was believed to have increased African American voter turnout.
From Reconstruction up until the New Deal, the black population tended to vote Republican. During that period, the Republican Party—particularly in the Southern United States—was seen as more racially liberal than the Democratic Party, primarily because of the role of the Southern wing of the Democratic Party as the party of racial segregation and the Republican Party's roots in the abolitionist movement (see Dixiecrats).
Blacks started to shift in significant numbers to the Democrats with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and continued with the election of John F. Kennedy. Among Truman Administration officials, the publication of Henry Lee Moon's Balance of Power spurred Democratic partisan support for African-American constituencies. This shift was also influenced by Herbert Hoover's practice of firing loyal African-Americans from positions within the Republican Party, in order to increase his appeal to Southern white voters. This can be considered an early example of a set of Republican Party methods that were later termed the Southern Strategy.[better source needed]
This is a timeline of significant events in African-American history that have shaped the conservative movement in the United States.
See also: List of African-American Republicans
Christian Right activists allied with black conservatives to make their causes appear more mainstream across racial and class lines. In this vein, the Family Research Council (the lobbying affiliate of Focus on the Family) recently named as vice-president Kay Cole James, a black anti-abortion activist.
herbert hoover fired black republicans.