Skinfolk or Kinfolk?

By Dr. Harold A. Black

In the recent kerfuffle over the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Byron Donalds (R-FL) was nominated as an alternative to Kevin McCarthy. Donalds is one of four black Republicans in the Congress – the others being Wesley Hunt (TX), John James (MI) and Burgess Owens (UT). His nomination was noted by some as being historic in that there were black nominees from both parties – Hakeem Jeffries (NY) was nominated by the Democrats. However, the usual suspects pooh-poohed Donalds’ nomination. Perhaps the most vicious was that from Cori Bush of Missouri who tweeted “FWIW, Byron Donalds is not a historic candidate for Speaker. He is a prop. Despite being Black, he supports a policy agenda intent on upholding and perpetuating white supremacy. His name being in the mix is not progress – it’s pathetic.” Of course, Bush sees white supremacy under every rock and in every white face – probably including white Democrats. She has previously accused white Republicans in Congress of white supremacy so it is not surprising that she would lash out at a black Republican and essentially accuse him of being an Uncle Tom. This is nothing new on the black left. Previously, other conservative blacks have been labelled “skinfolk but not kinfolk”. Donalds responded that Bush is invited to debate him on issues at any time but Bush should not disparage fellow blacks even if she disagreed with them. Donalds knows fully well that Bush does not have the capacity to debate him. Bush probably realizes it too. I have looked for other Democrats to criticize Bush but have yet to find any.

When I was much younger and naïve, I used to say that we blacks all wanted the same thing – increased economic wellbeing – but differed in how to get there. I realize now that I was mistaken. I and other black conservatives can formulate a strategy to lessen welfare dependency and dramatically increase the economic status of minorities (and poor whites). However, we know that liberals including black progressives would oppose such plans that would be pro self-determination, capitalistic and call for the blowing up of our public school apparatus. Instead, they have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. Such is the sad state of black Democrats who are unable to formulate a concrete message on advancing the economic wellbeing of their constituents. Show me their Marshall Plan. It does not exist. Rather, the black left, aided and abetted by the white left, has given us the 1619 Project, a fictional rewriting of history linking everything American to slavery. In response, Bob Woodson formed the 1776 Unites ( of which I am a member. Instead of blaming slavery for every ill of America, Woodson’s group is an advocate of capitalism as a tool of minority advancement. It advocates entrepreneurship, personal responsibility and strength through mutual support within minority communities. For those who are interested, I recommend visiting the 1776 Unites website and reading their first book of essays “Red, White and Black: Rescuing American History from Revisionists and Race Hustlers.” Full disclosure: I contributed an essay to this volume.

I am not optimistic that black progressives and black conservatives can come together to craft solutions to mutual problems. The black Democrats in Congress exclude black Republicans from the “Congressional” Black Caucus where theoretically both could work on important issues. I am reminded of the conflict between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois during the early 20th century. Washington advocated for blacks to strive for economic independence becoming productive members of society before pursuing civil rights. In so doing Washington became the head of what is now Tuskegee University and lead the establishment of black schools. Dubois, on the other hand, pushed for civil rights through political action and agitation as the only routes to equality. Washington was considered by followers of Dubois to be an Uncle Tom. Washington believed in America while Dubois became a Communist and expatriated to Ghana where he died on the day of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.