Nathan Sass

The Ugly Assault on the “Beautiful Man”

In James T. Harris, Politics on April 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

James T. Harris is a conservative radio talk show host.  He is also a professional speaker.  Before that, he was a teacher.

Mr. Harris is also a “Beautiful Man” and an “American of African descent”, as he likes to say.

That makes James T. Harris dangerous to a great many people, and right now the Trayvon Martin case in FL is demonstrating it.

What exactly is it that makes James T. Harris so scary to some people?  I think the answer lies in the typical motives for almost everything political – money and power.

Mr. Harris has been very vocal regarding the Trayvon Martin case.  He has not, however, joined the chorus of the African-American community at-large with their calls for “justice for Trayvon” and their conviction of George Zimmerman in the media.  Mr. Harris has become a sort of “anti-Al Sharpton”, focusing attention on the facts in the case, the police reports, witness statements, and refusing to blindly accept the image of Martin as an innocent victim of a racist “white hispanic” (whatever that is).

For this, Mr. Harris is now himself a target of some very powerful forces within the African-American community.  He is a living example of the gradually weakening grip of the “black leaders” on a segment of the population that gives those leaders power, money, and fame.

I dug through a few postings on Mr. Harris’s Facebook fan page and was able to easily find just a few examples of the types of assaults on him that have become routine for many conservative African-Americans:

“I do understand that you make your living by telling white rightytighties what they want to hear.”

“Like I commented on another post some blacks don’t like black skin.”

“During slavery the sell-out played a tragic role. He gave comfort and aid to the establishment by alerting Massa about attempted  insurrections and escapes. This was an unfortunate thing. During the 60’s the sell-out would say things like “I don’t know why yaw march’n?? Just pull yourself up by your own boot straps! Why yaw antagonizing the good white folks anyway?” This was also a sad display. Today the sell-out hears about the Treyvon (sic) Martin case and says things like “I’m not Treyvon (sic) Martin!” or Begins to ramble on about black on black crime as if to say in Archie Bunker like fashion “Black folks are killing each other any way”, or he post sad stories about white girls getting beat up at school to draw some weak comparison. I’m sure you have been called a sell-out a time or two, maybe it goes with the territory. Maybe it doesn’t bother you. But instead of calling you one I would like to appeal to the black intellectual man. There is still time! Stop this race bating (sic) for prestige that you are doing, call for your listeners to be a part of the solution. They can sign the petition calling for Zimmermans arrest. Then you can fall in-line with the great African American (sic) Conservatives, Think Fredrick (sic) Douglas, a great conservative and no one’s sell-out all at the same time. Some of them will even respect you for it.”

“You guys are as un-american as you hypocritical forefathers who founded this country.”

“Is James a sellout?….he will not call for Justice (sic) in this case because that’s not what butters his role (sic). At the end of the day this is a sell-out test of sorts and he is failing so far.”

“I know you have to play nice nice with the white folks however this is a tragic law [the “stand your ground” law – ed.] that has lead to justice being delayed in this case and others….You should get on the right side of something every once in a while instead of just falling in line homie.”

These attacks against Mr. Harris, calling him everything from a self hating black man to a “sell out”, are an indication that he is a very real threat to the orthodoxy of the elite in African-American community.  People like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have amassed great fame, power, and wealth by perpetuating the belief among the African-American community that America continues be the largely the nation it was in 1866.

The Jacksons and Sharptons of the world would cease to have a reason to exist in the manner they do today if African-Americans become as diverse in political opinion and thought as the rest of the nation.  The only way to perpetuate their personal empire is to squelch any voice of opposition in their own community as quickly as possible, lest anyone get the idea that it is ok to think differently than they have been told to by their “leaders”.

James T. Harris is not the first black conservative in history, nor is he necessarily even among the most prominent (yet), but that has not kept the keepers of the orthodoxy from seeing him as a threat.  While these “leaders” have focused more time and attention on people like Thomas Sowell, Michael Steele, and most especially Justice Clarence Thomas, even lower profile black conservatives like Mr. Harris, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and Pastor David King of Milwaukee are considered important targets.

The assaults against these men and women have ratcheted up in recent years, which raises an interesting question.  Why the increase in venom?

The simple explanation is that men like James T. Harris are starting to have a very real impact on the Jackson/Sharpton camp’s grip on power.  It may not be evident to those on the outside, but having spent a little time with men like Pastor King has opened my eyes to a startling trend.

Black conservatives are now operating in the inner cities and urban areas openly and without fear of the attacks and labels that once chased them away.  No longer are men like Pastor King afraid to proclaim their conservative beliefs from within their communities, and people are listening.

This, more than anything, is a real and direct threat to the powerful elite in the African-American community.  Fear used to keep dissenting voices out of the every day African-American experience, allowing the leaders to “control the narrative” as it is called in politics.

Men like Mr. Harris, Pastor King, and Sheriff Clarke are challenging that narrative, and therefore the control of the black leadership.  So they must be destroyed at all costs.

Anyone that challenges an orthodoxy is attacked without mercy.  Throughout history men and women like Martin Luther, Galileo, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. experienced the most vicious of attacks when they were closest to destroying the monopoly of thought of the orthodoxy.  By the time the orthodoxy is this threatened, the battle has already been lost to them.

While it cannot be fun for men like Mr. Harris, Pastor King and Sheriff Clarke to be under constant assault, I hope they understand that those attacks are a sign that they are winning the battle with the African-American establishment.

I for one could not be prouder of these men, and the thousands of others like them around the country.  Not because I share their politics, either.  They are fighting what may truly be the last great battle in the Civil Rights struggle – the fight to free the minds of African-American men and women from the control of a powerful establishment who only seeks personal wealth, power, and glory.

Some day I hope my children and grandchildren live in a world where there are no more “black leaders”, “hispanic leaders”, or “white leaders” – only leaders.  Leaders whose message is paramount and whose race is irrelevant.

When they do, it will be due to the courage and strength of men and women like Mr. Harris.  We owe them our support and gratitude.

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  1. It seems foolish, and it is poor pr strategy, to attack a man so harshly simply for having an open mind until all the facts come in.

  2. I recall a letter written by the popular evangelical preacher George Whitefield, to his great friend, Benjamin Franklin, when Franklin was under attack for a particular public stance he had taken. Hearing of the attacks from another state, Whitefield wrote to encourage Franklin that the rant he had heard against his friend “rather gave me this good opinion of you – that you continued to be useful to the public: for when I am on the road, and see boys in a field at a distance, pelting a tree, though I am too far off to know what tree it is, I conclude it has fruit on it.”

    Like Franklin, James T. Harris and other conservative African-American leaders like him are producing fruit — and being pelted because of it. This is neither a new nor unexpected reaction to a growing cadre of conservative African-American voices now questioning the tired old core of 60s-era Civil Rights voices who have masqueraded for far too long as African-American community “leaders.”

    Consider, too, the reaction of these former heroes and their worshippers to the likes of Bill Cosby and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter — no “uncle toms” — who boldly and openly decry the gangs, crime and family abandonment that have sadly become the norm among young black males enthralled with the self-aggrandizing talk of injustice, hopelessness, and righteous defiance fostered for the past five decades by these “legends.”

    One has to ask WHY such men as Harris, Clark, Soule, Thomas and Rev. King are finally speaking out against the decades-long “leadership” of the Jesse Jackson’s and Al Sharpton’s, etc. The reason is insanely simple: the old ideas simply DON’T WORK. They never have and they never will. The proof is evident in our black communities. Poverty is not the real problem; acceptance of poverty is. Failure is not the real problem; a legacy of failure is. A lack of job skills is not the real problem; a cocky refusal to pay the price, in time and convenience, for those job skills is. Government is not the real problem; depending on government to solve all of our problems is.

    It’s interesting to note the one critic’s comment that “You guys are as un-american as you [sic] hypocritical forefathers who founded this country.” I wonder if this philosopher has bothered to consider where he and his family would now be had these same “hypocritical forefathers” not created this unique nation with eternal hope, governed by a constitution with an unflinching vision, producing a culture with a promising future and nurturing a determined people empowered to eventually throw off the embarrassment of slavery (led, incidentally, be Christian conservatives).

    Isn’t 50 years of enslavement to foolish notions of entitlement and blame enough? Even the Old Testament Hebrews learned their lesson after only 40 years of wandering in the desert. Maybe it’s time for the community to listen to Mr. Harris, Rev. King and these new heroes of civil rights.

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