Southern Strategy Essay Research Paper The causes

Southern Strategy Essay, Research Paper

The causes and consequences of the "Southern Strategy" as it relates

to African-Americans and the American political system. Richard Nixon’s

"Southern Strategy" (or as the Nixon administration would call it

"positive polarization") of the 1960s was a political platform that

provided the final push in transforming the "the party of Lincoln"

into the political party greatly favored by the great grandsons of the old

Confederacy. This strategy was aimed at getting support from the traditionally

Democratic South by promising not to promote sweeping social or economic changes

in race relations. Nixon argued that he supported equality however, he was

against "big government". Meaning, he was not in favor of enforcing

the civil rights or integration laws. He was against forced busing and

affirmative action. Once Nixon was elected he eliminated the timeline

requirements for compliance with affirmative action and integration laws using

this strategy. Nixon assigned the task of promoting "positive

polarization" to his vice president Spiro Agnew. This promotion caused

great tension against blacks amongst whites (Spiro would send representatives

into white communities disguised as minority advocates to inform them of

government programs created to help minorities at the tax payer’s expense).

Nixon also promoted black capitalism in an effort to separate middle class

blacks from poor blacks. Nixon’s strategy fueled on racial jealousies was

successful. It helped the GOP win five of the past eight presidential elections.

It re-established the two-party system, which was once predominantly, the

Democratic South. In 1994 it helped the GOP end the 40-year democratic rule in

congress. Why the significance of the new Black Conservatism within the context

of the "Southern Strategy" combined with American politics becoming

more conservative in the post 1960s era. The growth in ethnic minorities in this

country threatens the very existence of the Republican Party, and the presence

of Black Conservatism is vital to its survival. The shadow of the "Southern

Strategy" and radical right association of David Duke, and Pat Buchanan has

most definitely reprieved the faces of most non-whites to the GOP. The

Republican Party got a glimpse of the political future last fall when a larger

than expected number of minority voter turnout helped the Democratic Party gain

five congressional seats, and unseated two Republican governors in the deep

south. Which brings us to why Black Conservatism is becoming more conservative

in the post 1960s era. There is not anything new about the political philosophy

of Black Conservatives. They merely repeat long-standing white conservative and

neoconservative arguments. However, what is new in Black conservatives’ analyses

is that it is Black people developing an implicitly racist rationale for placing

limits on social policies. The rational goes as follows: ? Although lingering

racism still exists, thanks to the victories of the civil rights struggles,

racial discrimination is no longer a critical obstacle to Black progress. We can

speak of a racist American past, but not of a racist contemporary America. ?

African American demands for equal opportunity made during the civil rights era

now go too far in demanding equal outcomes. A non-discriminatory America does

not ensure equal outcomes. Capitalism maximizes skill and talent and any

differences among ethnic groups, or between genders, is a function of each

group’s particular strengths and weaknesses. ? Today’s problems of race

relations and Black poverty cannot be remedied by government policy alone. The

roots of today’s problems are located first and foremost within African

Americans: in our inability to successfully compete in a free market system, in

the poor values and irresponsible and offensive behavior of poor Blacks, in our

psychological hang-ups about group identity and past victimization, and/or in

our failure to take full advantage of existing opportunities. In this light, not

only are government social welfare and legal remedies, such as affirmative

action programs, unnecessary, they are detrimental to the development of Black

people. Social welfare programs destroy Black families, foster debilitating

dependency, and reward irresponsible behavior. ? Affirmative action programs

lower Black self-esteem since whites will always diminish Black accomplishment

as reflecting only affirmative action imperatives and Black beneficiaries of

affirmative action programs can never be fully confident that their success

stems from their talent. These programs are also detrimental to Blacks because

of the white (male) resentment they engender. Affirmative action has, in any

case, only benefited more advantaged Blacks. ? The appropriate strategy for

African Americans is one focusing on self -help. First, we need to de-emphasize

racial identity and loyalty in favor of an American identity. Second, African

Americans should compete on the basis of merit only. Third, we need to

de-emphasize government programs and civil rights legislation in favor of racial

self-help. Blacks need to focus on Black entrepreneurship, building and

supporting Black business, particularly in poor Black neighborhoods. And, most

important, the Black middle class needs to teach poor African Americans

appropriate values and behavior. The Republican Party use to be known as

"the party of Lincoln". Now it is the party that wishes to irradiate

the very principles that Lincoln began. Black Conservatives build on a

philosophical foundation borrowed from Booker T. Washington, and incorporate

self-help bromides of Black cultural nationalist rhetoric. The new Black

Conservative can be viewed as the new racist culture. The origins of this

nucleus of politicians (Black Conservatives), and the extent to which they

advance or impede Black political life in America Today. Dr. Deborah Toler,

author of the article Black Conservatives states that, Black conservatives’ work

does not exhibit a sustained and systematic examination of conservative

political philosophy and its potential usefulness for Black Americans. Nor do

the Black conservatives, most of whom are trained social scientists, engage in

credible social science research. They ignore reams of data contradicting their

underlying assumptions and fail to produce reliable statistical evidence or to

generate ethnographic research to support their positions (Dr. Deborah Toler,

The Public Eye: Black Conservatives, September 1993). Black Conservatives are

hindering the progress of African-Americans today. An excellent example would be

the position of Nathan Glazer’s 1975 Book titled, Affirmative Action, Ethnic

Inequality and Public Policy, which summarized white neoconservatives’

objections to affirmative action: that, by the end of the 1960s, discrimination

was no longer a major obstacle to minorities’ access to employment, education

and other social mobility mechanisms; affirmative action has not benefited the

poor who need it most, but has primarily benefited middle class Blacks and other

minorities; and affirmative action fuels white resentment against minorities.

Conclusion The "Southern Strategy" effect is wearing off. The ideals’

of the old Confederacy is most definitely not the same ideals of the new

majority. The shadows of Nixon’s intolerance doctrine has damaged the image of

the Republican Party. Using Black Conservatives who have little to no connection

with the African-American community to capture some of the Black support away

form the Democratic Party is an extremist tactic to keep the party alive.

"Compassionate Conservatism" does not exist in this country, and the

Blacks that belong to the Republican Party are there as tokens.


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