Tuesday, February 24, 2009

“The Blueprint for Urban Conservatism?”

By Brandon Brice

In a recent article, “Can Hip Hop and the GOP Co-Exist”, I received numerous comments about the rise of HipHopRepublican.com and the word being that of an oxymoron. The social movement affiliated with hip hop culture is just the catalyst needed for a greater expansion, the blueprint of this new Urban Conservatism economic movement. The economic trends of Hip Hop culture, since it’s inception, has created more African-American entrepreneurs than any other industry in America, which speaks to one of the reason for adopting the name. For years I tried to figure out how the Democratic Party were monopolizing on urban and black communities, then the light bulb flashed that there success was attributed to marketing.

As with any business plan there must be a mission, thus the mission of the Urban Conservatism movement is to highlight real issues; healthcare affordability, fiscal responsibility, solutions to better inner city schools and job creation. Let’s think about the trends of economic activity in urban America. In 2007 Def Jam Chairman Russell Simmons created a credit based debt card for urban families to input funds on a card, without creating debt or overdraft fees, as a means to educate on financial literacy. In 2007, Atlanta rapper T.I. started T.I construction as a means to help recently released ex-convicts find employment. Def Jam South Rapper David Banner teaches low income residents in the south about the importance of saving and investing. Jay-Z, when he’s not on tour, gives more to Make A Wish, Brooklyn Public Schools and the Marcy projects than any other rap celebrity in the New York City area. So now that we’ve discovered that Hip Hop has not been the source of fault for urban America’s downfall; we can now consider the idea that neither the government and Wall Street had a hand in this decay..

In reality, urban conservatism speaks to all of the issue’s in everyday neighborhoods by putting a direct spin on how to counter education, by offering advanced literature of Mac Beth and The Canterbury Tales in neighborhoods schools that never have considered this broad array of topics. The Urban Conservatism movement influences ex-gang members to put down the guns and pick up a book, or a pen to learn how to start their own legal businesses. This movement takes experts out of the hospitals to speak on pro-active health in local community centers. The movement utilizes media contacts, not for personal gain, but to address the crisis of housing affordability, or the need for prison reform so that tax payers aren’t baring the burden via tax dollars. The movement recognizes that America is changing and it’s time for the Republican Party to adapt to new solutions.

Imagine if Hip Hop icons Jay-Z or Puff Daddy, gave concert tours on economic empowerment or how to start businesses, what influence could this create towards 10,000 young minorities under the age of 18.What makes this concept of Urban Conservatism unique is that it pushes minorities to become self sufficient and responsible. The blue print for urban conservatism is for the party to take on new problems in the 21st Century. The movement recognizes that Republicans can no longer run on set guidelines to win elections, but must solely run on the issues.

~Brandon Brice is a graduate of Howard University and is a former graduate of the New Jersey Eagleton Institute of Politics fellow at Rutgers University. As a long time member of Republicans for Black Empowerment, Brandon is an active contributor to HipHopRepublican.com. Brandon is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and attends the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Harlem.


Anonymous said...

I truly believe that if messaged correctly that a large portion of African Americans will come to see that the GOP is more in keeping with their own morals and beliefs. We must shed this "old rich white man" image and I think we have to figure out how we got that image in the first place!

Lets be clear Democrats want to keep a permanent underclass in this society and I have yet to figure out why that is BUT make no mistakes they are all about division with all groups of Americans....they are the racists they are always seeking to claim others are!

Steve-O said...

One word: gentrification.

Add up what an average person spend on taxes, transportation, food, clothing, tuition & utilities. Housing can be more expensive than all of those put together. Especially so if you're a young person living in an urban area. But neither party will speak to this issue. Even after the housing bubble burst, politicians are only talking about "getting house prices back up". No! Housing prices were artificially high & unaffordable. They needed to come down.

Democrats get a lot of credit for trying to tackle the issue. Unfortunately their mandates for "affordable" housing haven't solved anything. While affordable housing eases the pain for a select few, it only exacerbates the problem for everyone else. High prices are a result of scarcity. Take 5% of housing off the market by mandating artificially low prices. The other 95% of houses became more scarce & unaffordable. I’m not sure how to address the issue.

But what we choose to do is almost less important than how we choose to do it. The GOP base demands colorblind policies. It is a primarily white party, more so than the USA is a primarily white country. And the base has a point: sometimes it’s difficult to determine who exactly qualifies as white or black or whatever. So government should be very reluctant to apply any sort of racial test.

HBCUs have created a wonderful atmosphere that encourages black people to pursue higher education. Yet there is no racial test for admittance. White people can attend those schools. We don’t fix the problem of discrimination against black people by discriminating against white people. No more so than we would fix sickle-cell-anemia by refusing to treat white people suffering from the condition. All life is sacred regardless of their skin color. But that does not mean we need to be colorblind when evaluating the problem.

In America, we acknowledge the reality of race. They don’t in France. (This is a great point to bring up when talking to a base Republican, BTW) This is because we do not judge a man by the color of his skin. Yet we do not stand by idly when others judge men by the color of his skin. Again, no racial tests are needed.

As a staunch Republican who supported McCain, it pains me to admit that Obama is one of the few politicians who “gets it” on Affirmative Action. Americans want policies that help the poor kid scrapping his way out of the ghetto. But Obama admits that Sasha & Malia aren’t stuck in the ghetto.

Nothing about GOP ideology opposes policies that disproportionately improve the lives of young black people. That’s why charter schools are so popular with Republicans. Policies can even be specifically tailored to meet the needs of black people. But such policies must not exclude white people solely on the basis of race.

Anonymous said...

No such thing as a hip hop republican. How can you affiliate with a group of blatantly racist people such as Rush Limbaugh.