By Darvio Morrow
As I sit and write this article while listening to the 2Pac song, “Never Had a Friend Like Me” in an Ecko sweatshirt and baggy black jeans, I feel a little different about the Republican Party. I’ve been a conservative for pretty much all of my life, but I never quite felt like the brass of the party was accepting to people like me. It has always seemed like some of us were a little too “urban” for many of their tastes. But in a strange way, it doesn’t feel like that anymore.
I feel that we urban conservative “Hip-Hop Republicans” finally have a place at the grown-ups table. It doesn’t seem like this is the same party that it was before the election of Lt. Governor Michael Steele to the Chairmanship of the RNC. Many people who are young rap-loving conservatives have been made to feel like they do not belong in the GOP by not only our numerous Democrat peers but also by some even in our own party. Many Urban Conservatives were seen as “too moderate” because many of them don’t tow the line on every single issue. Urban Conservatives have fought with many in their state and county GOP chapters, demanding that they pay more attention to their community, to no avail. But now, all of that appears to be on its way to the graveyard.
Michael Steele’s election was a victory on many grounds. First, it was a historic moment for the GOP. With the combination of Steele, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Congressman Joseph Cao and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the image of the GOP as a “white men only” country club is beginning to die a slow death. Regardless of how “post-racial” many of us conservatives attempt to be, no one can deny that having an African-American in charge of the RNC is a tremendous accomplishment and it does wonders for creating good will in the minority community. Plus, anyone that can make David Duke angry is a winner in my book.
More important than the boost to the GOP’s racial imaging is the philosophy of the man himself. Michael Steele is a conservative but it would be fair to say that he is more moderate leaning than many of our former leaders. He is conservative enough to keep most hard-liners happy but is moderate enough to lure the Northeast back to the GOP. Chairman Steele can make the GOP a “big tent” again.
But above all else, Michael Steele’s background, experiences and political positions on certain issues make him a clear Urban Conservative. Michael Steele’s example exemplifies the fact that being authentically “black” and unwaveringly conservative are not mutually exclusive. Chairman Steele is a great example of how to be a conservative and simultaneously maintain your street credibility. For many years the prototype of an African-American Republican was the character of Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a corny, out of touch, money-loving conservative with “no hood in him”. Now the Black Conservative prototype is Chairman Steele. He is intelligent, articulate and if you doubt his “blackness”, I dare you to test him and you’ll see how “black” he is.
Chairman Steele’s victory was not only a victory for the GOP, but it was a victory for people like me. As Chairman Steele forms his transition team and signifies drastic changes that are in store for the Republican Party, I finally feel like I belong here. Today is a new day and now I won’t feel so strange writing conservative articles in urban clothes while listening to Hip-Hop music.
~Darvio Morrow is a student at the University of Phoenix and the founder/President of First Class Broadcasting. He has written articles for Associated Content, Back Talk Magazine and SexyWithin.com