It is already abundantly clear that, sadly, race will once again be an issue in the presidential election. From the administration’s war against voter ID laws to the Chicago Bears coach saying that he’s “got Obama’s back” because he is black, the Left is using the 2012 election to completely devoid the term “racism” of any real meaning.
It is therefore refreshing to talk to intelligent individuals like TheCollegeConservative’s own Atarah Golden. I had the opportunity recently to ask Atarah about her perspective on race, politics, and the coming election.
Reagan: Hey Atarah! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Golden: No problem. My pleasure.
I wanted to start out by asking you how you became passionate about politics. Is there any specific time or event that you can say really sparked your interest?
I actually didn’t begin to take an interest in politics until 2008, when then-Senator Obama was campaigning. I continuously heard commercials and him personally advertising what he wanted: socialism. This disturbed me; I thought, ‘Hey, that’s not right.’ My dad never really discussed politics with me. I think he didn’t so that I would make the choice for myself. When I became more involved in it, we began to have discussion after discussion. I guess that’s when you could say I really took an interest.
So politics wasn’t a big part of your upbringing?
Not at all! However, church was. I was brought up in the church since I had diapers.
That’s great! Do you think your faith plays a significant role in your political life?
Certainly. I am only a conservative because of my faith.
So when you were really starting to follow politics in ’08, were you immediately inclined to write about it and share your opinion? You have your own blog, right? Can you tell us about it?
No, I did not start writing about it right away. I was quick to give my opinion on Obama and his views, but I did not actually start writing until last year (professionally at least).
I do have my own blog! I met seven awesome women, who also happen to be black conservatives, and another friend of ours got us started with the website. We write about lots of different issues. Faith, politics, standards, etc. We’ve had so much support and I was so surprised to know there were so many other black conservatives. I think all we really needed was to be heard; it’s not that we aren’t “there,” we just need the platform, you know?
It would indeed seem that way. There are many who would be very surprised to hear that. The media makes it seem like black conservatives are really a rarity. Do you think there is a growing trend for conservatism in the black community?
I think the mainstream media thinks it a rarity because so many blacks vote for the Democrat Party, and it’s been this way for quite a while now. However, blacks who do vote for individuals who share their values shouldn’t be discredited. Also, I do think there is a growing trend for conservatism in the black community, but it’s not as big of a trend as it should be.
You indicated before that your political beliefs have brought out the worst of the Left. Can you tell us about the comments you’ve received?
I really hate referring to family members and former friends as “the Left” because when you think of the Left, many would think you’re referring to individuals you don’t know personally. But yes, I have been called many names: “Uncle Tom, bigot, black girl trapped in a white girl’s body, racist, white people’s pet, Nazi Republican,” and I’ve also been told that because I speak proper English I’m trying to be like white people. When I heard that, I thought, when did it become a crime to be both black and intelligent?
A valid question. So you’ve received this type of response from your family?
Sad to say, but yes.
That’s incredible. What is their argument against your beliefs? Do they have one?
The main argument is, “He’s the first black President.” When I tell them I grow tired of hearing that I should support a man because he is HALF black, they say, “Well, it’s all Bush’s fault; he’s just cleaning up his mess.” I’ve also gotten, “Democrats are for the poor.” All of these are obviously foolish answers, but that’s what I’ve gotten.
Hmm. How then would you say conservatives should approach minorities? What should their message be?
Well, this is where it gets tricky. I’ve heard many say, “Republicans need to take their message to minorities.” But why? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results. I often ask Democrats, “What has the Democrat Party done for you?” Usually they cannot answer and they serve me with a rebuttal, “What have Republicans done for you?!” I don’t need anything done for me; I have everything I need. This is America and I have the opportunity to become anything I want to be. My mother, who is an immigrant, always said, “Atarah, get a good education. You can be anything you want to be – a doctor, a lawyer, whatever. Just do it.” If you don’t believe in personal responsibility, then you do not believe in yourself. And just because you don’t believe in yourself doesn’t mean someone’s going to pick up your slack.
Great point. Interesting to learn that your mom is an immigrant. Can you share a little of her story?
She is from Liberia, a country in West Africa. Her dad, my grandfather, who is now deceased, sent her to this country because of the many opportunities the U.S. has. She is a great woman and has been an awesome mother to my siblings and I. She’s such a hard worker. She’s not interested in politics, but she has always stressed that we need to work hard in order to get where we’d like to be.
That’s refreshing to hear. Especially given the liberal mantra of “the American Dream is dead.” Your family would beg to differ?
I’ll probably never understand that. People have the idea that the world just owes them everything. My family would definitely beg to differ. My parents are both hard workers and do not — and have never — expected anything to be done for them. We certainly aren’t rich and my dad has stressed personal responsibility to us since as long as I can remember. I don’t have the luxury of having parents who can afford to buy me a car or put me in my own apartment (and I have no problem with the parents who can do that for their children), but it’s taught me to work even harder for what I want. I am not only grateful for what my parents have given me, I am also grateful for what they haven’t given to me. I appreciate it.
Indeed. It seems like personal responsibility is becoming more and more of a lost virtue.
Yes, and it’s sad. I mean, how can any parent teach their child to envy what another person has? “Don’t work for it, envy for it!” Nonsense.
And that is the message Obama will take to the American people this election cycle, no?
It’s definitely the message he’s taking to every American, and it’s sad because they’re buying it!
Would you say that’s indicative of the direction the country is headed? Are we headed down the wrong path?
Definitely. All anyone has to do is look at history (and it’s a shame it isn’t taught the way it should be). Socialism doesn’t work. Greece isn’t doing too well right now.
I want to go back to the president for a second. You said something in the Facebook group earlier about him being “confused.” Can you elaborate?
Oh, yes. He recently took the time out of his very “busy” schedule to appeal to the black community. You know, something like, “It’s Black History Month and we’re launching a campaign for ‘African-Americans for Obama.'” Um, where in the world does he get the notion that every African-American should support him simply because he’s 50 percent black? Yes, I’m black and he’s half black, but if his views do not align with mine, then I will not support him, and I will be very vocal about it. Everything he represents and stands for is in violation of my faith.
You don’t let race overrule your principles.
Absolutely not. I was not brought up that way. My parents never taught me to despise whites or support the Democrat Party because the black majority does. And although this is 2012, you’d be very surprised at how many blacks teach this to their children. I see it all the time and it breaks my heart.
So would you say that President Obama carried such an overwhelming number of the black community in ’08 primarily (if not only) because he is (half) black?
Yes, I would. I know a lot of blacks who never voted a day in their life until Barack Obama ran for president.
That’s disappointing. Do you think he is going to receive a similar level of support this go-round? Polls are showing that my not be the case.
I know what the polls are showing, and I know that there are some blacks who have said outright, “I’m not voting for him again; it was a mistake.” But there are still a lot of blacks who say they will vote for him again. And you’d think individuals like Allen West and Herman Cain would help blacks realize the error in their ways, but that isn’t the case at all. They, too, are called “Uncle Toms” and quickly dismissed. The media has done an excellent job distorting their image and what they represent. Many blacks have told me, “You’re on the wrong side; Republicans are only for rich and white people.” And they get this from NBC and CNN. Just the other day, Rep. Jim Moran told CNN host Martin Bashir that Allen West does not represent blacks because he opposes what President Obama represents. To us it’s absurd and disgusting, but people actually buy this, and it works.
And that is why it is all the more important that voices like yours are heard!
Yes, people are made to believe that you aren’t authentically black if you do not support the Democrat Party.
…or that you are somehow “self-hating.”
(jokingly) Do you hate yourself?
Haha. Actually, just the other day on The Last Civil Right Facebook page, a black woman told me that I “loathe myself” because Obama has set the bar so high that I now feel inadequate and that I have to aim higher. I was blown away. I mean, I was absolutely floored. (laughing) I’ve received a lot of insults, but I think that one tops it.
(laughing) Wow. And that brings me to another thing I wanted to ask you about. You mentioned the phrase “Uncle Tom” before… I’ve heard that used to describe black members of the Tea Party. I want to settle this one once and for all: is the Tea Party racist?
Definitely not. I’ve come into contact with so many blacks who are avid Tea Party members and supporters. So many people refer to the Tea Partiers as “Tea Baggers” so often that they haven’t a clue what they actually represent. All they want is for the government to spend less so that their children and future children won’t have this financial burden of debt, they want our government officials to adhere to the Constitution, they want traditional values encouraged – I mean, what’s racist about that? Accountability is racist? We must have different dictionaries or something. It’s absurd and I am ashamed that the Left would go so far as to call people who care about the direction our country is headed racists.
And this brings me to the last thing I want to ask you about. It seems to me that the Left is far more obsessed with race than the Right. We are constantly accused of being racist. The Left cries “racism!” every chance it gets. Doesn’t that diminish the significance of the word and make people less inclined to recognize and denounce true racism?
Yes, it does. This isn’t the 1940’s anymore; blacks, whites, hispanics, etc. have the opportunity to make something of themselves. Blacks and whites can drink from the same water fountains, go to the same schools, get an education and a good job. Of course there is still racism; I’ve been called a nigger by whites; when I was about 12, I was told by a friend’s mom that I couldn’t swim in her pool because I was black. There IS racism and there always will be, unfortunately, but not to the point where one is held back and can’t get ahead in life. Just because one doesn’t tolerate something, doesn’t make them hateful or racist. I often say the Left’s new motto is “If you’re living and breathing and aren’t liberal, you’re a racist.”
Of course. Thanks again for taking the time out to answer my questions! I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I’ve gotten so tired of the left perpetuating the idea that there’s no such thing as a black conservative.
No problem. I, too, think this is a very important issue and I’m glad that we had this interview.