Saviors or Sellouts: The Promise and Peril of Black Conservatism, from Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice

By Christopher Alan Bracey | Go to book overview

EIGHT
The Public Face of Black Conservatism

Revealing the Philosophies of Clarence Thomas,
Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice

The conspicuous flourishing of black intellectual neoconservatism represents one important dimension of the resurgence of black conservative thought in American politics. The resurrection and repacking of traditional conservative precepts for modern-day application represents an important evolutionary step and has bestowed new legitimacy upon ideas that circulated within black communities for more than one hundred years. Whatever one might think about the virtues and merits of the black neoconservative position, it is clear that black conservatism is an important part of black politics today and will likely remain so for years to come.

But the arrival of black neoconservative intellectualism did not occur in isolation. In carving out intellectual space for extreme ideas within black conservative thought, black neoconservatism created a right-ofcenter void in American politics and culture that could be filled by more moderate black conservatives who, as operatives within the established corridors of government, could further legitimize the movement. Much like their intellectual counterparts, this cadre of new black conservative leaders lend credibility to conservative ideas and highlight their ongoing appeal to many blacks.

The rewarding of Fairmont Conference participants Clarence Thomas,

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