The freedom to think differently

Provocative film asks black Americans to consider conservative values

A young C.L. Bryant once showed up to work alongside his grandfather in what he recalls as Afro-centric fashion, complete with James Brown’s Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud blaring on the car radio.

His hardscrabble grandfather put a finger in Bryant’s face, saying he hadn’t endured the indignities of Jim Crow “so that you could be black. I did it so you could be free.

“Sonny, I went through everything that I went through so that you could speak your mind.”

Decades later, the Rev. C.L. Bryant has few visible problems doing just that. He’s an admittedly outspoken preacher, speaker and broadcaster. But in a speech here Jan. 21, he lamented the fact that he and other black conservatives are considered pariahs in the black community.

“You’re ostracized. You’re called names,” he told a group of black conservatives gathered at Paine College. “Many times you’re said not to be black enough. My friends, that is an evil among our people that must be remedied … if we are to enjoy the true fruits of American liberty.”

Meanwhile, the effects of the liberal policies supported by the black bloc’s near-unanimous vote are hardly inspiring. Nearly every social indicator shows black America is worse off than before.

“What have we gotten for nearly 50 years of loyalty” to liberal ideology, Bryant asked. “By and large, 95 percent of us vote monolithically; 95 percent of us vote for one party. Folks, I’m telling you, that is not intelligent! No other group of people in this country behave that way.”

It is, he said, “time, at least, to try something different.”

It was a welcome message for several dozen in a new group of black conservatives calling themselves CSRA Minority Engagement.

In fact, the group has organized a screening this Monday of Bryant’s provocative film Runaway Slave. The movie will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Augusta-Richmond County Library, 823 Telfair St. Admission is free and open to the public. Those in the minority community who are either conservative or open to learning more about conservative principles are especially encouraged to attend.

The documentary explores the liberating principles of conservative values, and how black Americans can shake off progressive dogma long enough to just consider such ideas.

As black conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted while dedicating the new courthouse here three years ago, “though the libraries and schools are no longer off-limits based on race, certain ideas available there are off-limits for those reasons.”

True emancipation will come only when people are free to think and speak as they like, and not be ostracized by their peers for being different politically – or be accused of abandoning one’s ethnicity for having the audacity to think differently.

As the Rev. Bryant noted in his appearance here, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans and others already have that freedom.

It’s time everyone did.

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