Urban Conservative vs. Nelvin Ziplock
by: Vanessa Jean Louis on Thursday, November 18, 2010
Disclaimer: The following satire is not an indictment on "conservatism", but rather, my attempt to bring to light the anti-intellectual banter of an individual who has made it his mission to"police" self-identified 'urban conservatives'. I couldn't let this unprovoked assault, and mis-characterization go without a response. Urban conservatives are just conservatives with an inner city focus. We welcome constructive criticism and dissent, but most of all we welcome people who are willing to roll up their sleeves so we can break the liberal monopoly that's plagued inner cities for the last several decades.
Urban Conservative vs. Officer Nelvin Ziplock
As I was driving home from a violence prevention townhall, I noticed Officer Ziplock following me. "Dang it, again?" I thought to myself.
Officer Ziplock came to my house a few months ago and asked me to drop the term "urban" because it was synonymous with "black". He informed me now that I live on the Conservative side of town, I don't need to self identify as "urban" or talk about race under any circumstances whatsoever. I showed him a Wikipedia article that defined "urban" as being "of or related to the city" - to no avail. (Read that encounter here: http://blog.afroconservative.com/2010/07/01/my-encounter-with-the-conservative-police.aspx)
Officer Ziplock warned me he'd be keeping his eyes on me and I noticed he had been following me around town the last few months. He even emailed me on facebook, but I never responded. I remember an incident in the supermarket where I noticed some eyes staring back at me through the cracks in the aisle right by the Apple Jack's boxes. It kind of creeped me out, but I figured, since he was the self-identified "conservative police", he was just doing his job. I always wondered how a public sector employee was busy stalking me and my urban conservative brethren instead of fighting crime and spreading the 'conservative' message to areas with very few conservatives.
As he started blinding me with his lights, through the loudspeakers he said, "PULL OVER IMMEDIATELY."
I was used to being profiled on both sides of town, so I complied. He knocked on my window, "Put your hands where I can see them. I don't trust you Urban Conservative Elitists one bit!" Frustrated because I was so tired from a long day I asked, "What is your problem with us anyways? I mean, seriously bro, what's your deal?"
"First of all, I told you about calling me that "brother" thing. I ain't, I mean, I'm not your brother! Secondly, the 4 or 5 of you who have been going around this side of town calling yourselves 'urban' conservatives REALLY bug me," he said.
"So, can I ask you something," I said, "If White people called themselves 'urban' conservatives, would that legitimize the movement for you?"
"Possibly. I usually wait for White Conservatives to tell me what to think," he responded.
I said, "I hate to break it to you, but there are self-identified white and Hispanic 'urban' conservatives. It's not a 'black thing'. Look man, you waiting for white conservatives to tell you what to think is cool and everything, but I would encourage you to read policy papers from the Manhattan, Hudson Institute, and the Heritage foundation that advocate directly for much of what the urban conservative platform entails."
"Are you talking about that 'silver rights' garbage? They didn't teach me that at 'Freedom is Free' University where I received my degree," he snapped.
Annoyed, I responded, "First of all, silver rights is not garbage. That's something that wasn't even originated by urban conservatives. We adopted it into our platform and message. John Hope Bryant, an independent activist, who received an award from George W. Bush came up with that concept. It's about personal fiscal conservatism and using entrepreneurship, not government, as a means to poverty reduction. I'm kind of saddened that you're scoffing at such a powerful message."
"Oh, I don't like it. You guys aren't just like me and I don't like it! I only feel comfortable when people repeat textbook talking points like 'limited government' , 'family values', and 'foreign policy,'" he said.
I responded, "Look Officer Ziplock, there isn't even a consensus within the conservative movement for all those 'conservative tenets' you just named! Libertarians disagree with Social Conservatives when it comes to what constitutes 'family values', and Paleo-conservatives disagree with Neo-conservatives when it comes to foreign policy. Didn't they teach you that at 'Freedom is Free' University?"
'No. I live in the real world and when I went to school, they taught me that the whole 'race' thing never existed, doesn't currently exist, and won't ever exist. Period. By the way, you're under arrest for disagreeing with me. Turn around."
He handcuffed me and took me to the precinct. I waited outside the office of the precinct captain. I heard the captain screaming so I began listening intently.
"What is wrong with you Officer Ziplock! Why do you think we've given you a flashlight instead of a gun! It's because of frivolous arrests like this! How can you be so pompous, and elitist to think that YOU SIR represent the intellectual diversity within conservative movement! Some of us understand a need for self-indentified 'Urban Conservatives' who are working tirelessly to get the hostages out of the liberal side of town! What about that don't you understand? Get a life and let her go. If I find out that you're profiling them again, you're going to regret it!"
Officer Ziplock came outside and said, "Um, you can go home now. I'm sorry for the trouble."
I said, "Look, bro, wait-sorry, look man, I'm not angry with you. I think you've been confusing race-consciousness with 'urban conservatism'. Urban conservatism, like conservatism, is about policy and the individual-not color-we just have an inner city focus. We believe in state's rights and local centralized planning as opposed to calling on out of touch bureaucrats to help with the social maladies in some communities-- just like you! The difference between us and you is that we don't believe in the whole one-size-fits-all policy approach. Look, we're all in this together. It's cool to criticize liberals in regards to their policy failures, and the same talking points that you say all the time sound cool too, but conservatives need to step their game up and present viable, solution-oriented policy alternatives. By the way, remember when you told my Nigerian brother to go back to Africa? Well, I thought that was really ignorant of you."
Officer Ziplock said, "The problem I have with 'urban conservatism' is it reminds me too much of that black thing I try my hardest to run away from."
"What black thing? There is nothing in the policy platform that even mentions black people. What is wrong with you?"
He leaned over and whispered, "You know, that thing...."
"What thing are you taking about???" I said.
Officer Ziplock started to do what looked like a sorry attempt at the Soulja boy 'superman' dance and after that he immediately started doing the electric slide. "That black thing," he said.
"So you think the urban conservative platform is like the electric slide? Oh! Silly boy, that's not a 'black' thing!"
He gave me a blank stare.
"Look man, I know you've been going through it. I don't have any hard feelings-but why don't you go to therapy or something?"
His face lit up...he said, "Really? You think therapy would help?"
I said, "Yeah man. I understand that things are a little stressful for you right now because you feel like you don't have a voice...."
He responded, "All right man, I'll go to therapy as long as it's not an 'urban' therapist."
To be continued...
Urban America doesn't need ideologues, urban America needs solution-oriented conservatism. Solution-oriented conservatism comes through public policy advocates and those who are invested in changing the paternalistic monopoly that's been a part of those communities for several decades. Conservatives of all colors and ethnicities need to put our heads together to save the inner cities in America. If constituents in the inner city can globally compete through education and economic expansion, America wins. Conservatism is clearly the answer. The time for textbook talking points that do nothing to address the real issues is over.
Vanessa Jean-Louis, better known as the "Afroconservative" has been working in the inner city as a School Counselor for several years. She is president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of NJ and is an unabashed advocate for entrepreneurship, fiscal conservatism, enterprise zones, educational choice, free trade, Civil Rights for the unborn, and policies that help lift people out of poverty as opposed to perpetuating pernicious cycles of government dependence. Vanessa has a Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling and an Undergraduate degree in Psychology. She is currently working on a second Master's degree in Political Science.
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