The Independence Of Richard Wright

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Whenever a black conservative speaks out or even exists, white “progressive” America kicks in with charges that, if made by the Right, would be branded racist. Hence, conservatives like actress Stacy Dash are accused by the Left of having a “plantation” mentality motivated by a desire to be accepted by white America, or that they have forfeited their blackness, or all of the above. The Left exempts themselves from any racist sentiment in these accusations because their “hearts are in the right place.”

Perhaps the prototype for this kind of behavior tracks back to the thirties with African-American author Richard Wright and his experiences with white and black communists. An autodidact, Wright joined the Party in 1933 as a means to broaden his literary education and because he perceived a lack of racism among white comrades toward black members.

Regarding the latter, he would soon be disabused.

Wright early on exhibited politically inconvenient tendencies such as championing Black Nationalism and advocating a space free from political monitoring for writers to develop their talents individually. But this was at loggerheads with the current Party line. As dictated by the security needs of Moscow, the Party was told to avoid alienating white America. Thus, the Party refused to find Wright housing in New York because of his race.

When Wright refused to abandon Black Nationalism he experienced all the features he fled the South over. He witnessed a black comrade, who shared similar beliefs, forced by the Party to beg forgiveness for politically incorrect tendencies.

Wright, however, was made of sterner stuff and the white–and black–higher ups (there was only one black member in their ranks) earned him the most damning of charges from the Party circa 1937: Trotskyism, and bourgeoisie tendencies (despite Wright being the self-educated son of a slave).

These charges took on a violent note when black members threatened Wright at knife point and white marchers in a May Day period physically expelled him from participating; black marchers did nothing to stop this white violence.

Wright left the Party formally that day but didn’t make his decision public until 1944. He later summarized his feelings about his exit:: “I’d be for them; but they wouldn’t be for me.”

Wright’s treatment was not at variance with American Communist Party policy, which in effect was a reflection of their Soviet masters’. Once trumpeting the notion of creating a black nation in the South, the CPUSA did an about-face in 1935, when Stalin, concluding that the Nazi control of Germany was here to stay (previously he thought Hitler would self-destruct), needed to attract liberal support, Southern and otherwise, and hence abandoned such an alienating scheme. Thus, when Wright brought these now politically-incorrect views into the Party, a clash was inevitable.

But Moscow’s switch for foreign policy concerns only explains so much about Party racism. For there was no strategic reason, save economic, for the Soviets to be selling oil to Mussolini for his invasion of Ethiopia, a predominately black nation.

Wright was wised up by his experiences with the Left and denounced their behaviors for the rest of his life.

Today, the Democratic Party, by virtue of “caring,” and pointing to President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act (which also contained affirmative action policies), have managed to appear the only Party dedicated to preserving and extending African-American rights. By accusing those African-American citizens who stray from the Democratic Party as “Uncle Toms,” they exhibit the same racism they denounce conservatives for.

Ron Capshaw is a Senior Contributor to The Liberty Conservative from Midlothian, Va. His work has appeared in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator.