TheGrio Daily

Does conservative mean white?

Episode 107

“A lot of the things we think of as conservative aren’t really conservative; they’re just white.” The term conservative has come to mean certain things yet the policies they support don’t often back their ideologies. For instance, it makes no sense to say you support small government but then back pro-life policies that are ultimately the federal government telling a woman what to do. Michael Harriot shares several other examples of the hypocritical thinking and explains that conservative really just means “pro-white.”


[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] Hello. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast you know and love or maybe you don’t even know about it or maybe don’t even love us. But today we’re going to talk about some conservative ideas. Maybe that will make you love us more. In fact, what I want to talk about is like what really are conservative ideas. Because a lot of the stuff that we just put into the category of conservatism aren’t really conservative ideas. And that’s why I want to welcome you to theGrio Daily. The only podcast that asks the question, Does conservative just mean white? Yeah. So let’s get into it, right? Because a lot of times we’ll talk about stuff. And, you know, this started because of a a tweet I saw that said Frederick Douglass was a conservative. And I was like, how? And it was because Frederick Douglass had these ideas about working hard and about getting an education. And people ascribe that to the conservative ideology. But that’s not really a conservative thing. It’s not like, you know, progressives or liberals or Democrats be like, Nah, man, I don’t be caring about education, right? Like, I think like, we should just take government handouts and stop doing all this work. Nah. That’s not really a political ideology shared by either side. Right. So. How do these things become conservative? Why don’t we describe them to the conservative movement? Well. Partly because the conservative movement has always been anti-Black or pro-white, whichever way you want to look at. Right. So. When you talk about conservative, first of all, I wanted to say that, like we’re not talking about Democrats or Republicans because, you know, before FDR the Democratic Party was the Conservative Party. It was the White Party. So we’re not talking about arbitrary names assigned to arbitrary political parties or political positions. We’re talking about actual conservatism. Right. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:37] So it’s conservative to say you want small government. You think the federal government shouldn’t be involved in, you know, determining individual choice or that terminating what states should decide. But then if that is a conservative foundation, if that is a conservative premise, then why do conservatives support Pro-Life? Why are they anti-abortion? Right. Because what they are saying is that the government should be able to tell women what to do with their bodies. Anti-abortion positions aren’t really conservative. In fact, they’re very liberal. They are for big government. Same thing with like the idea of law and order and supporting police. Right. Like a real conservative would say, people should have the liberty to decide whatever they want to do as long as it doesn’t harm their fellow citizens. That is conservatism. Right? So conservatives really wouldn’t be pro-police. They would object to police trampling on individual rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of breathing. They would be a against blue lives matter, but because police disproportionately brutalize and kill Black people, conservatives tend to support police. And the same thing is true with a number of issues. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:37] Take education like. Like conservatives always say, like we should value education, but then they want to restrict what teachers can teach. Right. They demonize real Black history as critical race theory. Not because. They want teachers and local school boards to have control over curriculum. They want a national law against critical race theory because it might go against conservative principles, but it is also anti-Black, and that’s why they support it. So a lot of the things that we think of as conservative aren’t really conservative is still white, right? Like, now here’s a good one. Like the whole Christian evangelical movement. Well, you know, studies show like this one we’re going to put up on the screen right now, like it’s probably up as I’m saying this. Yeah. That that study shows that Black people are more likely to attend church than. Even Christian conservatives then Republicans than white people. Why is the evangelical movement or Christianity automatically given to the conservative side of the aisle? Because they use Christianity as a gateway to what they call Western civilization, to white nationalism. To all of these principles that are really just anti-Black. Right. Like, you know. Islamophobia. Right. This is a Christian country. Nah bruh. Right. A real conservative would say you should keep the government out of your religion or religion out of your government. That’s a Christian principle. That is a conservative principle. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:49] But not these Republicans, because they want to put Jesus in everything. They want the Bible to define what a man or a woman is. They think transgenderism and homosexuality is against their Bible. But those aren’t conservative principles. Those are discriminatory principles. Those are white principles. Has nothing to do with people who want to restrict the size of government, and it has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. Oh, there’s another one, right? So the government handouts, things where I like like conservatives are against government handouts. Except when it comes form is of course mobile war, except when it comes to the military. Right. Like they want, they’re not fiscally responsible when it comes to funding the military because they want a big federal military. Which, the original conservatives actually opposed. Right. Like the original conservatives actually argued against a federal military or a federal army because they wanted those rights to be retained by the states. And it was really about. You know, the fear of slave revolts. Like what if that big federal national army started letting Black people joined, join in and gave them guns? Will those Black people come and free the slaves? Nah. I mean, that’s literally the reason we have a Second Amendment. 

Michael Harriot [00:08:33] Which brings me to the Second Amendment. Why do conservatives always argue against state controls of guns? Common sense gun control, like we should already know that like the federal government isn’t going to come in, gets in separate thirds to take away your guns. But whenever a state tries to regulate guns, conservatives are against it. But I thought they wanted the rights to be retained by the states, Right. Like, that’s the whole argument about the Second Amendment. Except. It’s not a conservative principle. It’s a anti-Black principle because they’ll send those Black people shooting police into Black neighborhoods to get the guns from Black people because they’re not really anti-gun, they’re not really conservative. It’s just anti-Black. It’s white. And and that’s why we have to start thinking about these terms and ascribing these ideas to conservative movements. Conservatives don’t work harder than anybody else. They don’t value education more than anybody else. They’re not more Christian or more religious than anybody else. Their principles aren’t based on any hierarchy of morality or any outstanding sense of ethics. Those aren’t conservative principles. Now we want to talk about fiscal responsibility. Then a real conservative would say, Hey. If we’re Christians and we believe in ethics and morals and doing what’s right, we should give the Black people, the money that they worked for. Because that would be the Christian moral thing to do. But they ain’t gonna do no reparations because they ain’t real conservatives. 

Michael Harriot [00:10:49] If you are real conservative, you would say, Hey, we got to stop police from policing Black people this way because it intrudes on their rights. A real conservative would say that. But not these fake conservatives, because they ain’t are Black. They don’t have a political party. They don’t have a political ideology unless you count white supremacy as a religion. As a political party. As an ideology, and that’s what it is. When we say conservative, we really mean white. And that’s why that I keep watching this podcast. That’s why you’ve got to subscribe to it. That’s why you got to tell a friend and that’s why you got to download that Grio app. And that’s why we always leave you with a Black saying. And today’s Black saying is, “If it’s all white, it’s all right.” We’ll see you on the next episode of theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcast at the 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:20] I’m political scientist, author and professor Dr. Christina Greer, and I’m host of The Blackest Questions on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. This person invented ranch dressing around 1950. Who are they? 

Marc Lamont Hill [00:12:33] I have no idea. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:34] This all began as an exclusive Black history trivia party at my home in Harlem with family and friends. And they got so popular it seemed only right to share the fun with our Grio listeners. Each week we invite a familiar face on the podcast to play. What was the name of the person who was an enslaved chief cook for George Washington and later ran away to freedom? In 1868, this university was the first in the country to open a medical school that welcomed medical students of all races, genders and social classes. What university was it? 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:13:08] This is why I like doing stuff with you, because I leave educated. I was not taught this in Alabama Public Schools. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:14] Question three. Are you ready? 

Eboni K. Williams [00:13:17] Yes I want to redeem myself. 

Amanda Seales [00:13:17] How do we go from Kwanzaa to like these obscure. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:23] Diaspora, darling. 

Amanda Seales [00:13:24] This is like the New York Times crossword from a Monday to a Saturday. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:28] Right or wrong. All we care about is the journey and having some fun while we do it. I. 

Kalen Allen [00:13:33] ‘m excited and also a little nervous. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:35] Oh, listen. No need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves because Black history is American history. So we’re going to have some fun. Listen, some people get zero out of five. Some people get five out of five. It doesn’t matter. We’re just going to be on a little intellectual journey together. 

Eboni K. Williams [00:13:51] Latoya Cantrell. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:53] That’s right. Mayor Latoya Cantrell. 

Michael Twitty [00:13:55] Hercules Posey. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:57] Hmm. Born in 1754 and he was a member of the Mount Vernon slave community, widely admired for his culinary skills. 

Kalen Allen [00:14:04] I’m going to guess Afro Punk. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:07] Close. It’s Afro Nation. According to my research, and Samuel Wilson, a.k.a.Falcon. 

Jason Johnson [00:14:16] Wrong. Wrong. I am disputing this. 

Latosha Brown [00:14:20] I’m very, very bad, very 99.9999 sure that it is Representative John Lewis, who is also from the state of Alabama. And that let you know, Christina, we got some goodness coming out of Alabama. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:32] There’s something in the water in Alabama. And you are absolutely correct. 

Diallo Riddle [00:14:35] The harder they come. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:37] Close. 

Diallo Riddle [00:14:38] Oh, wait, The Harder They Fall?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:40] That’s right. I’m one of those people that that just changes one word. 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:14:45] I just don’t know nothing today. I’m going to pour myself.A little water while you tell me the answer. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:14:49] The answer is Seneca Village, which began in 1825 with the purchase of land by a trustee, the A.M.E. Zion Church. 

Roy Wood, Jr [00:14:56] You know what games like this make me nervous? I don’t know if I know enough Black. Do I know enough? How Black am I? Oh, my Lord. We going to find out in public. 

Dr. Christina Greer [00:15:04] So give us a follow. Subscribe and join us on the Blackest Questions.