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Part One A Question of Perception The words were wholly ironic We must pursue a strategy that prohibits one party from taking us for granted and another party from writing us off Jesse Jackson when addressing the Republican National Committee in 1978 said this about the black vote in America but has consistently proven himself to be the main violator of their spirit in the modern era To him they were mere words To others though the singular truth they express still stands -- and has even begun to take shape 1996 marks the end of the beginning of the rise of a conservative movement within the black community A few years ago such a phrase would have drawn nothing but chuckles but now the movement is visible enough to be noticed by the politicos and media outlets that are paying attention to such things In a few years black conservatism will be a force to be dealt with by both parties More and more individuals are stepping forward more and more organizations are being formed more and more voices are being heard from blacks whose positions on issues match more closely with Ronald Reagan than Jesse Jackson At the time these choices are to go against the grain -- these people are saying things not in tune with many leaders in their community And they say them not to stand out but to lead Not to move against but to move ahead Indeed when former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Colin Powell finally announced he would not enter the political race in 1996 he took the opportunity of the limelight to announce that he was that day registering as a Republican In his stances he was an exception that proved a new rule Powell after all is moderate where many studies show the majority of blacks to be quite conservative Powell said he was
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