Are black Americans patriotic?
It’s not a question that is commonly asked, but it is crucial. Recently, The Washington Post published a piece entitled “To many Americans, being patriotic means being white.” In the article, the author puts forth the argument that most people think of whites as being more patriotic than any other race.
Of course, the author cites racism as the reason why whites view themselves as more patriotic. But it doesn’t discuss whether or not minorities love their country as much as whites. The reality is that many blacks do love the United States, but their patriotism doesn’t look the same as that of white Americans.
Black Patriotism Sometimes Looks Different From White Patriotism
Every black American knows what happened to our ancestors. We are taught about the centuries of oppression we have endured. Because of this, we love America in a different way– but just as much as whites.
According to Merriam Webster, patriotism is defined as “love for or devotion to one’s country.” Sometimes, love — whether for a nation or a person — means telling hard truths. This is the role that blacks have played for the United States in the past.
Throughout history, blacks have served as America’s conscience — the voice that forced the nation to live up to the values upon which it was founded. The institution of slavery and Jim Crow were antithetical to the precepts laid out in the Constitution, and black Americans used their voices to bring the nation’s attention to this fact in an almost biblical fashion.
In the Old Testament, numerous stories taught about the relationship between the wayward kings of Israel who led their people into iniquity and the prophets God sent to set these monarchs straight. King David comes to mind. When David committed adultery and murder because of his lust for Bathsheba, God used Nathan the prophet to deliver a stern message that exposed King David’s transgressions. As a result, David suffered — but repented. In the same way, blacks have served as the Nathan to America’s David.
The abolitionists — both white and black — used their voices to expose the evils of slavery. The civil rights movement, led by people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called attention to the fact that Jim Crow laws were a blasphemy against our deepest-held values. Today, the majority of Americans stand against racism. There is still more work to be done, but black Americans are afforded greater opportunities for success in the United States than they would in any other nation.
Blacks Have Fought For The United States
One of the most profound ways a person can express their love of country is to show a willingness to lay down their lives for it. Throughout America’s history, a disproportionate number of blacks have served in our armed forces.
The fact that blacks were willing to serve in the military during the era of Jim Crow is a mind-blowing notion when you consider how they were treated. They were willing to risk their lives for a country that regularly mistreated them. These patriots served in a military that marginalized them.
According to the Pew Research Center, blacks made up 19% of active-duty men and women in 2015 while representing only 13% of the population. A significant number of blacks have fought for the United States — and they’re still doing so today.
Black Americans Are Patriotic, But It’s Complicated
So what does all this mean? It means that not all black Americans are patriotic, but the ones who are love America despite what it has done to us and because of what it has done for us. While the country participated in one of the most evil practices in existence, virtuous Americans stood against it — and were willing to sacrifice their lives to destroy it.
Today, it’s hard to tell how many black Americans would consider themselves patriotic as studies have not yet been done exploring this topic. However, it is likely that this number has dropped due to the inflamed racial tensions we are experiencing as a nation. The left has been diligent in their efforts to convince blacks — and other minorities — that they are perpetual victims of white supremacy. On college campuses, non-whites are bombarded by narratives that reinforce the idea that they can’t succeed in the United States because of their race.
In this climate, it isn’t hard to imagine that it would be difficult for blacks to see the United States as a country that is worthy of their love. If minorities are going to become more patriotic, they must recognize that the left’s message is a lie — and they must see that believing these falsehoods are only causing them harm. Instead of allowing the left to shape the conversation, conservatives should add their voices — to the discussion. It is needed now, more than ever.