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Wednesday, April 2, 2008 01:39 am

Black and “right”

But will a new African-American conservative mag be read all over?

Untitled Document Political conservatism and the African-American experience could be lumped into the same category as oil and water, toothpaste and orange juice, and jumbo-sized tubs of buttery popcorn and diet cola — things that either do not mix or just don’t seem to belong together. But Dr. Eric Wallace doesn’t see it that way. Wallace, a Republican candidate for Illinois Senate in 2006 and the current chairman of the African-American Republican Council of Illinois, has launched Freedom’s Journal Magazine, an online publication for black conservative viewpoints (www.freedomsjournalmagazine.com). “It’s a conservative magazine with an African-American flavor, if you will. It’s like taking ice cream and having a chocolate topping on it. We put the chocolate topping on it,” Wallace says. The son of a Republican pastor father and a mother who served in Jimmy Carter’s cabinet, Wallace says that African-Americans possess “natural conservative” leanings but ignore those instincts when it comes to political behavior. “Most black Bible-believing churches do not believe in abortion. They don’t believe in the gay lifestyle. They might have gay members and they’re not anti-gay; they’re just not trying to promote the gay lifestyle,” says Wallace, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies. Conservative principles such as individual rights, small government, and traditional family values appeal to a considerable — and growing — segment of blacks, Wallace says. “Even Louis Farrakhan tells [Nation of Islam] members not to depend on the federal government, that they need to circulate the black dollar in the community. It’s like self-help, some of the same messages that conservatives say,” Wallace says. Wallace may face difficulties attracting readers. Blacks are just a fraction of the Republican electorate. In 2006, which analysts billed “the year of the black Republican” because of the number of African-American Republicans vying for high-profile offices, blacks accounted for 14 percent of GOP voters. In 2004, President George W. Bush received about 10 percent of the black vote — and even that was a significant increase over the 2000 election. Wallace acknowledges that Republicans can do a better job of recruiting minorities to their ranks: “We need to engage people, especially here in Illinois. We need to get people to run and provide them support to get into positions of power.”

Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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