Students ask ‘authentic’ Rep. Byron Donalds: ‘Have you ever been accused of being black?’

Conservative Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) got candid at a conference over the weekend when a young man seemed to surprise him, questioning if he’d “ever been accused of being black?”

With hateful vitriol like “Uncle Tom” and worse being hurled at black Republicans, even merely being labeled conservative can be considered an epithet. But after making his way from the Florida legislature to the House of Representatives and being nominated for House Speaker, Donalds has shown that boldly sticking to your principles pays off.

While speaking at the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) Freedom Conference, held in Dallas, Texas on February 10 and 11, the congressman opened up about that when a young man asked, “As black conservatives, we were wondering if you’ve ever been accused of being black? And if you’ve lost your black card as a black conservative, how do you regain that?”

At first appearing taken aback, he replied, “Have I ever been accused of being black? Every day of my life, man.”

“The black card thing is real interesting, I’ll say, cause like, I’m a city kid, I’m a hip hop kid, you know, that’s me. I have my politics but, you know, what I like in entertainment and music is –that’s just what I like, that’s who I am. I don’t really worry about that.”

However, he then shifted into a slightly more serious tone as he reflected on the dichotomy of politics and culture which has taken many people away from the values they were raised with, and often still possess, to support politicians that don’t align with their actual beliefs.

“Black America is actually very conservative,” Donalds argued and went on to contend  leadership like his in the community, he hopes, will inspire others to be true to themself as, “what’s happened is this issue in politics and I think that when you have more black people who say, ‘Look, I’m conservative but, I’m still who I am,’ it gives a lot of people in the black community a place to land.”

“To be a black conservative, you have to be tough. Cause you takin’ incoming from everywhere,” the Florida lawmaker suggested as he offered that much of his experience holding his own came from conversations and debates going to the barbershop.

As he continued, he spoke to the number of black conservatives elected to Congress who steer clear of identity politics and act as themselves like Reps. Burgess Owens (Utah), John James (Mich.), Wesley Hunt (Texas) and former Rep. Mia Love (Utah).

“You just gotta be authentic. Like, you can’t try to put on a facade for somebody. You can’t try to play up to this base or that base. You just have to be raw and uncut, and I think people like that, people respect it and that’s the path forward I think for black conservatives in America,” he said.

“And I think, what that ends up doing is, it starts to shift our politics which is why the left can’t stand us,” Donalds stated. “Because if black people start voting Republican in larger numbers, Democrat politics have to change cause it’ll die on the vine.”


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