Once ‘very lost,’ Star Parker found religion and conservatism

She’ll keynote Center of the American Experiment forum on Election Day

Star Parker (Facebook/Star Parker/UrbanCURE)

More than ever before, Americans today seem defined by left-wing and right-wing divisive labels. Often, Blacks are identified as being on the liberal left, whereas Whites tend to be associated with the conservative right. If you’re a Democrat, presumably you support large government, and presumably you aren’t as concerned about moral issues and personal responsibility as you would be were you a Republican.

Star Parker argues that there is a quiet community of Blacks who agree that in the last 25 years “something has gone wrong” in this country. Parker is a national conservative writer, syndicated columnist, author and political activist. She will be the keynote speaker at the Minnesota-based American Experiment’s lunch forum on November 7 at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton.

The Center of the American Experiment is a conservative think tank; it describes its mission as “to build a culture of prosperity for Minnesota and the nation…grounded in free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, and other time-tested American virtues.”

In an MSR phone interview last week, Parker described conservative and liberal as political terms. “Being liberal is not a bad idea — you want to be open-minded. [But] I want to get both sides of the story.”

Parker is an unabashedly Black female conservative. She once ran for Congress in 2010 as a Republican in California but lost to her Democratic opponent. “I am not alone,” she proudly announced. “That’s probably why I am so bold.”

“Blacks and Whites are polar opposites when it comes to the role of government,” she said. “Whites trust local [government] and not the Feds. Blacks do not trust local [government] and trust the Fed. As a conservative, you are trying to reduce the size of government.”

As a result, she is against federal government influence and its seemingly unsuccessful attempts to eradicate U.S. poverty. “We have been in poverty for 50 years; the victim of the war on poverty is family life,” Parker stressed. “We have concentrated poverty. What has happened in our most distressed communities is not about ethnicity anymore. Some people will pretend that it is.”

Her views on such areas as education, opposing abortion, same-sex marriage and birth control often find her on the opposite side of many Blacks. “I’m concerned about what I am choosing and how it touches other people’s lives.”

She said she believes what we do in our personal life is between God and us. “But when you bring it out in the public square, it is between man and man. That’s where we have this division between liberals and conservatives.”

There are Blacks who don’t see racism as the lone reason why after “four generations…their children are still stuck in underperforming schools,” and wonder why a large income gap still exists between Blacks and Whites in this country, continued Parker. In 1995, she started her own think tank, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), now based in Washington, D.C. for the past 10 years.

“We look for all types of answers,” she said. “I knew we needed to develop new leaders, and that’s why I started CURE,” which was originally called the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education.

Parker has spoken at over 190 colleges and universities on anti-poverty issue and authored four books: Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats (1998); White Ghetto (2009); Uncle Sam’s Plantation (2010); and Blind Conceit (2015).

She’s finishing up her fifth book and hopes to publish it by Black History Month next February. It is loosely titled Necessary Noise, as a sequel to Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It, states the author. “It’s the next chapter to that book.”

“Some noise is necessary. People should understand that this is not a bad thing that these two sides (liberals and conservatives) don’t get along, because they see the world very differently.  It’s up to us when we have the information from both sides, then choose,” Parker said.

Parker shared that she wasn’t always conservative.

“I once belonged on the left. I was very lost in my decisions on reckless living, engaged in criminal activity and sexual activity that led me in and out of abortion clinics,” she recalled. After almost four years dependent in poverty and on welfare, “a Christian conversion . . . changed my life. Then I began this journey toward the work I am doing today.”

Parker said that the country coming together is a myth. “You can’t have it both ways…big government and little government. One of the big challenges of the Black community is that they haven’t heard the other side.”

In her view, all Americans of all ethnicities will have to choose where they stand on issues — left or right. “I chose conservative.”

The Center’s Nov. 7 lunch forum is open to the public; tickets are $30. For more information, go to American Experiment.org or call 612-584-4557.

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.