I posted the following in the comments section of a popular Conservative blog, Right Wing News. It more or less captures what I think about the issue so I'm re-posting here:
What I find is what Thomas Sowell and Shelby Steele articulate so well: the current "definition" of what it means to "be black" (even that concept ITSELF) has now come to mean shorthand for the more backward and self-defeating pathologies that used to be--by-and-large--confined to Southern blacks before the Great Migration.
Nowadays, it's important to "be 'authentically' black" and the definition of "blackness" is eaten through with corrosive elements like: downplaying education to the point of ridicule; valuing style over any substance (e.g., having a "serious ride" but living in apartment, or having great clothes but a low-paying job, or looking cool at class, but failing, (or even being Republican!)); and always, as a knee-jerk first reaction, using racism to explain any difficult event that happens to include a white person. This and so many other negative things have come to define what it means to "be black." Anyone who seeks another way is making a de facto choice to cease being "authentic" and the ensuing emotional and cognitive pain that that thought brings keeps many black folks "on the plantation."
And even those black folks who don't succumb to the pathologies themselves are strongly influenced to "represent" in order to keep themselves in good with fellow blacks. As I've mentioned before, I'm a USAF Reservist, but I work at a software company full-time and in both arenas I've seen so many black folks who make Steve Urkel look "ghetto" still trying to "kick it like they in the hood" replete with the language and appearance. I've seen the most nerdy software developers turn on a dime and send e-mails so laden with slang I had to send to a fellow black conservative who was more hip than I to translate. That same developer lives in a MUCH different place than the folks in the Central District in Seattle, eats more cosmopolitan fare (Indian anyone?), and highly values education, but at the end of the day feels so concerned to maintain authentic blackness that he will "pretend" to himself and others that he's one of the homeys. It is an amazing thing to witness.
I can't tell you how often, when I was growing up in the 70's and 80's, I was ridiculed for trying to get A's in class, or for changing from slang to business English when in school or interacting with the public at work. I know personally what it feels like to say, "I don't want to 'be black', I want to just be me and follow my own path."
And it's not like I don't see similar things in white or hispanic culture; the problem is that it's so disproportionately represented in the "black community."
So in a way, D-Vega is right--it really sucks when you get included in a generalization and you aren't even remotely like the people that gave rise to the generalization. I know from firsthand experience how frustrating it is. But the painful truth is that there are ENOUGH folks, too many folks, that give the generalization legs.
The GOP will not "get" more black votes until more black people themselves stop willingly remaining in the psychological chains of "being black."