‘Emancipation Books’ Gives Non-Leftist Authors Of Color A Voice
A pile of vintage, leather-bound books, taken on April 22, 2011.
James Paterson/N-Photo Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Emancipation Books is precisely what groups like Black Lives Matter demand, but with a Titanic-sized twist. The new imprint from Bombardier Books gives authors of color a voice at a time when many demand precisely that.

You can’t stay silent when it comes to “systemic racism,” as they say.

Only publisher David S. Bernstein’s new imprint allows conservatives, libertarians, traditional liberals, and iconoclasts who happen to be black or brown a chance to be heard.

The progressive Left’s demand for more minority representation often screeches to a halt if the voices in question lean to the right. Just witness the cultural attacks on black conservatives like Shelby Steele, Candace Owens and Larry Elder.

The latter voice even made a movie all about it — “Uncle Tom.”

For Bernstein, a mixed-race publishing veteran, Emancipation Books fills a professional and personal void.

“It’s an unfilled niche,” says Bernstein, whose Bombardier Books is an imprint of Post Hill Press. “If you’re not named Candace Owens or John McWhorter, the chance for you getting published by a mainstream house is very slim.”

It wasn’t always this way. In the past, publishers showcased both conservatives and “free speech liberals,” Bernstein says, the latter group championing “intellectual diversity.”

The situation has gotten worse in recent years, and the problem isn’t exclusive to conservatives of color.

“The big houses don’t enthusiastically publish conservatives,” he says, making exceptions for personalities like Sean Hannity who all but guarantee huge sales. “They’re not, in general, seeking out new voices.”

Just finding a conservative editor at a major publisher can be a daunting task, he adds.

Emancipation plans to publish between 6 and 10 books a year, along with establishing a web portal where readers can learn more about the authors and books in question.

Among the upcoming titles:

  • “The 1776 Project” — a collection of essays critiquing the historically flawed 1619 Project, a New York Times effort now infiltrating school systems nationwide.
  • “What Do White Americans Owe Black People” by Jason D. Hill
  • “The Real Black Lives Matter Agenda” by Charles Love
  • “Behind the Black Mask” by Gabriel Nadales
  • “Ghetto Mind” by Daren Williams

Bernstein says Hill’s book offers a treatise on the philosophical and moral nature of the call for reparations and affirmative action.

“Is there such a thing as social justice,” he asks. “Justice is something that accrues to an individual, not a group of people… individuals should have their own agency and control their own destiny.”

Robert L. Woodson’s forthcoming Emancipation title, “Lessons from the Least of These,” isn’t a political book, Bernstein says.

“It’s the lessons of a civil rights warrior, what he’s learned about life from working with and helping empower poor people for 60 years,” Bernstein says of the Dec. 15 release. “It’s how we put these practices into play rather than continuing to do the same thing that fails to fight poverty.”

“The number one impediment to alleviating poverty is getting past the idea poor people have no agency,” Bernstein adds. “It’s conventional wisdom in the poverty-fighting world that the poor need things to be done for them. It’s disgusting.”

Woodson says his book isn’t simply a tonic for those in need.

“The moral and spiritual challenges confronting low-income people are also shared by wealthy people,” Woodson says. “A common denominator there is the absence of moral content and meaning in their lives.”

Making matters worse is how segments of society target capitalism and the country’s core principles as the problem, not the potential solution.

“Those fundamental values are under attack,” Woodson says. “We should be celebrating who we are as a nation.”

Black conservatives face scrutiny in some shocking ways, witness the aforementioned “Uncle Tom” and more recent attacks, like rapper Snoop Dogg calling them “the Coon Bunch.”

Woodson says he hasn’t had that experience, but he does know the feeling when he confronts critics with reality.

“Why are black children failing in systems run by their own people?” he asks. “The other side has to explain the failures that have occurred with the policies and people they have [in place].”

Modern conservatives, no matter the color of their skin, “need an offensive strategy. Stop apologizing for speaking the truth,” he says.

That also means supporting the police, a philosophy that speaks to where people of color stand at the moment.

He cites a recent Pew Research study showing the majority of black Americans support the police and don’t believe “institutional racism” impedes their success.

Bernstein is no stranger to the pressures facing black conservatives. As a young man he worked for Dole’s 1998 presidential campaign. At the time he didn’t consider himself a “black conservative.” He just followed the arguments that made the most sense to him.

He didn’t see what was coming next.

“People started saying, ‘you’re not supposed to think this way,’” he recalls.

“I’ve never taken it personally, the opprobrium that comes against black conservatives, but there’s a lot of people who do.”

That isn’t to say the critics didn’t have an impact on him.

“If somebody says you shouldn’t be doing that, then I do pretty much the exact opposite,” he says. “I used this curmudgeonly attitude to my advantage.”

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