Pearson joins many young Black Republicans in saying that the conservative values espoused in his household laid the foundation for his party switch. Data backs up this claim: A 2019 study from Pew found that, while liberals make up a majority of the Democratic voting bloc, 43 percent of Black voters said they identified as moderate and 25 percent identified as conservative. Faith, fiscal responsibility and achievements earned through hard work are values central to both the Republican ethos and many Black lifestyles…

“I do think that at some point we have to ask ourselves, when are we ready to change the system that we have enabled?” asked Javon Price, a Georgetown University senior and the external affairs director for gen z gOP, a national organization of young Republicans that aims to encourage more Gen Zers to embrace conservative politics. “Black people are arguably the most loyal supporters of the Democratic base. And we’re still talking about the same issues we talked about in the ’60s.”

An online group called the Black Conservative Movement, one of the largest dedicated to young Black Republican voters, which boasts a combined 200,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, has pushed these ideas forward under the label of “free thinking,” one commonly espoused by Black conservatives like Pearson. If Black voters ignored the pressure to vote for Democrats from both party leaders and other Black folks, they argue, they would be able to clearly see the negative impacts of their policies on Black communities.