Black "Conservatives" Say Viva National Rifle Association (NRA)
Did these Black Republicans expect us to believe Republicans and the NRA, really care about protecting African-Americans?
[Commentary: Speaking Truth To Power]
Ouick; To The Back of the Bus
Last Friday, several conservative Black Republicans assembled for a press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington D.C. to decry the current call for new gun control legislation.
The participants claim the call for gun control will cause African-Americans to lose their gun rights.
Was this press conference anything more than the morally-challenged ramblings of confused African-Americans "conservatives" who’re selling out for a few crumbs?
Stacy Swimp president and CFO of the Fredrick Douglass Society, and several prominent African-Americans met at the National Press Club to denounce the push by some in Congress to legislate more stringent gun-control measures in the face of the recent spate of shootings. Besides Mr. Swimp, speakers included: columnist Star Parker, Niger Innis spokesman for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, Rev. William Owens, Rev. Kenn Blanchard, Rev. Ken Hutcherson, Rev. Bruce Rivers and NBCC (National Black Chamber of Commerce) President Harry C. Alford.
The group claimed current proposals to enhance gun control laws would limit the rights of Black people—and they insinuated the current Democratic Party’s has a motivation similar to that of the Dixiecrats after Emancipation. “I think if you look right after the Emancipation Proclamation – what was going on down in the southern states, it’s very clear that the Dixiecrats wanted to disarm Black people to keep us from defending ourselves against the Klansman, who were murdering white and Black Republicans to control the ballot box,” Mr. Swimp said.
“The first gun laws were put into place to register Black folks, to make sure that they would know who we were – that we could not defend ourselves…There’s a direct correlation between gun control and Black people control.”
This claim was echoed by Rev. Hutcherson, a former NFL linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, who said “gun control is about controlling people…I don’t understand why any African American that is there in Congress right now would have the slightest thought about taking guns away from African Americans. We need them.”
Conservative columnist Star Parker suggested the taking away of gun rights for African-Americans would mean other rights would soon be taken. “I'd say they need to revisit their history – Black history, Black slave history, Black Jim Crow history -- and they should visit the histories of other tyrant nations where we had people like Hitler and Stalin and Mao,” said Parker, speaking directly to Black folk. “Every single time there is someone who wants to take away all other rights of the people, the first right they take away is your right to bear arms.”
Here's what Niger Innis, spokesman for CORE said, "For Black Americans, we know that gun control has ultimately been about people control. It sprouts from racist soil; be it after the, or during the infamous Dred Scott case where Black man’s humanity was not recognized.”
The NRA was praised by Harry Alford, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce. “The National Rifle Association was started, founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect free slaves from the Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “They would raise money, buy arms, show the free slaves how to use those arms and protect their families. God bless you. Many of us probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the NRA.”
Friday’s press conference was nothing more than a minstrel show of the worst kind of buffoonery. Listening to these folks was quite nauseating for the sheer stupidity and ignorant incoherence that was on display. If they represent the best that Black Republicanism has to offer then it’s no wonder the Republican Party can’t make any inroads in gaining serious support in the African-American community.
At this event, speaker after speaker acted as if the Second Amendment rights of Americans were about to be taken away. Like the NRA leadership, they conflate sensible gun control legislation—aimed at curbing the easy accessibility of assault weapons—with the outright destruction of the Second Amendment.
This attempt to obscure that difference is being utilized by the NRA, and their lackeys, to hide their real fear: a loss of profits that will occur if things like common sense background checks are put in place. It’s all about money with these merchants of death. And now, they’re apparently using these Stepin Fetchit characters to try and influence African-Americans to back their indefensible positions.
During this press conference, most of the presenters claimed to be preachers or god-fearing people. One after the other, they talked of their supposed “God-given” right to own a gun. Baptist Preacher Kenn Blanchard—of the Historic Berean Baptist Church, in Washington D.C.—talked about being a “shepherd” who would “defend his flock” insinuating he needed a gun to do so.
After that Pastor William Owens Jr.—head of the Mandate for Marriage Initiative which opposes gay marriage—said “America would not be without her guns. And guns would not be necessary without her God.”
What does that even mean?
Owens also stated “without God, without guns, without the Constitution, America’s end will come with haste. For when they change our Constitution, they will take our guns. And when they take our guns, they will also seek to take our God.”
Isn’t there something seriously wrong with pastors who preach that gun rights are God-given? Are these ecclesiastics telling us that God—who created life—intended for us to have machineguns to shoot people to death? Is this illogical nonsense the message here? Aren’t clergymen supposed to be preachers of peace? Dr. King must be turning over in his grave at this spectacle.
These opportunists pretend they’re doing this out of loving concern for African-Americans. But their grandstanding show at the National Press Club seems to have been clearly done to advance their own self-interested agenda. Who do they think they’re fooling?
Most of these presenters made it clear they support the so-called Republican conservative cause. When Republicans engage in voter suppression in Black communities, Gerrymandering maneuvers to weaken the voting bloc of Blacks, while attempting to eviscerate progressive legislations that took decades to achieve to level America’s racial playing field, whose rights are Republicans protecting again?
And the transparent attempt to associate today’s racist reactionary Republican Party—whose current foundation was built on the “Southern Strategy”—to the Republican Party of President Abraham Lincoln’s time is nothing more that laughable fiction.
Did these Black Republicans speaking at the Press Club really expect us to believe today’s Republicans and their friends, like those in the NRA, really care about protecting African-Americans? The truth is one of the primary purposes of the Second Amendment was to protect the most prized property of many of the Founding Fathers: their slaves.
The Second Amendment reads “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This language suggests the, supposed, “Right of the people to keep and bear arms” was to be done within the context of a “well regulated militia.”
During this period, slave insurrections were problematic for planters and elites were probably also fearful of poor Whites rising up in unity with Blacks slaves against them—similar to what John Brown attempted to do, years after, at Harpers Ferry in 1859. To limit any such successful eventualities the Founding Fathers, and other planters, armed many of these same poor Whites within militias—these militias were members of the Slave Patrols. The perpetuation of White supremacist ideology to maintain the economic status quo also arose in full force.
Moreover, given everything that has happened since then— the lynching era, Jim Crow segregation, racial discrimination, etc.—one wonders: when did African-Americans really have any rights that were protected like these Black men talked about in Washington?
Many right-wingers who talk about arming themselves see African-Americans as the definition of criminal element. Their fears of a future tyrannical government surely resembles the Black face they now see sitting in the White House—one very similar to the faces of the Black men in Washington claiming right-wingers care about African-Americans’ gun rights.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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