Like most Americans of conscience, I have been appalled and sickened by the 21st century lynching of twenty five year old Ahmaud Arbery.
Arbery is the African American jogger in Georgia who was confronted and shot by a father and son vigilante team from a pick up truck.
At this stage of the investigation it seems Arbery’s sole crime was “jogging while Black.” I only recently became aware of this case, and admittedly, was hesitant to speak out until all the facts were known.
I live in St. Louis and the shooting of Michael Brown, and the civil unrest later, taught me and others a valuable lesson about waiting for all the facts.
The narrative of “hands up, don’t shoot” became a national rallying cry for activists and those seeking justice for Michael Brown and his family.
We later learned from the grand jury and the FBI that “hands up, don’t shoot” was a fabrication used maliciously to pour gasoline on an already inflammatory situation.
If there is a positive that can be taken from this current tragedy, it is the almost universal condemnation from Americans of all stripes, colors and political persuasions.
I say almost universal because there are some white (and Black) conservative activists who are incredibly blaming Mr. Arbery for his own death! My fellow Red Stater Kira Davis has a thought on why this is so:
I have come to the conclusion that the reason some white conservatives dig in so hard against narratives of racial violence when they hit the public square is because they are so used to constantly being on the defensive when it comes to race. I just dropped a frustrated thread on Twitter about my very deep annoyance with people who think black conservatives aren’t ever supposed to argue with each or disagree on anything.
Leading the effort calling into question Mr. Arbery’s death is outspoken millennial and BLEXIT founder Candace Owens.
Admittedly, I’ve never been much a fan of Ms. Owens, but some advice was given to me years ago by my political mentor when it came to growing the Black conservative movement and that advice was “we need everybody.”
Taking that wise advice, I ignored Owens because she is a millennial and I felt she could probably reach people a middle age man like myself could not. So I kept my tongue. No longer after incendiary tweets like these:
“Ahmaud Arbery was caught on camera breaking into an unfinished property that was owned by Larry English. His mother has confirmed it is him in the video. Please stop with the “just a jogger” bullshit narrative. Avid joggers don’t wear khaki shorts & stop to break into homes.”
“Daily mail has published the full 4 minute video of Ahmaud Avery WALKING* up the street, and then ENTERING a private property which was under construction. As I said: He didn’t deserve to die but the “just a jogger” narrative was a race-baiting LIE.”
“Lastly, to @KingJames— who will never be what Kobe and Jordan were off the court because he lacks intellect. Bro. You have multiples homes, white personal chefs, gardeners and housekeepers. If that’s an example of “literally being hunted” by white people, then sign me up ASAP.”
“Still wondering why Black Americans lag behind other races? Name one other race in America that protests and riots when their criminals die while committing crimes. It’s reverse Darwinism. Survival of the dumbest. “Our criminal need justice” is a bottom feeder mentality.
Ms. Owens has changed her tune a bit by now saying Arbery “didn’t deserve to die” but she’s still calling into question his motive for entering a house under construction and wearing Khaki shorts while jogging.
Black conservative leaders from around the nation have roundly condemned Owens and her remarks including former South Carolina BLEXIT director Johnathan Thrower:
BLEXIT could never get any traction going into the Black community trying to speak with residents with the rhetoric and energy Candace is currently exhibiting. Her facts she presents are only to paint Black America negatively in the face of white supporters. She will blatantly ignore the facts that would equally cause White America to have to look in the mirror themselves on key issues. I decided to resign from BLEXIT to prevent being associated with someone who doesn’t speak for Black people, but speaks against Black people.
Darrel “DJ” Jordan, former Va. House of Delegates candidate:
There is nothing #prolife or conservative about suggesting that someone’s life is worthless because they may have committed a crime. I’m old enough to remember when we conservatives believed in principles like redemption…and the dignity of ALL human life.
Jeff Dove Jr., Candidate for Congress VA-10:
This level of sensationalist rhetoric does not advance the national discussion on race or help the conservative movement in this country. Statements like those given are not only self-serving but callous and they have no place in our national discourse.
I am a Black Conservative who believes in the sanctity of all life. I also believe in the rule of law and justice. I don’t diminish my community for attention and likes. Candace Owens comments in the Arbery Case are her opinions. There is nothing conservative about them.
Diante Johnson, President of the Black Conservative Federation:
Sigh….Why is she so hateful? This seriously scares me. This is not how we grow our movement. This is turning people away. I pray that God heals her heart. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Very disturbing to see this from a woman who could be such a powerful voice. Engage not enrage.
Shermichael Singleton, Political Strategist, Political Analyst, and Op-ed writer:
I’ve never had a problem with being a black conservative and most black people who are Democrats have supported me. However, if you’re black & a conservative and your only purpose is talking down your own community for applause & acceptance from white people, you have a problem.
C. J. Pearson: A leading voice among right-leaning youth and the “Left’s Youngest Nightmare.”
Why are we putting Ahmaud Arbery on trial? Criminal history or not, my faith compels me to believe in the idea of redemption. Ahmaud Arbery did not deserve to die the way he did. No human being does. Full stop.
Benjamin Watson, former NFL tight end and pro life advocate:
This is just one example of the foolishness that continues to dribble out of @RealCandaceO mouth, embraced and digested by millions of well meaning Americans. It is devoid of complexity, context and compassion, nothing more than tribal propaganda.
I’ve always said there are two types of people within the Black conservative movement.
There are those looking for book deals, television appearances, their own radio shows and the trappings that come with those things, and if the cause gets advanced, well that’s a just cherry on top of their success.
And then there are those who are not looking for notoriety but only have a sincere desire to see Black people prosper and advance in this country economically, socially and politically.
I count myself in the latter category who don’t seek notoriety but understand if I’m doing the right things for the right reasons then the notoriety will come – whether you seek it or not.
Those within the movement must drum out those seeking to sacrifice our movement all for the sake of Twitter followers and public admiration.