Spike Lee arrives at the premiere of “BlacKkKlansman” on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Conservative outrage erupted at filmmaker Spike Lee after he used slave rhetoric to denigrate black Trump supporters. In an Instagram post, the director posted a picture of conservative pundits Diamond and Silk with a group of other black Trump supporters laying hands on the president and praying for him.
Lee’s caption read, “Massa, we love you Massa. We gonna pray fo’ you Massa. Singing- ‘swing low sweet chariot.’”
This type of ignorant rhetoric is commonplace for race-baiters like Spike Lee – and it is the same type of attack that many on the left use against black conservatives. It is especially popular with those who are unable to form a coherent argument to address blacks and other minorities who do not fall in line with the Democrats. Put simply, it is a ludicrous trope peddled by fools who resort to calling black conservatives “Uncle Toms,” and “coons,” because they lack the ability to engage on an intellectual level.
Unfortunately, the right does not have the moral high ground in this regard; using slave rhetoric to describe black people with differing political views is not a tactic that is limited to the left. In fact, well-known pundits on the right routinely use the same type of tropes to label black Americans who they claim they wish to convert to the conservative movement.
Over the past few decades, conservatives in the media have grown fond of referring to black Americans who support Democrats as being enslaved on the “Democrat Plantation.” Depending on the context of the conversation, the term has been used in a vain attempt to explain why blacks overwhelmingly support Democrats, or to describe the plight of many in the black community.
Some use the trope to imply that black voters are “mentally enslaved” or “brainwashed” into thinking that it is the Democratic Party that truly cares for their needs rather than the Republican Party, which is full of virulent racists. Others use the term to intimate that blacks are slaves to the Democrats through the welfare system – even though most black Americans are not using government assistance. In other words, it’s a slave metaphor that is every bit as idiotic as Lee’s comments.
Recently, several prominent conservative figures used the term to label black Americans. In a speech at CPAC, Diamond and Silk proclaimed that “Black people don’t need reparations, they need liberation from Democrat plantation.” After the news about Lee’s comments broke, they responded in a tweet calling “little Spike Lee” a “gatekeeper” on the Democratic plantation:
.@DiamondandSilk along with many independent thinkers have triggered another Gatekeeper from the Democrat Plantation. "Little Spike Lee" is tripping and flipping like crickets on steroids. @officialspikelee, you're messing with the wrong two Black women! https://t.co/ARU6xe5TBj
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) March 4, 2020
Author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza posted a tweet claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was trying to “extend the Democratic plantation.”
This story of LBJ’s moral enlightenment has one fatal flaw: He was cheerfully using the N-word AFTER he signed the Civil Rights Act. In sum, LBJ was a lifelong bigot! Why then did he do it? He was merely trying to extend the Democratic plantation https://t.co/YymTpQRtHN
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) March 1, 2020
After CNN commentator Angela Rye stupidly attacked black Trump supporters in an appearance with Don Lemon, Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson tweeted: “When Kanye West talks about certain leaders in our community tearing down those of us who leave the “Democrat plantation,” this is the type of BS he’s talking about!”
When Kanye West talks about certain leaders in our community tearing down those of us who leave the “Democrat plantation”, this is the type of BS he’s talking about!
You, and those who agree with you, are the ones who should take a look in the mirror. https://t.co/UF5DiviVzw
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) February 29, 2020
Candace Owens, the founder of the Blexit movement, has also been known to use the term to label black people. She recently published a book titled, “BLACKOUT: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape From The Democrat Plantation.”
By now, you might be thinking, “But LBJ was a bigot, Angela Rye’s comments were asinine. And Spike Lee is little!” You would be absolutely right on all counts. In each of these cases, these individuals deserved to be pilloried. But is it wise to insult those you wish to reach while punching back?
The tendency of many conservatives to describe black Americans as slaves is one of the most off-putting aspects of the movement’s messaging. Black people respond to that metaphor the same way I respond when a leftist thinks they can shame me into obedience by calling me an Uncle Tom; they immediately stop taking us seriously, and rightly so. Why? Because it’s demeaning, lazy, and inaccurate.
There are many reasons why black Americans overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party. It has nothing to do with brainwashing, free stuff, and mental slavery. Those who defend the term do not understand the complete history of the relationship between black voters and both parties.
Here’s the reality: Conservatives will never win over black Americans by calling them slaves. It’s common sense. Insults are not persuasive. They are repellent even if the one using them does not intend to offend their target audience.
I’m sure that most of those using slave rhetoric aren’t intentionally trying to push blacks away. But in essence, it’s what they are doing. The majority of black Americans do not gravitate towards the black conservative establishment – despite agreeing with them on several issues.
This is because too many use a condescending – and often misleading – approach when discussing the black community. The slavery metaphor is one of the many ways they alienate black voters.
We have a choice. Our punditry class can use a new messaging strategy. They can speak to them like fellow American citizens and not slaves on a plantation. They can stop emulating people like Spike Lee. Or, they can continue to pursue a messaging strategy that has been an utter failure for six decades.
Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight