Conservatives search for their elusive “unicorn.”

Candace Owens gives whte Conservatives what they’ve always wanted. Cover to hate on George Floyd.

A couple of years ago I was teaching a class, and as is sometimes the case, I was being harassed by one of my favorite students at the time, a young man named Salah. This fine young man knew I was a New York Knickerbockers fan, and he delighted in reminding me how much my favorite professional basketball team stunk. However, perhaps in a moment of charitable empathy for my long-term suffering, he tried to give me hope that perhaps the Knicks were on the verge of turning it around. He would tell me that I can have faith that the “unicorn” on the Knicks looked like the real deal, and that perhaps as a Knicks fan I finally had reason to hope. I of course had no idea who he was talking about. I said, “What do you mean, “unicorn?” He said, “You know, the great white unicorn, Porzingis.” (As in Kristap Porzingis, a former forward for the Knicks who looked like he was going to lead them to the promised land, but got hurt, and was eventually traded away for slightly less value than the Native-Americans were paid by Peter Minuit for Manhattan Island.)

As is typical, I’m often the last to pick up on what’s trending, or what the newest lingo is, but apparently for some time now, the term “unicorn” refers to anything that’s rare or hard to find. I suppose Porzingis’ status as a unicorn had to do with his skills as a basketball player in regards to his relative “whiteness.” I would also suppose there are many “unicorns” out there in our popular culture. For example…

  1. The Honest Politician
  2. The Virgin Rock Star
  3. The Clean McDonalds
  4. The Hipster who admits there are some things about beer, coffee, and music that they don’t know.
  5. The Chinese restaurant that whether you order an egg roll, or the first three pages of the menu will tell you that the food won’t be ready in “10 minutes.”

These are just to name a few, but so often we seek out these unicorns in our lives, and when we find them, well then it’s like a whole new world has been opened.

What a sight for Knicks fans, Kristap Porzingis, the “unicorn,” filling it up for Mark Cuban’s Mavs. Kristap, on behalf of all Knick fans, I weep for what could have been. (Getty Images)

Historically, the unicorn has been called upon by those who seek solace in troubled times. What better time to look to the mythical than when things have taken a turn for the worse. If you look at what’s going on right now, what with COVID-19, racial tensions, a collapsed economy and a galling lack of leadership in the White House, there would seem to have never been a better time for people to seek out their unicorns. Where oh where is that magical unicorn to save us when we need it most? Well for white Conservatives, their unicorn apparently can be found in that most rarest of entities, the “black Conservative.”

In other words, while most people agree that in this one particular instance, the police went too far in literally killing George Floyd, the man who died from having a police officer crush his throat with his knee while a crowd of people gathered around this horrific scene begging the officer to stop, some Conservatives have looked to push back against the narrative that there is systemic racism and brutality amongst the police that is directed towards people of color. Unfortunately, even Conservatives realize that the narrative that there is no systemic racism towards people of color by the police is an argument that at best makes them look naive and tone deaf, and at worst, as out and out racists. Ah, but what if white Conservatives could find an African-American to sprinkle a little reasonable doubt on this narrative, that would be a unicorn of a different color. Enter Candace Owens.

The white Conservative’s savior has arrived, and she’s wearing a blazer and slacks. Candace Owens articulates a message that manages to soothe that tiny bit of guilt carried by whites who deep down assume that George Floyd must have done something wrong. (Getty Images)

If you have no idea who Candace Owens is then you are where I was a few days ago. However, Ms. Owens is now all over social media thanks to a You Tube video she made recently voicing the idea that she does not support George Floyd or the idea of systemic bias against people of color in regards to law enforcement. Ms. Owens claimed in her video that George Floyd was not a good man, who apparently used drugs, hence making him a poor spokesman in her eyes. Making videos is what Candace does best, after all, she works for an organization known as PragerU which puts out Conservative videos that often espouse easily dismissed conspiracy theories. Owens used to hate the “Tea Party,” calling them crazy, but then in 2016 she became a Trump supporter where she gained much more exposure since her support of Trump nearly doubled the amount of African-Americans who supported Trump from one to two.

Owens also claims to be a nationalist and has stated that Hitler’s nationalism would have been okay had he not tried to extend it beyond Germany. Her galling lack of knowledge regarding all things Hitler, as well as the idea of nationalism which by definition advocates an aggressive foreign policy, makes me question her intelligence as well as her education. I wonder if she even knew that that Hitler refused to shake Jesse Owens hand in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin not so much because he was black, but because Hitler believed that Africans were like animals, and that it was unfair to have them in athletic competition because of their status as beasts as opposed to human beings. Ms. Owens has since attempted to back-track from her ignorant statements regarding Hitler, but as they used to say in Nazi Germany, Wie auch immer.

You know, George Floyd was not perfect, he had a past. Yup looks like it’s okay then, at least according to Candace Owens. (Wikipedia)

Now before we all lose our collective minds, nobody is suggesting that an African-American can’t be a Republican or a Conservative. Many African-Americans just like any other racial or religious group may very well share the values of the Conservative ideology. There’s no law saying that an African-American can’t support cutting taxes on the wealthy in order to stimulate economic growth, embrace the idea of rugged individualism, be anti-abortion, pro NRA, favor stiffer anti-immigration laws etc…, it’s just that it does seem suspicious that Candace Owens quickly abandoned trashing the Conservative movement, and then all of a sudden found herself an audience as a Conservative voice. Obviously somebody like Trump would immediately take an interest in any support from the African-American community. Remember, this is the guy who always sticks an African-American person behind him at one of his “Nazi-light” rallies like a prop.

Sadly, Donald Trump and other Conservatives use of an individual such as Candace Owens amounts to one of the worst aspects of racism, tokenism. Tokenism, which is sort of the step-brother of affirmative-action, something Conservatives typically abhor, is the way in which racist people defend their racism by finding somebody of color who at least on the surface shares their values, and then promotes them to use as a shield against charges of racism and race-baiting.

Owens and many other Conservatives enjoy using long-time African-American Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell as justification for their cynical views when it comes to systemic racism in our justice system. Sowell, who never seems able to find any evidence of racism or prejudice in our society has even gone as far as to criticize the decision in the landmark Supreme Court Case, “Brown vs. Board of Ed.” writing about it in a column in 2004 on the 50th anniversary of that historic decision. ( Sowell of course has bona fides in this area, as he by his own admission went to a segregated school, but apparently according to Sowell, he never heard anybody complain or even notice anything odd about it. Well then, I suppose it’s thanks, but no thanks Thurgood Marshall and Chief Justice Warren.

Tough break Thurgood Marshall, according Thomas Sowell you solved a problem that didn’t exist. (Getty Images)

It’s pretty incredible the lengths some will go to in order to find a person of color to validate their feelings regarding race as well as alleged injustices suffered by minorities throughout our nation’s history. It’s reminiscent of those American history textbooks in the South which refer to the Civil War as either the “War Between the States,” or “The War of Northern Aggression.” These bastions of learning also have been known to refer to slavery as “The South’s Peculiar Institution.” (As in isn’t it peculiar to see one race bought, sold, beaten, and whipped in order to make them do all the work the southern landed aristocracy refuses to do themselves. Hmm, that is peculiar.)

Of course, the “Let’s troll the internet until we find a member of a minority group who shares my political opinions” game can be played by all who wish to partake. For example, take Israel…please. I wonder how long it would take to find a Jewish group that doesn’t support the idea of a Jewish homeland. Let’s try it shall we. Okay, I googled “Jews who don’t believe in the state of Israel.” It took me less than 3o seconds to find this: If you click on this link it will take you to an article called “Ultra-Orthodox and Anti-Zionist.” In short it is an article about a group, (Not a “unicorn” putting up controversial views on “You Tube,” but an actual group of people.) of ultra-orthodox Jews who bitterly oppose the modern state of Israel. Since these are amongst the most pious and religious of Jews, they must be right about Israel, so let’s eliminate the modern state of Israel since some Jews themselves don’t support it.

However, why stop there? I wonder if we could find Jews who deny the occurrence of the Holocaust. We’re not talking about the former President of Iran or David Duke, but actual Jews who will state that the Holocaust was a hoax. Okay, let’s see. Well, this one was a little tougher, but a little persistence and about two minutes on the internet brought me to this: Apparently there was a conference in Iran in 2006 to discuss Holocaust denial, and one of the “honored” guests was Rabbi Moshe Friedman, a man who claims that while he’s not ready to deny that the Holocaust occurred, he does question many of its claims. Friedman in fact believes that the popularly accepted number of six million Jews killed during the holocaust is a grave exaggeration, and that the number is much closer to one million. Well, this is food for thought. He’s a Rabbi and of course he’s Jewish, I mean, he’s really speaking truth to power. Of course, he might very well be speaking stupid to the moronic, it’s just so hard to know what to believe anymore.

I’m getting the impression that Candace Owens’ message hasn’t resonated with too many Americans. (New York Times)

They say that perception is more important than truth. The perception amongst many right now in our society is that African-Americans are targeted more often, and murdered by police at a higher rate than whites. However, some are now saying that this perception regarding systemic racism in our justice system is not supported by the facts. Well, for example, in the supposed progressive city of Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was murdered, according to statistics that the city itself put out, African-Americans were seven times more likely to have force used against them than whites. Nationally on average, a young man in the United States has a 1 in 2000 chance of dying at the hands of the police, but young African-American men have a 1 in 1000 chance. According to The Guardian, in 2015, African-American men were nine times more likely to be killed by the police than white males. In addition:

Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.

Paired with official government mortality data, this new finding indicates that about one in every 65 deaths of a young African American man in the US is a killing by police.

Still, despite the mountains of statistics that support the premise that their is a systemic bias by the police against African-Americans, there are still those who refuse to believe that such a thing can be possible. It’s as if they believe people are pulling this idea out of a fantasy. Remember, not only are we only made aware of these tragedies thanks to cell phone cameras, but imagine what it was like for the better part of the 20th century. Do Conservatives really believe that all of the racism and prejudice that existed in the justice system for most of our nation’s history just one day disappeared? This issue isn’t a simple one. Sometimes it’s even African-American police officers who end up being charged with perpetrating racial bias in their dealings with young African-American males. One psychological study of white as well as African-American police officers proved the bias that exists in law enforcement. Both African-American as well as white police officers were shown pictures of young white and African-American males with an object in their hands. Both were carrying keys, but the African-American young men were overwhelmingly identified as having a gun by police officers of both races as compared to the white young men who were accurately identified as carrying keys.

There’s work to be done in this nation. The job of a police officer is one of the most difficult and dangerous there is, and often the decisions they have to make are split-second and life-threatening. Better training, more outreach into communities of color, and independent review boards coupled with body-cams that are always on would all be a major step in the right direction. Better understanding between the police and minority communities would also be a great way to forster understanding and perhaps lesson the chance of more tragedies such as the one that befell George Floyd of happening again. If Candace Owens wants to use her new found fame as a You Tube sensation to bring together law enforcement and the African-American community, that would be most welcome. Until then, I’m sorry that she believes that George Floyd didn’t speak for her, after all, it’s not always easy to speak for anybody when there’s a knee pressing down on your neck.



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