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Friday, October 30, 2020

Shelby Steele says rise of black conservatives will shape the country’s future

Scholar Shelby Steele used to be one of the few black conservatives who openly shared his views, but in today’s cultural landscape, he said that is quickly changing.

Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution who grew up in segregated Chicago throughout the 1950s and ’60s, said he sees more black voters turning to the political Right, which, at one time, would have seemed like a foreign concept.

“I am just so happy to see young people really animated by discovering how free they are,” Steele told several media outlets, including the Washington Examiner, on Thursday. “It [used to be] inconceivable that you would shake hands with a Republican. That’s changing. There are blacks today who are proud to be Republicans, and that’s a healthy sign. They’re brave people. They’re truly brave people, and they probably can’t get from one day to the next without five or six arguments from people all around them. God bless them. They’re the future.”

Steele also cited polls he’s seen that show President Trump’s growing support among black voters and said he believes it has to do with people growing tired of longtime expectations of black people to identify with the Democratic Party.

“Our psychological identification with the American Left, which sees us as nothing but victims, is an overwhelming destructive force in black America today,” Steele said. “I can’t think of anything else. It’s as if we volunteered to be on a plantation. We refuse to think for ourselves.”

Steele, who wrote White Guilt and is preparing to release his documentary What Killed Michael Brown?, said he hopes to shed light on the harmfulness of a perceived victimization of the black community.

The documentary, set to become available on various streaming services on Oct. 16, will explore the 2014 police shooting that killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

“What is interesting to me is that the events, you know, like Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Eric Garner in New York, Michael Brown, now George Floyd with the others, all seem to trigger the same reflexive pattern in American life and particularly the way they are covered in the media. There’s this rush that’s almost a desperate frenzy to see the event as an example of black victimization, to establish it as black victimization, and that, in a sense, becomes the argument,” Steele said.

The death of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 sparked a flood of protests over several months and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Floyd’s death was met with a push for the nation to reckon with its history of racial injustice and highlighted other black individuals who were victims of police brutality, including Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her apartment during a drug raid in Louisville, Kentucky, and later, Jacob Blake, who was shot by police several times in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Steele criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it is focused too much on getting white people to pave the way for black Americans.

“They believe in whites being the agents of black fate,” he said. “They believe more in whites than they do in blacks. They don’t believe in black people. They believe we’re weak. They believe we’re inferior. They believe that anything you give to blacks is not going to work. That’s what black people very often, too often, believe. That has to be changed.”

Steele also touched on the lacking response to black police officers who were killed or injured in riots over the summer, saying the quiet response by protesters is due to the idea that they do not fit their “victimhood” narrative.

“The black policeman disproves the idea of black victimization,” Steele said. “He’s a policeman who is defending the public order of the United States, so he’s hardly a victim. And because he’s not a victim, he is of no use to them.”



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