Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, May 13, 2020
Politics is about who, not what. The same action can be good or bad, depending on which side journalists are on.
Consider armed protests. In January, a mostly white crowd protested proposed gun control laws in Virginia. Some blacks were in the crowd too. Conservative Twitter accounts highlighted the blacks so the protesters wouldn’t be called racist. It didn’t work. Verified Twitter users called the protesters “white supremacists who threatened violence,” “domestic terrorists,” and “scary” folks who wanted to “terrify people.”
State legislators weren’t terrified; Virginia passed the gun control bills. Thanks to non-white immigration, Virginia is a solid blue state. Unless Virginia’s white conservatives manage to secede from the Richmond regime, their votes don’t matter any more than their guns.
A few weeks ago, a mostly white crowd protested COVID-19 lockdown policies in Michigan. Some had guns. Once again, verified Twitter users claimed the protesters were scary and intimidating. Many speculated about what would happen if blacks started protesting with guns.
On Wednesday, armed white nationalists occupied the Michigan state house, brandishing swastikas and long-guns, and screaming demands that lawmakers lift public health restriction.https://t.co/4Hq7xnWlaL
— Covered Dish People (@doctorow) May 8, 2020
A group of heavily armed White Supremacist Terrorists have invaded the Michigan State Capitol building & are threatening lawmakers & law enforcement officers.
What do you think would happen if they were members of Black Lives Matter?? pic.twitter.com/I0t9NTmDpz
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) April 30, 2020
The president of these yet-to-be United States of America called these armed white nationalists, who stormed the Michigan state capitol, “very good people.” He would’e called them ‘thugs’ if they were Black, ‘terrorists’ if they were muslim, ‘bad hombres’ if they were Mexican. pic.twitter.com/s5zpo80nN3
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) May 1, 2020
Of course, reporters don’t understand (or pretend not to understand) the defensive, apologetic mindset of most white conservatives. If blacks showed up at armed protests, they’d be recruited as spokesmen. Most whites, even if they’re armed, are morally disarmed. They think they must have non-whites or their cause is illegitimate.
Many critics, including Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, blasted the white protesters for using “swastikas” and suggested the protesters were linked to “racism.” Of course, the protesters were not using swastikas to represent their politics, but to criticize hers. It’s hard to imagine the governor and others didn’t realize this.
A few days later, five blacks and one Hispanic did use similar tactics. They provided an armed escort for Michigan State Representative Sarah Anthony as she walked to the State House. Rep. Anthony had posted a video denouncing the protest and claimed she felt threatened by it. Michael Flynn, a “community activist,” organized the escort because he said “he could hear the fear in her voice.” He claimed he didn’t want to see his representative threatened “because of the white supremacists in the yard.”
Mr. Flynn is suing the Lansing Fire Department for racial discrimination claiming, among other things, that someone put a banana on his firetruck. He was also temporarily suspended from the department for criticizing its diversity policies on Facebook: “White liberals want diversity and inclusion until the black man walks in the room. Then it’s back to the same old shit. White men don’t get to choose what diversity and inclusion looks like.”
Rep. Anthony claims she did not ask for the escort but accepted it. She decried “the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had,” and the “racist, anti-Semitic signage” in the initial protest. “I think it just triggered a lot of folks,” she said, “especially African-Americans.”
The escort posed on the steps for pictures. There was no one there but reporters. News reports made it sound as though there had been some kind of threat.
meanwhile, in Michigan, African-American lawmakers now need an armed guard to do their jobs. a totally healthy, normal country https://t.co/fLqKLeZnPO
— hal 👾 (@halhod) May 7, 2020
“What they did took courage and it gave us a picture-perfect example of how black people protect our own,” wrote Zack Linly at The Root. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
Rep. Anthony had her own view.
As of today, Michigan has seen 45,054 COVID cases and 4,250 deaths. There’s real work to do and I’m here to work for the people…without intimidation or fear. https://t.co/7bc9Se53lc
— Sarah Anthony (@SarahAnthony517) May 7, 2020
Mr. Lynn explained that he wanted people to understand that Second Amendment rights are for everyone.
“We want to change the narrative…We want people to understand that people of color can come out here with guns just the same as anybody else can,” said Michael Lynn Jr., a black Lansing firefighter who helped organize State Rep. Anthony’s security detail https://t.co/EpceDAHBEQ
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) May 6, 2020
No Second Amendment activist would deny this. If January’s protest in Virginia was any indication, most white gun owners would be delighted to put Mr. Lynn in front of the cameras to speak for them.
Still, the favorable media coverage for an armed posse is striking. In February 2017, the Daily Mail reported that more than 12,000 tweets had called for President Trump’s assassination since he was inaugurated just a month before. If armed whites had started guarding him and his family, would there be any websites, even conservative ones, calling it a “beautiful” example of the way whites “protect our own?”
A “Now This News” video retweeted by Rep. Anthony said some of the earlier protesters in Michigan had “ties to white nationalist groups.” The video offered no evidence of this.
Meet the Black activists providing protection to Michigan state lawmakers amid right-wing, anti-lockdown protests pic.twitter.com/oEWGfloG6M
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 8, 2020
Many articles about the Michigan protest included an image of a white man yelling. A tweet that received eight thousand likes and almost 7,000 retweets gave his name and said he is a “white supremacist who is being paid to attend protests.”
Meet Rob Cantrell who lives in Los Angeles. Rob is a white supremacist who is being paid to attend protests in blue states all over the country. This #Deplorable is the face of the Republican Party#RepublicansAreKillingUs #COVIDIOTS#RobCantrell pic.twitter.com/Z4f6W4XOXs
— Stone (@stonecold2050) May 3, 2020
USA Today found that everything about this tweet, including the man’s name, isn’t true. The man in the picture is not named Rob Contrell. He’s not from Los Angeles. He’s a “longtime marijuana activist,” not a paid GOP operative. He is upset about being called a white supremacist. Nonetheless, Twitter has not removed this misinformation even though it could endanger this man, or, for that matter, anyone named “Rob Contrell.”
Cheri Jacobus, who has a verified account, said the Ahmaud Arbery killing was a “direct result” of such things as the Michigan protest, and went on to denounce “MAGA terrorists.”
I’ll just say it. This horrifying murder in cold blood is the direct result of the gun-toting MAGA white good old boys storming the Michigan state capitol and similar events around the country. This emboldens the other MAGA terrorists. Racism and terrorism. https://t.co/B818L6nVNK
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) May 9, 2020
Calling the Arbery case “terrorism” is idiotic — but walking around with guns in front of someone’s house is intimidating. Tariq Nasheed (verified account) reported that gun-toting blacks were “posted up” in the neighborhood where the men shot Arbery live. Countless replies explicitly threatened violence or insurrection.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) May 11, 2020
Start bodying these colonizers pic.twitter.com/VHZAWqbj6K
— Armed and Melanated Heathen (@ArmedMelanated) May 11, 2020
— The Official Grand Master Jay (@TheOfficialGra3) May 11, 2020
Armed Black Panther Party members showed up in the neighborhood of the men who chased down a 25-year-old Black jogger called Ahmaud Arbery and murdered him on the street in broad daylight. pic.twitter.com/0UeFMdtPRn
— redfish (@redfishstream) May 11, 2020
On Reddit, about 137,000 people upvoted a picture of blacks carrying guns in the “neighborhood of the two men who lynched black man Ahmaud Arbery.” Imagine what would happen if armed whites patrolled a black neighborhood. (It would certainly not be featured on Reddit. Even a group for Donald Trump supporters was “quarantined.”)
“Panthers Special Operations Command,” which posted video of the protest and its “neighborhood patrol” on Facebook, bragged that its “souljas” fear nothing. Of course not. They have the state and the press on their side.
If a pro-white group set up a “Special Operations Command” to conduct armed patrols, I’d suspect the FBI was running it. There would not be happy social media posts. There would be congressional hearings and demands for arrests. This has already occurred in response to far less.
Politics is mostly perception. For that reason, “optics” — the way activists appear — is always important. However, we should never forget how powerfully the media can shape those perceptions.
President Donald Trump said Ahmaud Arbery looked “beautiful” in a photo wearing a tuxedo, but that didn’t stop Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms from blaming the President’s “rhetoric” for the killing. Armed protesters can be dangerous insurgents or heroic guardians, all depending on the message journalists and Big Tech want to send. Never take that message at face value.