Alternative Right

The Day Reagan Yelled at Black People

May 26, 2016


To put a new spin on the old put-down of vegans, how do you know if you”€™re a member of the alt-right? Don”€™t worry”€”if you”€™re not, someone will tell you in the comments section. Alt-rightists love being able to cry “€œhe’s not one of us!”€ Milo Yiannopoulos? He thinks he’s one of us, but he ain”€™t. Ann Coulter? Nah, I hear she likes black guys. Jared Taylor? On blacks and browns he’s great, but he’s too soft on Jews. David Cole? He was a hero with his Holocaust revisionism, but I read he’s a Zionist!

Alt-rightists remind me of the old story about the blind men describing the elephant, except in this case, each sight-impaired narrator is obsessed with proclaiming what the elephant is not.

Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari did their best to define the alt-right several months ago in a lengthy essay on Breitbart.com, but needless to say, alt-rightists lined up to explain how they got it wrong. As Tory Scot at The Right Stuff noted in a piece titled “€œMilo Isn”€™t One of Us,”€ “€œThe Right Stuff has a nonnegotiable objective: the establishment of a White country in North America that will advance our interests,”€ adding, “€œThis is a goal shared to a large degree by Counter-Currents, Radix Journal, and the Alternative Right blog.”€

Yiannopoulos”€™ take on the alt-right was equally unpopular with Rare’s Jack Hunter, a former paleoconservative who lambasted poor Milo for soft-pedaling the whole “€œwhite homeland”€ thing. Hunter is a man whose political career was nearly ruined when his racially inflammatory past was exposed, so, like the recovering alcoholic who visits bars just to verbally abuse drunks, he goes after right-wing “€œracists”€ with the self-righteous fanaticism unique to converts (as someone who also had his political career derailed by revelations of a controversial past, I can only say that Hunter’s response could not be more different than mine).

Hunter’s rebuttal to Yiannopoulos is 2,750 words long, but reading it, I couldn”€™t help but fixate on one 32-word paragraph. This one small section of text speaks volumes regarding Trump’s appeal, why “€œrespectable”€ conservatives (and libertarian-conservatives like Hunter) don”€™t get it, and why, my differences with alt-rightists (who don”€™t like me anyway) aside, I could never bring myself to throw in with people like Jack Hunter (not that they”€™d have me if I tried).

“€œThe message that Reagan was trying to convey is even more needed and relevant now than it was thirty-six years ago.”€

Hunter writes: “€œToday’s “€˜newsletters”€™ would be blogs and Twitter accounts, where alt-righters try to feel better about themselves at the expense of some of the most historically powerless people in our society, racial minorities.

Forgive my Yiannopoulian French, but what the fuck does it matter who’s been “€œhistorically powerless”€? Ooh, ooh, “€œracial minorities”€ suffered in the past. So what? Everyone’s here in the present now, and nobody gets any extra points for ancestral pain. What possible bearing does it have on anything to bring up “€œhistorical powerlessness”€? Should we base hiring practices on “€œhistorical powerlessness”€? Should we watch our words because of “€œhistorical powerlessness”€? Should we elect presidents, admit people to college, grade papers, cast films and TV shows, give bank loans, write public policy, green-light immigration, and make all manner of special accommodations to people based on “€œhistorical powerlessness”€?

A leftist would answer “€œyes”€ to every one of those questions. But a supposed conservative? That one small paragraph by Hunter is, for me”€”and for quite a few other Americans, I”€™d wager”€”a deal breaker. People in very large numbers are sick of this “€œhistorical powerlessness”€ bullshit. Americans are sick of “€œvictim groups”€ demanding special favors, and white people are sick of the implication that nobody with fair skin has ancestors who suffered oppression.

The very idea that “€œalt-righters try to feel better about themselves at the expense of racial minorities”€ implies that alt-rightists are in some way doing harm to minorities via their “€œblogs and Twitter accounts.”€ How? By expressing opinions? By advocating policies with which minorities disagree? By tweeting offensive images? By using the dreaded “€œn-word”€? Words and images cause no real harm beyond what the person on the receiving end assumes upon himself. Claiming that words and images hurt like sticks and stones is a foundational belief of SJW leftism. By the age of 23, because of my Holocaust revisionism (i.e., because of nothing but words), I was dubbed “€œas bad as Hitler, Hussein, and Arafat”€ by the Detroit Jewish News (at the time, the nation’s largest-circulation Jewish weekly). I think I long ago proved I”€™m not a hypocrite. As a Jew, Jewish demands for special treatment due to past persecution never moved me, regardless of the “€œhurty words”€ that were thrown my way, and I”€™ll be damned if, at age 47, I”€™ll make any special accommodations for any other group.

Responsible adults who claim to be conservative and who supposedly care about the direction of this country should be telling minorities to grow up and learn to live with dissent, rather than furthering the leftist dogma that “€œhistorical powerlessness”€ is an exclusive nonwhite-only club and an “€œaren”€™t I special”€ badge entitling the wearer to preferential treatment and hushed, deferential awe.

Which brings me to Ronald Reagan, and a little-known, rarely recalled incident from 1980 in which he lost his temper on camera and yelled at black people.

August 5th, 1980. It was supposed to be a simple campaign photo op intended to illustrate one of Jimmy Carter’s many broken promises. Three years earlier, Carter had posed in the middle of a South Bronx city block that was mostly rubble”€”one of those do-it-yourself Dresdens that New Yorkers of color were so skilled at creating in the 1970s”€”and promised the enraptured debris-dwellers that his administration would usher in a new era of renewal and prosperity in the region. Take a guess what that rat-infested, decaying city block looked like in 1980? Yep, still rubble. The residents had grown older, but only the rats had grown wiser, as the people were still solidly Democrat. So Reagan decided to visit that same trash-littered lot to illustrate “€œan example of the federal government making promises that the federal government can”€™t keep.”€

It probably seemed like a good idea on paper.

Reagan’s arrival was met by throngs of loud, angry black protesters, yelling, cursing, and (of course) chanting. Reagan tried to give a speech, but the crowd drowned him out. Did I mention it was August? In the Bronx? In other words, it was scorching hot, and after a few minutes of the Bronx version of open mic at the Apollo, Reagan had had enough.

He lost his temper, and he began to shout. “€œI”€™m trying to tell you…”€ he started, but the crowd only got louder. So Reagan took a deep breath and put into action those “€œproject from the diaphragm”€ lessons that all actors learn in their youth: “€œI”€™M TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT I KNOW NOW, THERE IS NO PROGRAM OR PROMISE THAT A PRESIDENT CAN MAKE, THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN COME IN, AND WAVE A WAND AND DO THIS.”€

Displaying some good old-fashioned South Bronx moxie and mental retardation, a do-rag-wearing reject from Good Times yelled back, practically in Reagan’s face, “€œPush! Why don”€™t you push?!”€ Still flustered, Reagan reminded Starkeisha that he was not, at the moment, an actual elected official: “€œI can”€™t do a damn thing for you if I don”€™t get elected,”€ he shot back.

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