Right-wing firebrand wows American Experiment forum

She’d like to ignite an ‘ideological civil war in the Black community’

Candace Owens Photo by James Netz

Candace Owens is an unapologetic Black conservative activist. She first rose to fame in 2017 as founder of the Red Pill Black website – her third website since leaving a private equity firm several years ago – and a YouTube channel that has amassed over 200,000 subscribers with video titles such as “Mom, Dad…I’m a conservative” and “The Left Thinks Black People Are Stupid,” among others.

Rolling Stone magazine has called her a “boilerplate” for conservatives who lack originality. Rapper Kanye West tweeted last month, one day after she called Black Lives Matter “spoiled toddlers,” that he “loves” the way she thinks.

She has since become with her controversial positions the new Black right-wing darling of White conservatives, a scorn of liberals, and a contrarian to many Blacks.

That controversy has also given her a newfound platform, evidenced during her first Minnesota visit where she spoke at a Center of the American Experiment lunch forum on May 8 at the Minneapolis City Center Marriott ballroom. The sold-out event for the conservative think tank resembled a rock-star-worthy, messianic gathering of an estimated 550 people, mostly White, who came out to hear the 28-year-old rail against “liberal indoctrination.”

“What we are selling here is individualism,” said Owens, who has served as Turning Point USA communications director and urban engagement director since last November. The conservative nonprofit national organization has over 300 chapters in colleges and high schools around the United States, including five Minnesota campuses: the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Morris campuses, along with St. Olaf, St. Mary’s and Gustavus Adolphus, according to its website.

She received pre- and post-speech standing ovations along with several impromptu applauses and short cheers whenever she said something controversial during her nearly 30-minute “preaching to the choir” speech. She also took selfies upon request with high school students and adults of all ages before and after her speech.

“I should be a Democrat, but I am not a Democrat,” she boasted amidst loud cheers. “Racism hasn’t stopped me from being what I want to become.”

She decried Beyoncé and Jay-Z, CNN and the media, the Democratic Party, colleges and universities that don’t appear to allow conservatives to speak as freely as liberals do, and just about anything else that challenged her views. “I had girls come into my face shouting at me,” said Owens.

“A [White girl] screamed at me and said, ‘I am a White supremacist. What gave me away?’” she recounted amidst chuckles.

“Being conservative is like being gay in the 1980s,” Owens said. “It is an uphill battle for conservatives.”

She also talked about her association with West. “He will have a great impact on politics. You listen to his music… He always advocates for individualism.” She also agreed with his remarks that slavery for Blacks “sounds like a choice” during a recent TMZ interview. “I thought he was spot-on,” Owens stressed, saying that West is just misunderstood.

[West’s remarks on slavery] “came across terribly,” Owens later told the MSR during a sit-down interview after her speech. “I know what he meant because I had a conversation with him, and he did clarify [his remarks] afterwards on Twitter… But, once you say something and they can latch onto it and demonize you, they will.

“What he meant is that in 400 years, we [Blacks] went straight from having our bodies and our minds enslaved to now it [being] a choice,” she continued. “We are choosing to be mentally enslaved. We are choosing to accept the idea that we can’t overcome any obstacles, and we think there is power in that. There’s no power in being a victim.”

Owens also told her audience that “We are living in a more privileged time” than Blacks did in the early 20th century. “I always wanted to launch an ideological civil war in the Black community. I want us to say, ‘I am not a victim.’”

Candance Owens
Candace Owens Photo by James Netz

“I am a conservative and [I am] comfortable talking about that,” Owens proudly declared. She later explained, “Why I want to launch the ideological civil war is [that] I want Black people to start debating. When you are debating, you are thinking. If you are saying that we all think [alike], that’s a problem.”

Not unlike West, Owens recently stirred up her own controversy after saying that former President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are largely to blame for the setback in U.S. race relations. “I blame Obama,” she said May 6 during an appearance on Fox News’ Fox and Friends.

“His eight years in office did a lot of damage in terms of race relations in this country…  Hillary didn’t help much when she kept calling everybody racist and sexist…”

“I meant it, and you can quote me,” Owens told the MSR. “Hillary Clinton’s entire platform had no interest in the issues that meant [something] to us in the Black community.  They [the Democratic Party] don’t think Black people are smart enough…in understanding the issues that are in our community.

“Obama was just a puppet. He didn’t do anything for me,” she continued. “I don’t care if he was Black, White or Spanish. I was not misquoted. It was exactly what I meant. I think Obama had very little power. If he had, perhaps he would have done something different. I am sticking to it.”

“I’ve been praying for decades for someone like you,” Earline McCauley, an older Black woman, told Owens during a Q&A session after her speech. McCauley was among the handful of Blacks at the luncheon.

“I think Candace Owens is helping to bridge the gap in conservatism and the Black community,” former Council on Black Minnesotans executive director Patwin Lawrence said afterwards. “Most Blacks are conservative. Unfortunately, we vote Democratic for some reason. It’s because the Republican Party and conservatives seem to represent White supremacy, when that’s not necessarily true.”

Owens wrapped up the MSR interview saying, “I’m really passionate on how we’ve been duped in the Black community. I have no intention of shutting up about it. I want every Black person to hear me.”

 

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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