Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. That’s the age-old nugget of wisdom that people have struggled with, since as long as humans had language.
Do you remember the old scenario with Lucy Van Pelt and Charlie Brown, in the comic strip Peanuts? Lucy would promise Charlie Brown that she would hold the football in place for him to run and punt it. Every time, just before he can kick the football, Lucy pulls the football out of his way. Charlie Brown slips, flies up in the air, and crashes down on his back. Each time he wonders why he fell for the same trick.
Conservatives are the Charlie Browns these days. I see them everywhere rushing to placate liberals by throwing them bones. They have canceled the trademarks for pancake syrup and Cream of Wheat. They have forced colleges to rename buildings so they don’t brandish racist presidential legacies. They have censored scenes of 30 Rock, Jimmy Fallon standup comedy, Mary Poppins, the Golden Girls, and John Wayne movies. They have convinced corruptible health experts to throw their professional authority behind laughable guidance, claiming that tens of thousands can gather for screaming protests over George Floyd with no risk of COVID spreading, but twelve people cannot attend a church service or funeral for their loved ones. They have kneeled. They have apologized. They have stood down while leftists, in the name of Black lives, tried to tear down statues of abolitionists, French kings who ruled before Africans were even in the Americas, Catholic saints, the celebrated author of Don Quijote, and the president who arguably founded antitrust checks and balances as well as the environmental movement.
And they have issued statements upon statements. My personal favorite is Adam Greenway, a man under whom all the Black and Latino senior faculty disappeared at Southwestern Baptists, and who threw years of multicultural curriculum development down a memory hole, sending a letter on Juneteenth about how he took black lives seriously. Apologies. Affirmations. Agreement. Support. So many statements, no matter how disingenuous, strained, or even ridiculous. The CEO of Chick Fil-A got on his knees and shined Lecrae’s shoes.
Of course much of this has to do with firing people also. We’ve seen Catholic teachers fired for doubting Black Lives Matter. We’ve seen the most popular author alive, J.K. Rowling, threatened with cancellation over tweets about trans people, because somehow Black Lives Matter means we have to accept the trans issue pushed by ghoulish physicians tied to Big Pharma and kooky librarians inviting drag queens to read to four-year-olds about Jacob’s new dress. We’ve seen Baptists students expelled for recording a nine-second Tik Tok video about the hypocrisy of violence. We’ve seen writers fired for mentioning the anti-Christian messaging in the mission of Black Lives Matter.
Realtors have decided to stop calling large bedrooms “master bedrooms.” Skin cream has been taken off the market. Rock bands have changed their names. The state flag of Mississippi has been changed. NASCAR rushed to disavow a noose that was really a rope tied in a strange-looking knot to raise a garage door. We’ve forgotten about the frauds of Jussie Smollett, Charles Stuart, and the attack on the Coventry kids. We’ve forgotten about the myriad hate crime hoaxes that embarrassed the left over the last ten years. We’ve forgotten that we’ve already pushed body cams for cops, accommodations for the Mizzou-led racial campus protests of 2015, affirmative action since the late 1960s, ethnic studies departments since the 1970s, critical race theory since the 1980s, and two terms of an African American president who was elected by popular majorities as recently as eight years ago.
All of this is being done, and so much more than anyone can document, in the hopes that this is the last time we will have to deal with large numbers of people screaming about racism. Virtually none of the footage that circulates now shows people engaging the issue of police brutality in Black neighborhoods. Instead, we see white women screaming at Black men, white men screaming at Black men, Black women screaming at Black men, and white people screaming at Asians and Latinos. Somehow LGBT becomes entangled in all this and we have white gay activists screaming at straight people of color because Black lives matter. We even saw a crowd of white homosexuals sexually molest a white heterosexual Christian in Seattle in front of rolling cameras, for five minutes, while crowds of leftist Black Lives Matter activists cheered. The white Christian was later tackled to the ground, choked, and dragged unconscious down the street while a supposed Baptist activist told him, “I am a Baptist, Jesus told you to brush the dust from your feet, and move on,” while a mob of molesters mauled him.
I am sick to my stomach. None of this is new. It is all familiar because past is prelude. I knew dumb and mean people composed a large percentage of my country’s population, of all races. But it’s nauseous that so few people understand that this is like Lucy Van Pelt’s football. This is the oldest dividing trick in the book. We got played like a harp, as we have been many times before. And it goes on. One thing that’s new is the existence of an entire generation, the Millennials, who seem to be completely lost. The few Millennials who identify as “conservative” are Ben Shapiro enthusiasts who don’t understand the difference between libertarianism and conservatism, and who have absolutely nothing to say to the protests over the George Floyd matter. They muse and quip on Twitter and do nothing. That’s a new low. But it’s still not without precedent.
Charlie Brown runs, kicks, misses the football, and crashes on his back once again.
Nothing is going to change in the Black community as a result of any of this. We have been through this a thousand times before. Remember Paula Deen and Roseanne Barr? Remember how people threw out the testimony that would have convicted O.J. Simpson? Remember when we all had to stop what we were doing and defend Beyonce’s Black Power performance at the Superbowl halftime show? Remember when we jumped in to demand that Hollywood make more movies about Black people? Remember Ferguson? Baltimore? Remember LA? Remember the Bronx riots of 1992? Remember Crown Heights, Howard Beach, and Bensonhurst?
The sad thing this time around is that the whole country was united about the death of George Floyd. Everyone said that killing was wrong. Everyone wanted justice to be brought down. I am a cynical kind of guy, but even I was with the protestors for several weeks because I could see how unjust Floyd’s death was. I know racism is real and want to be part of the solution.
But the left didn’t want anything to change. The left did not want unity. If they had wanted unity, they would have stayed on the unifying themes of justice for men like George Floyd. They would not have turned immediately to divisive and patronizing side issues that they knew would spend people’s energy, alienate 75% of the country, and submit the efforts to improve race relations in gridlock. They did what the left always does. They sidelined, silenced, and ignored people of color who have been working on change (people like me, people like my friends in Urban Game Changers), and pulled in the people of color who make outrageous statements, repeat stale talking points from their sophomore year of college, or play to the race-traitor script and play the endless contrarian.
Nothing will change. That’s what is so sad. That’s what is so sickening. The Democrats have used this trick before and they will use it again. November’s election will come, and as soon as it is over, all these Black people will be told by the Democrats to stand down, stay quiet, and wait patiently for a transformation that will never come. White Democrats will never allow people of color to primary them in their electoral races. White Democrats are never going to let naturalized Latinos take over their party in California, New York, or Texas. White Democrats will never abolish the police on a large national scale.
White Democrats know what they are doing. They are playing Black people. They are playing Latinos. They are playing conservatives. They will get what they want, and everyone else will be left like Charlie Brown, with a sore backside, staring up at the sky and wondering why they let Lucy trick them again.