Project 21 New Visions

Christopher Arps

Black Lawmakers Play the Victim


by Christopher Arps (bio)

 

"I accept my niggerdom. All you niggas get down with me!" — Michael Eric Dyson

Back in 2005, at a panel discussion during Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Union" event, Michael Eric Dyson urged attendees and C-Span viewers to "embrace their niggerdom."

Media gadfly Dyson — then a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, now at Georgetown University — explained that blacks don't have a monopoly on being a "nigger" or "nigga" (the word seemed to be used interchangeably in Dyson's talk).

"Nigga is a global phenomenon," Dyson explained. He said Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hammer and other famous American "revolutionary internationalists" understood this, and he posed a question to the audience and fellow panelists — including Jesse Jackson, Julianne Malveaux and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) — asking:

As a nigga in America, there are niggas throughout the world. Can we connect through our core niggerdom to understand the vicious ways in which we have been… subverted?

Dyson saw people like himself and Smiley as "Trojan horses" who could enter enemy territory, such as the mainstream media, to spread the progressive message.

That's why Dyson learned to "accept my niggerdom," and everyone else should "get down" with him. The audience went wild. Some fellow panelists, such as future Newark mayor Cory Booker, shifted nervously in their seats, but Dyson nonetheless received applause from Donna Brazile, Keith Boykin and Constance Rice.

Event co-sponsors Kaiser Permanente and McDonald's were undoubtedly delighted that their corporate logos hung behind Dyson's chair as he celebrated his niggerdom.

Today, with its power steadily slipping away, the Congressional Black Caucus recently unleashed a barrage of incendiary statements, seemingly taking Dyson's advice and embracing niggerdom.

In trying to preserve big government and the welfare state erected by liberals in the 1960s and 1970s and reinforced in the Obama Administration, the CBC targets the President's grassroots Tea Party movement opposition for advocating less spending and more governmental responsibility.

Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) blatantly charged, "the real enemy is the Tea Party… The Tea Party holds Congress hostage." Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) added that "as far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell!" But neither hold a candle to Representative Andre Carson (D-IN), who said there are members of the Tea Party movement — and possibly a few of his colleagues in Congress — who "would love to see us as second-class citizens… [and] would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree."

This niggerdom is rooted in the fear of losing government handouts so many people expect, regardless of the price tag in dollars and liberty. The first — and only — line of defense is an in-your-face and crude use of race and past discrimination to gain political advantage.

In other words, perpetuate victimization to prolong dependence — though I doubt they'd explain it this way.

CBC members appear to be setting the narrative that rank-and-file Tea Party members oppose this President and his policies because of his skin color.

As an African-American, I believe the CBC member comments are shameful, unfortunate and untrue. I've attended several Tea Party functions in the St. Louis area and always felt welcome and respected. At every rally, there were several African-American speakers, and even emcees.

I'm often asked why one doesn't see many African-Americans at Tea Party rallies. Consider the CBC comments. Imagine those — and similar comments from the NAACP and the hosts of MSNBC — is all one knows about the Tea Party. Why wouldn't they want to stay away!

But it's a false representation. St. Louis Tea Party founders Bill Hennessy and Dana Loesch wholeheartedly support my organization, Move-On-Up.org, financially and with their time and talents. Activist and Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart attended and spoke at our recent "Meet Me in St. Louis" black conservative conference.

That certainly doesn't sound like a bunch of racists, does it?

People of good conscience need to call out those who think they are accepting and embracing their "niggerdom" and fighting for justice by simply race-baiting. Enough is enough!

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Christopher Arps is member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and a founder of Move-On-Up.org. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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