One word to describe Sunday’s Blexit event in Charlotte: UNCOMFORTABLE.
For those who don’t know, Blexit describes itself as a movement in which millions of Americans have “released themselves from the political orthodoxy.” It charges African-Americans to “Declare your independence.” However, what may not be so clear on the website becomes very clear at a live Blexit event, as the attendee quickly realizes that Blexit is more about converting black Democrats to black Republicans. To be more specific, it is a campaign determined to rally black folks to re-elect Donald J. Trump.
The Blexit movement was founded by Candace Owens, a 30-something black millennial who is an outspoken Trump-supporter with strong conservative media ties and is known for her anti-Black Lives Matter and anti-liberal stances.
Owens and her Blexit team made a stop in Charlotte on Sunday to rally the pro-Trump troops. They set-up shop at the Fillmore in the AvidXchange Music Factory and created an emotion-driven campaign-rally atmosphere that provided just a peek at what will soon come to Charlotte during the Republican National Convention.
The evening was filled with red MAGA hats and rhetoric that relied almost solely on emotional appeals and no facts. Shouting the mantra “WE FREE” only served as 1984-grade doublespeak for “FORGET ABOUT THE CONTINUED IMPACT OF SLAVERY AND RACISM.”
Upon examining the text and images on the Blexit website and comparing it to the audible rhetoric on videos and at the live Charlotte event, it feels like a clear bait-and-switch tactic. Pull them in with rebel values and only feed them the emotional appeals of conservative values associated with the Republican Party. No facts … just emotion. Blexit is a slick marketing campaign that appeals to one’s inner rebel, stating “They have unleashed a rebellion of those wishing to disrupt the simulation of fear.”
It seems as though they are talking about black people’s “fear” of not voting Democrat because they are not true “free thinkers.” However, the website is built around a culture of doublespeak, in which buzzwords and phrases actually mean something entirely different.
The website has the simulated appeal of creating a safe black space, with black faces plastered all over in static images and in videos. The design encourages black folks to say “Fuck the political system all together,” but the audible rhetoric is about leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans. The bait-and-switch tactics are strong with this group.
Upon entering the Fillmore on Sunday, the first face that greeted me was a middle-aged white woman in a highlighter-yellow Blexit t-shirt. When getting in the room I realized the entire back half of the Fillmore was filled with white faces. It was in that moment that I knew my laptop screen had truly deceived me.
As the intro propaganda film started — with a collage of old-school black family movies flashing across the screen with words like “Love” and “Freedom” and uplifting rap music in the background — I knew I was in for some Bernays-level propaganda for the rest of the night.
The rhetoric started with Owens explaining how black family values had dissolved because of the liberal agenda, then quickly transitioned into speakers like the flamboyant conservative YouTuber KingFace inferring that black people cannot get anything done without a white savior. Blexit speakers like talk radio host Larry Elder and conservative N.C. Lieutenant Governor candidate Mark Robinson painted the narrative that racism no longer impacts black people as they try to advance themselves economically.
Speakers like Brandon Tatum and KingFace pushed the narrative that black people can be free of racism if only they believe they are free of it — no need for systemic changes. No need to get non-black people to be against racism too. If you are black and you believe you are free of racism, then there is no racism to worry about. It’s as simple as that. Ignore the continued proven existence of racial discrimination in the justice system, housing, the workplace or any number of governmental policies.
To be honest with you, I could not make it through the entire Blexit live experience; it got too uncomfortable. But it did teach me something, nevertheless: We all should be uncomfortable with the divisive two-party democratic republic that the United States of America has become. All of us should be uncomfortable with the voter apathy that has set in. We should be uncomfortable with the status quo that is now the two-party system.
We should be so uncomfortable with being ill-informed about politics that we take the time to teach ourselves about the history, actions, and policies of the various parties being presented to us. In a party-driven system, like that of the U.S., understanding the actions of a political party along with its values must be examined, which will lead us to look at the cold, hard facts about a party and help us to better determine who we really want to align ourselves with when it comes to ticking a name in the ballot box. Let’s take a look at two past actions of both the Republicans and Democrats.
The Republicans implemented the Southern Strategy after the Civil Rights Era. As a means to gain political power, Republican candidates like Richard Nixon aligned themselves with the racial fears of racist whites in a post-Jim Crow South to win votes.
In 1994, Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which led to the “three-strikes” provision. The three-strikes policy mandated a life sentence for anyone facing a felony charge after having previously been convicted of two felonies, including drug crimes. As a result of this law, mass incarceration was incentivized even more in the American justice system.
Which of these two actions is the lesser of two evils? The more actions of a party you examine, the more you will understand which party truly resonates with your personal values. There are plenty of people in the world who are nice to your face and downright evil behind your back. The same is the case with a party’s values as opposed to its actions. It is not what they say, it is what they do. Blind loyalty to any group can have you looking as bad as the Blexiteers.
And what if neither of the two parties’ actions resonate with you? You may have to be bold and start your own movement, just make it one based on fact-filled actions and not emotion-driven values.