Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam
Black Nationalism is hot.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, in which publishing’s answer to Kanye West contended that the white firefighters of 9⁄11 were “not human”, won a National Book Award. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, which indicted a post-racial society as racist, won the next one.
But the dirty little secret is that the target audience for these Black Nationalist tracts is as lily white as the MSNBC lineup.
So it’s no wonder that a brother from the MSNBC hood and The Nation barrio decided to get on board with the revolution. Chris Hayes, who is the same shade as Shaun King, takes his own Rachel Dolezal shot at monetizing Ferguson and writing a Black Nationalist tract with A Colony in a Nation.
A Colony in a Nation boasts an appropriate black and white color scheme. If you’re not very bright and want to understand Hayes’ thesis, “Colony” has a black background and “Nation” has a white one.
America is a nation for white people and a colony for black people. We’re an Apartheid state.
Except it’s not Hayes’ thesis. It’s just another case of white lefties stealing ideas from black people and then marketing them. Chris Hayes just dived into his closet, reached into a moldy pile of back issues and dug out Internal Colonialism. Now Hayes is presenting that old moldy idea as a provocative new thesis.
But that’s the Black Nationalist revival in a nutshell. Black Lives Matter’s totem is seventies terrorist Assata Shakur. Ibram X. Kendi’s model in Stamped is Angela Davis. The Black Nationalist revival is a laughably Black-ish effort by the Kanye Wests of a rising African-American middle class to compensate for their privileged lives with the radical tantrums of Black-ish Nationalism by privileged racists.
Black-ish Nationalism by college students is both racist and silly. But Coates still makes a much more convincing racial revolutionary than MSNBC’s less masculine version of Rachel Maddow.
Chris Hayes writes about black people without knowing anything about them. He approaches the black people he talks to with the awed enthusiasm of an anthropologist discovering a lost tribe in the Borneo. Worse still he’s clearly writing for an audience to whom black lives are equally exotic and obscure.
It’s awkward, racist and ignorant. He insists that in the white “Nation” the ”citizens call the police to protect them” but in the black “Colony, subjects flee the police, who offer the opposite of protection.”
That silly pompous rant would embarrass any decently ignorant Bard College sophomore.
How, one wonders, does Hayes think that police respond to calls in black communities at all? Is Detroit’s tiny white minority responsible for all the 911 calls? What does he think that black people do when someone is breaking into their house? Turn on MSNBC? Throw a copy of A Colony in a Nation at them?
Hayes used to live in a “nice neighborhood” in Chicago. Last year, the Chicago Sun Times reported that black neighborhoods on the South Side have so overloaded 911 with calls that there aren’t enough police officers to respond to burglaries, just shootings.
At the end of last month, 5 people, including a pregnant woman were shot and killed on the South Side. Bystanders weren’t fleeing the police. They were hoping that the police would show up.
Calumet Heights, the home of Chicago’s black middle class, was the most in need of police officers to respond to 911 calls. And the least likely to get the “occupying force” to come to the “colony”.
Deborah Graham, an African-American member of the Chicago City Council, said that her biggest complaint from constituents is how long it takes police to answer 911 calls.
No less a prog org than the ACLU filed suit complaining that police officers don’t respond to 911 calls in black neighborhoods in a timely manner. You can allege that police officers don’t respond to 911 calls in black neighborhoods because they’re racists or that they do respond to them because they’re racists.
But not both at the same time.
Police don’t aggressively police African-American neighborhoods to protect white people, but to protect black people. Black community leaders were some of the most vocal voices calling for the war on drugs.
A Black Nationalist would say that the African-American dentist in Calumet Heights trying desperately to get the police to respond to the junkie breaking into his home is a race traitor. If Chris Hayes accepts his appropriated “colony” metaphor, then the black people who call the police are collaborators.
Of course A Colony in a Nation doesn’t bother to think that far. Instead it gorges on white guilt and black victimhood. Hayes’ model of the apartheid state demands that white people be the ones to call the cops on black people. His narrow experience of black people is such that he sees them as perpetrators.
And feels guilty for it.
In one of the most toxic moments in A Colony in a Nation, Hayes debates whether to call the police after watching black teens mug a man in a park. The MSNBC host wants to avoid being complicit in the colonial oppression of the muggers. Instead he’s complicit in the mugging.
This, in a nutshell, is the left’s pro-crime politics which does no one, black or white, any favors.
“The boys had crossed over from disorderliness to unlawfulness,” Hayes fussily narrates. “Acting the fool was one thing but taking someone’s phone was quite another. Who knew what they would get up to next?”
He reaches for his own phone, but then remembers Michael Brown and can’t decide whether to call.
It’s not exactly Soul on Ice. Like Coates, Brother Hayes can’t get out of his own self-dramatizing head. And like Coates, what’s inside is petty and unworthy of all the involved dramatization.
Hayes generalizes his own fear of black crime. And the accompanying guilt. “American history is the story of white fear,” he insists. But that’s not America. It’s Chris Hayes. He’s afraid, guilty and privileged at the same time. Despite writing a book meant to cash in on Ferguson and Black-ish Nationalism, he doesn’t understand black people or even how law enforcement and crime work.
In one of the most unintentionally hilarious passages in A Colony in a Nation, Hayes notes that, “Between 1960 and 1980, as the crime rate spiked and the existing system processed the increase.”
”We locked up a relatively small percentage of people compared to the overall number of crimes committed. But starting in 1980, the punishment rate skyrocketed. And then, crucially, even as crime began to fall and then fell sharply in the mid-1990s, the incarceration rate continued to rise. Why did this happen?”
Why indeed. No Communist confused by the collapse of collectivist agriculture or Aristotelian baffled by Galileo could be more befuddled. Hayes’ dogmatic answer to this, as to everything else, is white racism. But locking up criminals is why crime rates kept falling. Crime is driven by repeat offenders. What lefties like Hayes call mass incarceration is what really kept crime rates down to unprecedented lows.
The revolving door justice system of the left is why crime rates shot up. Hayes treats incarceration as a temporary fearful response to crime rates. But crime rates are actually a response to incarceration. If you actively keep locking up criminals, crime rates stay low.
Hayes’ contribution Black-ish Nationalism is a tepid confession of privileged white guilt. But he understands that the market for a book like A Colony in a Nation isn’t in the inner city. Or even among a rising African-American middle class, but among privileged white leftists like him. In Colony, Hayes confesses their sins for them while recycling the same old dogma about the white desire for order driving policing, rather than any of the families of the 762 murdered and 4,331 shot in Chicago.
All of this is dressed up in a hoary Internal Colonialism frame that might just impress college students. Hayes, MSNBC, The Nation and his entire audience exist in a narrow urban and suburban world of wealthy white liberal neighborhoods and poor black ones. A Colony in a Nation is that experience. It just isn’t a reflection on America, but on the insularity, and the class and racial hypocrisies of leftist elites.
Their answers to everything are racism and privilege because they are privileged racists.
Hayes is close to the truth. But he just has everything backward. There is a colony in the nation. And he and his audience are it. The nation, which largely agrees on everything from border security to fighting crime, has been colonized by a wealthy leftist elite which sets the agenda for the entire country.
It is even, as Hayes described America, “a place controlled from outside rather than from within. A place where the law is a tool of control, rather than a foundation for prosperity… a political regime… like the one our Founders inherited and rejected, a political order they spilled their blood to defeat.”
That is the leftocracy that controls America. That announces its plans to “resist” the results of a democratic election because it is convinced of its own absolute entitlement to control its colony.
The colonial elite of men like Hayes is entirely detached from the nation. It exists in the realm of theory. It interprets everything through an augmented reality of ideology. It’s gobbling Black Nationalist tracts and even writing them not because it cares about black people, but because the colony hates the nation.
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