Blackout vs. White Fragility
Candace Owens shows what real anti-racism looks like.
[Order Candace Owens' new book, 'Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation': HERE.]
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
White Fragility, a racist tract by Robin DiAngelo, a white leftist, has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of a million copies. It’s been praised by Democrats, assigned on Fortune 500 corporate reading lists, and DiAngelo commands speaking fees as high as $20,000.
Blackout by Candace Owens won’t show up at your local critical race theory seminar. The conservative activist isn’t welcome because she tells the truth about racism and its profiteers. Where DiAngelo has a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington, Owens has a degree in experiencing real-life racism that the Seattle institution can’t offer.
Owens doesn’t have a Ph.D. in Multicultural Education; instead, as she writes of her childhood, she grew up as part of ”a family of six” in a “small, three-bedroom apartment within a run-down, roach-infested building” where “fistfights, police visits, and drama were commonplace.”
To DiAngelo, racism is about the experience of being white. Black people exist in DiAngelo’s world as objects, not subjects, casting light on the elemental evil of whiteness. To be white is to be racist, while being black means being the victim of white racism. Black people only matter as weapons in a struggle between white people over the meaning of race, nationhood, and justice.
"Being black in America today means to sit at the epicenter of the struggle for the soul of our nation," Owens writes in the introduction to Blackout. The theme of her book and her activism is that black people are not just adjuncts to a debate between white people over who they are.
Black people, along with everyone else, are challenged to determine who they want to be.
The pervasive nature of racism, the seemingly endless and omnipresent power of whiteness to lurk everywhere and nowhere that is at the heart of critical race theory and anti-racism, is, as Owens notes in Blackout a “boogeyman” whose message is the same as that of the racism it claims to be fighting against by insisting on black helplessness and infinite white power.
As Owens writes, “One must believe in black inferiority to accept the thesis that black America is not responsible for any of its own shortcomings in a free society.”
This is what real anti-racism looks like.
White Fragility, like most leftist literature on race, is fatalistic with everyone stuck in what Owens writes in Blackout are “predetermined” roles, “a routine of failure followed by alleged blamelessness due to perceived impotence”. Where DiAngelo focuses on teaching everyone to understand their respective racial roles, Owens shows how we can transcend them.
Where White Fragility is a tract of ugly racist despair, Blackout is a labor of hope.
Owens experienced the reality early on that racism is both real and commodified as an unreal weapon for political agendas when she faced racist harassment in high school from a former friend, and, among others, the son of the future Democrat governor of Connecticut.
A real-life event that began with her soon reduced her to a bystander, an object in someone else’s political game, as she writes, "I never had an interview or a meeting with any of my so-called allies who were so eager to speak out about racism but not interested in me."
Racism is a product and, as Owens notes, "The entire Democrat platform is built upon an everlasting stream of victims versus oppressors”, and, at an early age, she found herself turned into a means of reinforcing the idea that black people are perpetual victims who need rescuing.
As she later writes, ”We have arrived suddenly into an era of more insistence on rather than actual resistance against racism.”
From there, Blackout dives into the origins of the KKK, Margaret Sanger’s genocidal eugenics, FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s pursuit of the Great Society, and the entire sordid Democrat plan for black people. As Owens writes devastatingly of LBJ, he had “both convinced black America that he was their greatest savior and ensured that they would forever be in need of saving.”
“Black America was both freed and enslaved again within one presidency,” she concludes.
The addiction being served is not just the tangible one of material advantages, but the intangibles of victimhood, which appear to liberate only to enslave its subjects.
“I have given consideration to the idea that recognizing our equality might make some black people uncomfortable, because with no one to blame but ourselves for failures, the weight of our own irresponsibility may seem too heavy a burden to bear,” Owens contemplates.
It’s at the opposite message of White Fragility with its eternal burden of white guilt and black victimhood in which it is the job of black people to tell white people how racist they are. Racism, both real and unreal, is a burden on black people and on white people, its tropes are seductive, its obsession with power, the dynamics of victimhood and oppression, redemption and destruction, corrupts character and taints all our achievements, not in our DNA, but our souls.
Blackout’s answer is self-sufficiency. Real power doesn’t come from victimhood, but from taking control of your life. Handouts, as Owens notes in chapters on everything from socialism, to the New Deal and the Great Society, haven’t empowered black people, they’ve destroyed them.
“Black America will never become prosperous via welfare and government handouts; if it were possible, it would have already happened,” Owens acidly observes.
Instead Black America has become dependent. Generation had learned to see themselves as victims of racism, instead of as operators of their own destiny. Welfare handouts shattered the black family in much the same fashion as slavery. What segregation could not do to the black family, LBJ’s Great Society did by dividing and breaking apart black men and women.
Long after the KKK and segregation, black people are still the Democrat means to wield power. And all they had to do was give up their families, their independence, and their self-respect.
“After 345 years of having our personal responsibility stripped from us by governing white society, we allowed that same white society to take it right back,” she writes.
The theme of White Fragility, like so much of the current critical race theory tracts, is that black people can only become free by confronting white people. Blackout’s theme is that black power can only come from wielding it to confront personal failings and achieving personal goals.
Power comes from personal responsibility, from hard work and liberation, not from victimhood. Freedom doesn’t come from being tethered to your pain, but using it to make something bigger.
The fundamental question of Blackout and, in its own implicit way, White Fragility, is whether black liberation is an end in of itself, or a means of pushing America further leftward? Is black achievement the ultimate form of liberation or a means of advancing America to utopia?
Blackout challenges black and white people to see achievement as liberation, rather than seeing liberation as achievement. Black people are physically free, but they’re enslaved by the intangible chains of the mind that tether them to the crippling ideology of victimhood.
“Let us turn the lights off in the liberal establishments of America as we shut the door behind us. Let us make this blackout a reality,” Owens concludes, hammering home the message of her title.