On Friday, Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on all charges in the death of Philando Castile. Castile, a Black motorist, was pulled over because his "wide nose" led Yanez to suspect he was involved in a nearby robbery. I'm not surprised anymore. Honestly, I'm not. Black folk are killed with impunity all the time for a whole lot less. It just drains my soul when I think about his fiancé and her young child bearing witness to his execution.
Yes, that's terrible. But what does that have to do with the NRA?
For starters, Philando Castile was licensed to carry a firearm. Diamond Reynolds, his girlfriend, said he informed the officer of this before he was killed.
And he...matter of fact, let's get one thing straight before we go any further. Yes, Philando Castile was a licensed gun owner exercising his right but he was not killed because of any permit to carry. He was killed because he was Black.
Now, when the N.R.A. finally released a statement after two days, they said "all the facts" need to come in before they take further action. They didn't even bother mentioning his name.
Some members called for a strong show of support for the family. When it didn't come, Marco Gallologic wrote on the N.R.A.’s Facebook page. “…what do I pay fees for if you do not represent gun owners and our rights?”
"Okay, but at least they said something."
Yeah, no. The speed and fervor in which they released their message regarding Philando's death paled in comparison to Dallas and Orlando.
Wayne LaPierre, Chief Executive Officer of the N.R.A., released a press statement "expressing the deep anguish all of us fee" for the officers who were killed.
Oh, and I can't forget about Chris Cox, Executive Director of the N.R.A. Institute for Legal Action, who had no problem blaming Obama, political correctness and Islam for the Pulse tragedy. So no, I'm not giving them any points for that weak shit.
So what do you want exactly? They say nothing, you're angry. They say something, it's not enough. What do you want?
The N.R.A. can't do shit for me, truth be told. I just want them to stop acting like they can have it both ways.
What you mean 'both ways?'
There's been a huge spike in Black people purchasing guns since 45 assumed office. There's also been an uptick in violent hate crimes since the election as well. Black folk are getting ready and rightfully so.
At the same time, the N.R.A. also upped their efforts to bring more Black people into the organization. Mind you, the N.R.A. has been trying to tokeni....I mean, diversify, since 2013. You know, trying to get the whole 'lobbying against gun control post-Sandy Hook' thing out of people's heads.
In February, N.R.A. TV released a mini-documentary about the racist roots of gun control in the United States and...
Wait, what? Yo, that means they're coming around.
Don't get too excited. I listened to it and, yes, there is truth to a lot of their arguments. There was a concerted effort on the part of the white supremacist power structure to keep guns out of the hands of Black people. Yes, the remnants of these racist, unilateral laws still impact Black people today. However, there are a whole bunch of red flags in that video as well.
First off, the people interviewed are all right-leaning in their personal ideology, scholarship, and/or organizational affiliation. There's Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, the giant posterboy for Blue Lives Matter who joyously announced the acquittal of the police officers in the Freddie Gray case at the Republican National Convention. Oh, and a mentally ill man died of dehydration in his jail after they turned off the pipes in his cell as "punishment."
But what abo-
Wait, there more! There's Colion Noir, the Black lawyer and commentator on NRA TV who said the N.R.A. did not have to make a statement on Castile because they gave Noir his own show. That was statement enough...
Okay, but what about...
Wayment, I ain't through yet. I didn't even get to the Democrats.
Yeah, the Democrats. According to the N.R.A., the Democrats are responsible for all this.
Well, aren't they? Democrats were in power when this was happening.
Yes, but that's not the whole truth. Southern Democrats were indeed the vanguard of white racist terror, no question about that. The horrors of chattel slavery and the subsequent Black Codes under Reconstruction led to unimaginable suffering. What the N.R.A. fails to address though is the flight of southern whites to the Republican Party. An increased push for civil rights, anti-lynching laws, and integration from the likes of Hubert Humphrey signaled the rise of the far-right Dixiecrats in 1948. Their shift culminated in the 1964 Presidential election, regarded by many as the revival point of American conservatism. Read This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed
by Charles Cobb. Thank me later.
Since when do you roll with the Democrats?
I don't, I just believe in accurate histories and that was painfully ahistorical. They seem to depend on these non-contextualized and misleading tropes.
Okay, fine. But you still haven't answered my question. How do they want it both ways?
N.R.A. leadership isn't stupid. They understand the political power which would accompany an influx of Black members. It could translate to more revenue, more voices against background checks and weapons bans in new districts, more N.R.A. sympathizers in local and state government.
The N.R.A. claims to want Black people in their organization. That documentary, for all its fallacies, was a direct call for Black gun owners to join them. Yet, there is a major disconnect between their product and their actions. You can't put out a video calling out racism then be silent when a Black gun owner is killed by police. It did nothing but prove how glaringly disingenuous their ploy was.
Their main selling point is the Left doesn't care about Black life. They're right, the Left really doesn't care about Black people...but neither does the N.R.A. I would rather them just say we intend to use Black members for political and economic gain and will do absolutely nothing if things go wrong.
So what are we left with?
I'm just saying that the N.R.A. has no commitment to Black people despite their rhetoric or personalities. I have to question the authenticity behind any attempt to bring Black people into the fold.
They are by no means the only place marginalized people can go to defend themselves. Organizations such as the Pink Pistols and the National African American Gun Association have seen their membership skyrocket since the election. Despite that, the N.R.A. boasting a membership of five million people, isn't going anywhere and will continue influence policy which impact other gun owners and citizens.
The N.R.A. has to reconcile with the fact they have become synonymous with white reactionary paranoia, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia in the public consciousness. It really doesn't seem like they care to though. As long as its membership tolerates that, there is little to no hope for change.
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