You know it’s bad when Candace Owens has managed to offend the very people she’s been unsuccessfully trying to galvanize over the past few years in her efforts to sink even deeper into the sunken place. But that precisely the scenario she’s created for Black conservatives with her relentless criminalization of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black man who was jogging when two white men armed themselves, hunted him down and killed him in the middle of a road in broad daylight.
Owens — the same person who sympathized with Adolf Hitler and tried to convince Congress that white supremacy doesn’t exist — has been on a mission to discredit Arbery and blame him for his own death. She has accused Arbery of “breaking into” a property, referred to the notion that he was jogging as a “bullshit narrative” and questioned whether he was really jogging on that fateful February day he was gunned down by accused murderers, Gregory and Travis McMichael.
The attacks on a man who, in death, cannot defend himself proved to be too much for Owens’ fellow Black conservatives, who seem to be united in finally denouncing her hate. Red State, a conservative news website, compiled reactions to Owens’ stance on Arbery from various Black conservatives who have previously worked with and aligned themselves with her work supporting Donald Trump. All eight of them distanced themselves from Owens’ toxicity in no uncertain terms, leaving her on a hateful island all by her lonely.
Johnathan Throwe, the former South Carolina director for BLEXIT, the failed (and Columbused) movement started by Owens to encourage Black people to leave the Democratic Party, reportedly said she would do anything to please white people, including criminalizing a Black man in death.
“BLEXIT could never get any traction going into the Black community trying to speak with residents with the rhetoric and energy Candace is currently exhibiting,” Red State quoted Throwe as saying. “Her facts she presents are only to paint Black America negatively in the face of white supporters. She will blatantly ignore the facts that would equally cause White America to have to look in the mirror themselves on key issues. I decided to resign from BLEXIT to prevent being associated with someone who doesn’t speak for Black people, but speaks against Black people.”
Diante Johnson, President of the Black Conservative Federation, asked a question that has yet to be answered: “Why is she so hateful?” He said Owens was not acting like the Christian she purports to be.
Shermichael Singletary, a moderate conservative voice and a regular political pundit for cable news, spoke directly about Owens without using her name: “if you’re black & a conservative and your only purpose is talking down your own community for applause & acceptance from white people, you have a problem.”
While Owens has been pressured to finally say that Arbery “didn’t deserve to die,” she has consistently parroted the unproven accusation that he was not “just a jogger.”
The tragic Arbery case was only the last instance of Owens being on the wrong side of history. It was only last week that her Twitter account — her main vehicle for spreading her hate online — was suspended for trying to inspire lawlessness in Michigan, which remains in lockdown over coronavirus concerns. Owens encouraged people in Michigan to disobey social distancing guidelines by protesting the stay at home order while the state is officially locked down. Her tweet insisted that the “people of Michigan need to stand up to” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer‘s orders, inciteful phrasing that Twitter apparently found problematic. She went on to suggest that protesters wouldn’t get arrested, seemingly inciting them to defy social distancing orders while brandishing guns, like throngs of them did when they stormed the statehouse last week.
On top of that, Owens has consistently referred to the coronavirus as a hoax and downplayed its very real effects on human lives, including Black people, who have emerged as the disproportionate victims of the highly contagious respiratory disease.
While Black conservatives have been silent about Owens’ hateful opinions on the COVID-19 pandemic, her comments about Arbery were apparently the metaphorical straw that broke their backs. However, it can’t be ignored that this same chorus from Black conservatives was absent from any of the other egregiously hateful instances of Owens’ rhetoric, including but certainly not limited to that time she attacked the Exonerated 5; when she tweeted about wanting Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar deported; and when it was confirmed that a terrorist in New Zealand who slaughtered dozens of Muslims praying in a mosque was “influenced” by her hatred.
Time will tell if these same and other Black conservatives will continue to condemn Owens’ next act of hate or if they will stand by and be complicit as they have been so many times in the past.