Most national reporters wait until their career is over to tell the world how they really feel about the controversies they covered.
Not Douglas Blackmon, who told a conference audience: “I was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal up until a year-and-a-half ago. During the 2010-2012 political season, I wrote a lot about the tea party.
“Now we all know a whole lot of people in the tea party movement are straight up the crazies you think they are. They are way, way crazy. A lot of them are the new Bilbos and Talmadges the representative was describing a minute ago.”
For those unschooled in the nuances of racial grievance, Blackmon was referring to former Democratic Gov. Eugene Talmadge of Georgia and former Democratic Sen. Theodor Bilbo of Mississippi. Bilbo’s racist speeches were so egregious that Republicans in the Senate refused to seat him after he was re-elected in 1946.
That year, it was fashionable to blame the heated pro-segregationist rhetoric of those two Southern politicians for the lynching of four black people in Georgia. Some claimed at least one of the politicians may have actually met with the men suspected of the lynching.
Translation: Tea-party people are crazy, racist killers in word, if not deed.
Blackmon’s comments came when he was a featured panelist at a December meeting of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Annual Legislative Conference in Memphis.
Despite his accusations against the tea party, Blackmon revealed what to some in the room was a surprise, but what was obviously informed by years of high-level reporting for a big-time national publication: Some members of the tea party actually believed in the rights of people to vote. Regardless of race.
Blackmon gave a skeptical audience a chance to mull that over as he concluded his point about where to find allies for their ever-expanding collection of race-conscious government programs.
“There are some people, in that crazy wing of American politics, who in fact are potential allies” of black elected officials, Blackmon allowed.
His remarks did not exactly reflect the tone and content of what he wrote about the tea party for the Journal during the elections of 2010 and 2012.
But it is not all that far off, either.
Even a cursory look at two of his stories in the waning days of the 2010 election show a predilection for repeating the often-discredited canard that the tea party was racist.
In 2010, Blackmon did a blow-by-blow account of internal strife at the tea party that included the obligatory denial: “I am not a racist,” one of the tea-party leaders was forced to admit to the Journal in Oct. 29, 2010.
This came just nine days after another Blackmon story about racism in the tea party. This one ginned up by the NAACP, which issued a report claiming that people in tea party were … racist.
The editors at the Journal might have been fine with it, but at least one reader figured it out.
“The Journal needs to print a retraction,” said James Bucholtz. “The article states that when the congressman walked into the tea party crowd, some spewed racial epithets and spit on a black congressman. This was not caught on tape as the article states. In fact, [Andrew] Breitbart offered $100,000 to anyone who could produce evidence on tape and no one ever responded. In addition, the black congressman later admitted that the man may not have been spitting, but it may have occurred as he was yelling. Big difference between yelling and spitting. Please print a retraction. It appears that author has believed the left-wing lies.”
Even Dave Wiegel at Slate saw through that piece: “What’s the point of even highlighting the fringe racist elements of a movement if not to discredit the whole?”
By the 2010 elections, Blackmon was something of a golden boy at the Journal. His 2009 book that revealed how black people were slaves for 50 years – or more – after the Emancipation Proclamation won a Pulitzer Prize. Soon after, he became a regular on the civil rights rubber-chicken and lecture circuit.
Today, Blackmon toils at the Washington Post as an editor. He also tends to his television duties, producing a documentary on his book, reminding black people they were even bigger victims of white racism than they had imagined.
And how it continues today. Barely abated. If at all. If not worse.
That is how Blackmon found himself to be the only white person in the room at the national gathering of black legislators. All televised on CPSAN and still available online.
The group was talking about a “states agenda” for civil rights when the topic of voter repression came up – known outside the room as voter ID – and Blackmon issued his clinical diagnosis on the mental health of tea-party activists.
Of the dozen or so panelists and elected officials in the audience who would soon speak, no one took up his point or acknowledged there might be something non-racist in conservative American activists worth defending.
But they did have plenty of time to talk about how white liberals make terrible political allies. About Trayvon Martin, and the foundation that bears his name. About how “Stand Your Ground Laws” pose an enormous threat to black people – almost as much as charter schools and anything else the teachers’ unions do not like.
A common theme among these legislators is echoed in school boards around the country: White teachers need special training to teach black children. White teachers are racist, immersed in white privilege, and that is what accounts for the dismal performance of so many black students in American schools today.
The most popular version of that training is called Courageous Conversations, which can be found in more than 200 school districts across the country. The basis of Courageous Conversations is Critical Race Theory, which says two simple things:
1) White racism is everywhere.
2) White racism is permanent.
Marietta English, president of the Baltimore teachers union and vice president of the American Federation of Teachers – both groups big supporters of race-conscious teacher training such as Courageous Conversations – brought home the point.
“We can’t just give them six weeks of training and think they are able to educate our children. There’s (sic) a lot of cultural differences that they don’t understand. If you don’t grow up in the neighborhood, you don’t understand it when we say ‘WASSUP.’ They don’t understand that.”
From the podium, Blackmon sat in silence as one elected official after another talked about racial preferences, racism and who is REALLY responsible for so many black people being in prison.
Blackmon may have had his crazy meter turned off, but former prison psychologist Marlin Newburn did not: And for nearly one hour and 40 minutes, it was humming on high.
“This was one fascinating trip down insane memory lane,” said Newburn. The black “caucus” just voiced re-tread, retro-sixties complaints about the difficult world they live in.
“The video is a great learning experienced for those who have never witnessed a unique pathological trait of the so-called “black community;” one that has been distorting their thinking for decades, and inhibiting their growth. The sick trait is that they have no problem publicly complaining about life conditions they have created for themselves. Maladapted adolescents do this often.
“As well, they sanctify the most pathological people and conditions, i.e., ‘The Trayvon Martin Foundation.’ That would be like white people setting up a scholarship program in memory of John Dillinger.
“At least they had a few hours to play dress-up, and praise each other as they engaged their fantasies of torment and abuse by the massive white hoards who they imagine seek their destruction.”
If you want to take Newburn’s advice and watch the video, it’s easy to find: CSPAN Video: State Agenda on Civil Rights.
Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.”
See a trailer for “White Girl Bleed a Lot”: