Saturday, December 17, 2022


How is the right-wing media scaring your white grandma and grandpa this week? I'll show you how:

From the New York Post story:
An activist warned California’s reparations task force of “a serious backlash” if it does not honor his demands for a six-figure payout for eligible black residents.

Speaking at a meeting of the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans at Oakland City Hall on Wednesday, Deon Jenkins argued that every black Californian should receive a payment of around $800,000 to reflect average home prices in the state, KRCR reported.

“Either they’re going to comply or it’s going to be a serious backlash,” Jenkins said in an interview following the hearing.
Koch-loving Power Line blogger John Hinderaker says the quiet part out loud: "I’m sure that last statement is correct. Having held out the prospect of billions or trillions in government money, there likely would be riots if the government failed to come through."

No, there won't be riots if a thing that hasn't happened in 160 years continues not to happen. And if there's any group protest at all, it's highly unlikely that this guy who's been designated by the right-wing media as the likely leader of the mob could even get a small gathering together.

Who is Deon Jenkins? The Post says,
A self-proclaimed “hip-hop organizer,” Jenkins ran for president in 2016 and 2020, and launched an unsuccessful bid for Senate during the 2022 midterms.
That's technically true. He's released political hip-hop tracks and appears to have filed as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 and 2020, but I can't find any evidence that he appeared on any primary or caucus ballots, not even in New Hampshire, where ballot access is fairly easy -- at least 28 people were on the ballot there in 2016 and 19 in 2020. He did manage to get himself on the ballot for the 2022 California Senate primary, but he finished in 23rd place, with 0.1% of the vote -- 6,936 votes.

How important a leader is Deon Jenkins? Let me put it this way: Jenkins has fewer Twitter followers than I do. That's sad.

But just as in the case of the tiny "New Black Panther" group that stood with weapons in front of a polling place a few election cycles ago -- a bad thing to do, but it doesn't seem to have intimidated anyone -- Jenkins isn't a genuine threat to your pasty white ass, but the right-wing media sure wants you to think he's a threat. The right-wing media wants you scared and outraged.

(Of course the right would focus on an individual villain. As I regularly say, the right religiously follows Saul Alinsky's final Rule for Radicals: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.")

Reparations would be moral justice. But I worry that they're going to inspire the next right-wing backlash, the way Abolish ICE and Defund the Police and Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project and trans rights have inspired backlashes. The right eagerly weaponizes justice movements, especially movements focused on racial or gender equity, and this one seems ripe to be weaponized in the near future. The Guardian reports:
The [California] taskforce has a 1 July deadline to complete its final report for the Legislature listing recommendations for how the state can atone for and address its legacy of discriminatory policies against Black Californians. Lawmakers will need to pass legislation for payments and other policy changes to take place....

On Wednesday, the Boston city council voted to form a taskforce to study reparations and other forms of atonement to Black residents for the city’s role in slavery and its legacy of inequality. Lawmakers in other parts of the country have pushed their states and cities to study reparations without much progress. But Evanston, Illinois, became the first US city last year to make reparations available for Black residents, and public officials in New York will try anew to create a reparations commission in the state.
Even if it's just California, Boston, and Evanston, that'll be enough for the backlash. Chris Rufo will be all over this. So will Fox News. So will Ron DeSantis. I expect the 2024 Republican presidential nominee to win in part on the basis of an angry pledge never to support reparations.

Reparations will be portrayed as a budget-buster that picks the pockets of white, Asian, and Hispanic people, as a handout to the (few) descendants of the enslaved who are now fabulously wealthy, and as The Racist Democrat Party's means of making poor hard-working Volk pay for the consequences of its own racism. (Did you know Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican?) All just in time for the 2024 cycle. Get ready.

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