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Squires: Juan Williams, Colin Kaepernick, and Brittney Cooper help white liberals gentrify the minds of black Americans

Op-ed
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The most valuable property that a person controls is his own mind. What he fills it with will impact his values, beliefs, words, and actions.

With each new political controversy and viral moment dealing with race, it seems clear that many black liberals have invited white people — from elected officials to random shoppers at the grocery store — to take up permanent residence in their minds.

The property "black minds" has been completely gentrified by the left, which is why its culture, character, and concerns seem so much different than in previous generations.

Even its zip code — 161964 — is the left's way of signaling that the country has not changed since the first enslaved African was brought to America in 1619 and the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964.

The people who currently live in black minds think that being black in America means nothing but slavery and segregation. Their entire sense of self revolves around being oppressed by white people. They think they're being deep revolutionaries when they hang BLM flags on their porches and liken every proposed law they don't like to slavery.

The hallmarks of urban gentrification include new restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, dog parks, and bike lanes. Gentrification is a complicated topic, because even the people who resist the changes to their neighborhoods appreciate the increase in their property value as well the new amenities that accompany an influx of affluent residents.

Psychological gentrification in black minds has no such perks. The people suffering from it reveal its fatal flaw in the language they use. They talk about destroying, dismantling, and tearing down everything from capitalism to the nuclear family, but rarely give equal time specifying what they would build in their places. It takes a lot of skill to build and sustain things. It takes none to tear them down.

That is why psychological gentrification has been accompanied by a drastic decrease in values and quality of life for the broader black community.

One major sign of it is the inability to weigh the merits of an argument without shifting to assumptions about what white people think about it. Gentrified liberals act like every black non-conformist is being controlled or influenced by white handlers. This is how Nicki Minaj, Kyrie Irving, and Dave Chappelle incurred the wrath of the left for questioning vaccine mandates and transgenderism.

Organizations like the NAACP and black clergy like Reverend William Barber typically fight against any policy that produces racial disparities and threatens black lives. But when it comes to abortion, they claim that the people who want to see more black babies born are agents of white supremacy. The argument always gets back to some version of, "We can't agree with you because the wrong types of white people do too."

Psychological gentrification has also led to less impressive public intellectuals and activists.

Professor Brittney Cooper is a perfect example. There is one recent viral video where she claims that black and brown tribes and nations across the globe were entirely peaceful until European settlers arrived. She also had a TED talk where she claimed that if time had a race, it would be white. Her public track record also includes celebrating the decline of the nuclear family and dismissing the importance of black fathers.

The same decline in critical thinking can be seen in the evolution of Colin Kaepernick. The former NFL quarterback sparked a national conversation on race and policing by kneeling on the sidelines in 2016. Fast-forward a few years and Kaepernick was publicly denouncing the police as modern slave patrols, claiming July Fourth is a celebration of white supremacy, calling for the abolition of police and prisons, and likening black NFL players to slaves.

The effects of this cultural decay have spilled over into the larger American mind. It is what inspires people like Juan Williams to reduce parents concerned about their children's education to talking points about white racial politics. Millions of parents across ethnic lines are angry about the race and gender obsession colonizing K-12 schools, and all Williams, Chris Cuomo, and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe can see are white people.

The left never even asks itself whether it's possible that black parents have as little interest in turning schools into propaganda factories as their white counterparts. Most parents, regardless of race, expect more time to be spent on reading, writing, and arithmetic than skin color and sexual identity. They want their children to learn pronouns for the sake of good grammar, not social conformity.

I know from experience that there is a better way.

I got my start writing with a website called Black and Married with Kids. It was started by a married couple, Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, to provide more positive images of black family life. In addition to providing opportunities for established and new writers, they also produced multiple documentaries on marriage, manhood, and wealth creation. I met my wife at a screening for their third film. The Tylers branched out again when they hosted a series of marriage cruises for black couples interested in combining vacation and tangible relationship tools.

They leveraged the success of BMWK to launch their Traffic Sales & Profit community for black entrepreneurs. The Tylers help everyone from photographers to merchandisers to ad agencies generate and build wealth. They recently opened a large office in Georgia to continue their work and provide economic opportunity to people in their community.

The Tylers are my model for what sites aimed at black audiences should be doing. In the decade I have been associated with BMWK, I don't remember a single article focused on making fun of white people. They created a platform that was all about building — loving relationships, strong families, confident children, sustainable businesses, and generational wealth.

Psychologically gentrified outlets and influencers take the exact opposite positions. They avoid talking about the connection between marriage and family and positive social outcomes. Mentioning the benefits of finishing school, getting a job, marrying, then having children (i.e., the "Success Sequence") will undoubtedly be met with replies about the racial wealth gap and why marriage isn't nearly as important as getting white people on board with systemic change.

You can also see the shift in hip-hop culture. Rappers in the early 1990s responded to the spike in homicides during the crack era with songs like "Self-Destruction" (East Coast) and "All in the Same Gang" (West Coast). None of the artists advocated for ignoring issues like police brutality, but they all wondered aloud how black men who fought off the Klan could turn around and kill each other.

Today, that type of video would be denounced by the Root for talking about "black-on-black crime" and promoting racist stereotypes. No attention would be given to the fact that homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men. All that would matter is the assumption that white people might use that fact to argue against the need for more drastic social change.

The people who resist the forces of psychological gentrification and embrace responsibility draw on a long, but seemingly forgotten, history of black people being self-reliant and self-sustaining.

Booker T. Washington understood this well. He gave his black students at Tuskegee University an education in skilled trades as well as liberal arts. He instilled a sense of pride and dignity in students who were literally building the school in which they learned. He took this approach so that graduates could go back and empower their communities across the rural South. Washington knew that a man who is stable and secure in his own identity can engage, build, and partner with others as equals, not as a child in search of a father to affirm, protect, and provide for him. It's time for those who haven't sold out to buy back the block and build back better.
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