The media reaction to the recent election in Virginia represents a low point in the toxic relationship between the left and black voters.
This relationship is characterized by a deep psychological bond between black racial identity and Democratic Party affiliation, elected officials who believe black voters have no viable political alternatives, and the left's weaponization of racism and "white supremacy" as tools of emotional manipulation and social control.
I call this condition the "Selma syndrome."
It played out for the entire world to see after Virginia voters elected Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears to lead the state for the next four years.
Joy Reid claimed parents concerned about what their children are being taught were really motivated by racism. Her fellow MSNBC host Tiffany Cross said many Virginia voters showed they are "OK with white supremacy."
Michael Eric Dyson, a political pundit and professor, claimed that Winsome Sears was a black mouthpiece for white supremacist ideas. To him, the fact that she is the first woman and person of color elected to serve as lieutenant governor of Virginia isn't a sign of progress; it's a sign of white supremacy's ability to adapt to the times.
Jemele Hill, former ESPN personality, said the election was just another opportunity for white voters to uphold white supremacy.
These reactions are obvious symptoms of people with twisted minds.
Selma syndrome combines the defining characteristics of Stockholm syndrome with the ugly history of racism in America. What makes Selma syndrome so powerful is that the history upon which it draws is real.
The backs flayed by the slave master's whip were real. The children ripped from their parents and sold off to the highest bidder were real.
The burning crosses were real. The lynchings were real. The church bombings were real. The police dogs, tear gas, and water hoses were real. The fractured skulls, bloody faces, and beaten bodies on Bloody Sunday were real.
The Civil Rights protesters who eventually crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge are the perfect metaphor for a country moving into a new chapter of its history. President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and called Selma "a turning point in man's unending search for freedom" comparable to the final battles of the Civil War.
But when most of us think about Selma and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, we see it in black and white. It is a pivotal moment in American history that has been frozen in time, but the vividness of the images from that time period is what stokes the fear and anxiety underpinning the Selma syndrome. No black person wants to go back to that America.
The left knows and uses that fear against black voters in the most cynical ways. Democrats have no problem invoking slavery and Jim Crow at any time to push a political agenda that gives them more power and control.
All black Democrats do not suffer from this syndrome. Some voters live in areas where one party controls all local politics. Others have values that align with the Democratic Party platform. Supporting the party isn't the main symptom.
The inability to conceive of a personal identity without the Democratic Party is the key factor for diagnosis.
This is expressed in many ways. One is the assumption that highlighting a candidate's race and gender — assuming they are a Democrat — is enough to expect support, rather than their record and values.
Another is the reflexive instinct to label any black conservative — absent any knowledge of their views — a "sellout" or similarly disparaging term.
Other signs include the view that white supremacy is the default reality of American life and white people are both the source of black oppression and the best hope for black liberation.
One of the best examples of the combination of symptoms is the complete disconnect between the expressed values and voting record of the black, Christian, socially conservative women who are most loyal to the Democratic Party.
Somehow women who view the Bible as the most important book in the world find themselves in complete alignment with a party that supports Drag Queen Story Hour, abortion up until birth, puberty blockers for preteens, sex work as a legitimate industry, the decoupling of marriage and children, keeping poor students trapped in failing government schools, and defunding the police. I doubt most of these women would support these positions on their own if you stripped the party label, but they vote for them anyway.
The specter of America's history of racism has caused many black voters to pledge complete political loyalty to a party it believes will protect them.
That loyalty means that the slightest indication that black people are thinking about splitting from leftism brings forth all of the tactics one would expect from an abuser. There is anger and insult mixed with gentleness and promises to fight for a "black agenda" that includes everything from reparations to student loan cancellation.
Selma syndrome means Democrats and black voters both need to feel like the ghost of Robert E. Lee is always right outside the door. When your existence is grounded in slavery and oppression, freedom and progress can throw you into an existential crisis. That is why people who don't feel the Klan and neo-Nazis are the country's biggest threat are treated with such contempt by the ruling class.
Selma syndrome shows the real danger of introducing race obsession through critical race theory (CRT) to K-12 students. CRT has four basic tenets, described in the book "Critical Race Theory" by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic.
The first is that racism is the norm, not exception, in American life. The second is that white people only act to benefit people of color if those actions also advance their own interests. The third is that race is a social construct that societies invent, use, transform, or discard when convenient. The fourth is the belief that unique histories of oppression among black, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian people give them the knowledge to speak about race and racism to whites.
I have no issue with high school students studying and debating CRT using primary source material. The problem is not that CRT is being studied — it's that it is being applied like religious teachings that cannot be contradicted.
Our children are being subjected to critical race dogma.
The mental and emotional grip of Selma syndrome is so tight that pundits claim that the incoming administration in Virginia is both anti-black and anti-woman even though the current governor either wore blackface or a Klan suit as an adult and the lieutenant governor was accused of sexual assault by two women. The latter went a step further and compared the public scrutiny he received after those allegations to Emmett Till's lynching.
The people who defended Colin Kaepernick's comparison of the NFL combine to slavery also suffer from this condition. If they would take off their race-colored lenses for one second, they would see that the NHL does the same thing to its overwhelmingly white prospects.The left talks endlessly about empowering women, but a black woman whose name is synonymous with being cheerful and lighthearted is treated just as harshly as the former president. That is why people of all colors are starting to stand up against weaponized accusations of bigotry. At this point, the only way I see out of this is to break the psychological bond between politics and racial identity. This is not an argument to simply wed black voters to a new host. It is a call to make politics a less central part of our identity. We've all been held captive for long enough.