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Whitlock: Ben Shapiro and ultra-BLM black elites united in animus toward Kyrie Irving, Muhammad Ali, and Malcolm X

Op-ed
Bettmann / Contributor | Getty Images

The ultra-Black Lives Matter revolutionaries piling on suspended basketball star Kyrie Irving have something in common with Ben Shapiro.

They would all hate Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.

Shannon Sharpe. Stephen A. Smith. Jemele Hill. LeBron James. Charlamagne tha Fraud. James Brown. The people justifying the persecution of Irving over a harmless and boring documentary would all want to silence and deplatform X and Ali in the 1960s.

X and Ali, the highest-profile members of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam religious sect, boldly and clearly complained about an unhealthy relationship and power dynamic between black communities and people Malcolm X explicitly described as “Jewish business owners.” Here’s just one of many examples of it.

In 1964, the Egyptian Gazette newspaper ran a transcript of a speech the NOI spokesperson delivered while in the Middle East. X coined the phrase “Zionist dollarism.”

“The modern 20th-century weapon of neo-imperialism is dollarism,” Malcolm X said. “The zionists have mastered the science of dollarism: the ability to come posing as a friend and benefactor, bearing gifts and all other forms of economic aid and offers of technical assistance.”

Any distaste Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew and establishment conservative, might have for X and Ali would make perfect sense and would not be driven by bigotry. Shapiro could very well value Israel above free speech, and the wildly popular podcaster seems to carefully avoid taking any risk that could get him and the Daily Wire permanently crossways with global corporations. Shapiro isn’t nearly as bold as his high-profile counterparts Candace Owens and Matt Walsh. Owens relentlessly attacks the pathologies destroying black culture. Walsh unapologetically goes after the intellectual justifiers of childhood gender mutilation.

Over the weekend, Shapiro scolded Owens for retweeting the thoughts of Max Blumenthal, a journalist and critic of Zionism. Blumenthal is a white Jew. On Friday, he tweeted:

“We White American Jews are living in a golden age of power, affluence and safety. Acceptance of this reality threatens the entire Zionist enterprise, from lobby fronts like the ADL to the State of Israel, because Zionism relies on Jewish insecurity to justify itself.”

On Sunday, Shapiro quote-tweeted Owens and publicly admonished her, writing:

“I think the ADL is a partisan hack organization, too. But RTing Max Blumenthal, who spends his life covering for Jew-haters and stumping for Israel’s destruction, makes the conversation significantly worse. It’s garbage.”

Shapiro models the same grievance political strategy used by the ultra-BLM crowd. The criticism he leveled at Owens and Blumenthal mirrors the critiques I’ve faced throughout my journalism career. Because I defend America by arguing that black Americans enjoy the highest level of safety, affluence, and freedom of any black people on the planet, the ultra-BLM activists label me, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder, and Candace Owens as traitors unworthy of platforms. Shapiro seems to be doing the same thing to Blumenthal, defining the journalist’s work as garbage and unworthy of consideration because of ethnic disloyalty.

It’s a familiar deplatforming strategy that’s inconsistent with Shapiro’s “facts don’t care about your feelings” mantra.

So what could unite deplatformers on the left and the right?

Power and money, the best friends of idolatry. Idolatry is at the root of all sin. American culture promotes the worship of commerce and power. Idolatry is most pervasive among the people who stand as cultural idols, the publicly celebrated arbiters of truth, the people who falsely believe they’ve ascended to a place of enlightenment above sin. The idolatry of power and money easily and pervasively afflicts ministers, pundits, and social justice warriors regardless of political affiliation. Self-righteousness breeds the kind of arrogance that makes a man or woman think he or she knows who should and should not be allowed to speak freely and be heard.

Self-righteousness fuels cancel culture. Fear guides it.

Faith in God alleviates fear. When American culture more closely adhered to Judeo-Christian values, the media acted more courageously. Journalists probed controversial thinkers and speakers. We aired their thoughts, refuted their misguided beliefs, and pondered their harsh truths.

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali were in constant demand at radio and TV stations, college campuses, and wherever truth was explored.

Fear rules secular societies and undermines the convictions of believers. Fear caused Shapiro to support the experimental vaccines and to instinctively disavow Donald Trump. True journalists should prioritize understanding well ahead of support and disavowment.

Fear is at the root of the reaction to Kyrie Irving, Kanye West, and Max Blumenthal.

The ultra-BLM revolutionaries and ex-jocks turned broadcasters such as Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Reggie Miller fear losing their status and high-paying jobs at ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT, CBS, and NBC.

Black Lives Matter is a for-profit shtick. We know that now because we’ve learned how the movement’s founders spent the $100 million raised in the name of the group’s only begotten son, George Floyd.

The reaction to West and Irving demonstrates how members of the black media and celebrity elite line their bank accounts by pretending to be friends of the “revolution.” What West and Irving said about Jewish people pales in comparison to the rhetoric of X and Ali. It’s not in the same galaxy.

Irving retweeted a graphic of an image of a documentary that was released in 2018 based on a book that was published in 2014. It took eight years before anyone realized that “Hebrews to Negroes” posed an existential threat to the Jewish community? Irving’s retweet of the doc is more harmful than Amazon hosting it?

The overreaction is illogical.

The black elites' rush to condemn Kyrie unmasks their real revolutionary mission. They speak for the corporate elite. They speak for Pfizer and other Big Pharma corporations, the primary advertisers on television, the makers of the experimental vaccines Irving refused to take. They speak for Amazon, the hosting and commerce platform that is now buying sports television rights.

No different from Ben Shapiro, LeBron James, Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Charlamagne tha Fraud, and roughly 90% of all Americans don’t want to get crossways with global corporations. They don’t want to jeopardize their power and the money that comes along with it.

The ultra-BLM revolutionaries are paid to make you believe real racism is BYU students shouting at a black Duke volleyball player or that 10 questionable police shootings involving career criminals are a bigger problem than thousands of black men and boys killed by gang violence.

It’s a very profitable scam. But the deception should be obvious now in the aftermath of the Brooklyn Nets suspending Irving for a tweet.

The revolutionaries spit on Kyrie’s free speech and freedom of religion. They co-signed his canceling. They would do the exact same thing to Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.

LeBron, Smith, Sharpe, and Charlamagne are cowards acting at the behest of corporate overlords. They’re bought and paid for, controlled opposition. I don’t have a problem with it. Just admit it.

I want LeBron to admit that money is his god. He’s not alone. Hip-hop culture is a materialistic, secular culture. It preaches that the pursuit of money justifies all behavior.

Many of the black people disappointed that James and other NBA players haven’t spoken out in support of Kyrie are members of the hip-hop church that breeds love of money.

Many black Christians share the philosophy.

I’m a fan of James Brown, the classy CBS broadcaster. We share the same faith. Our convictions are not the same.

On Sunday, on a CBS NFL pregame show, Brown performed a two-minute monologue that demonized Irving. He insinuated that Irving’s retweet was “anti-Semitic.” Brown never uttered a word about Amazon.

James Brown would hate Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.

Years ago, before secularism and fear took over American culture, we used to want to understand and debate Ali, X, Kyrie, and Kanye.

Ben Shapiro is a very bright man. He has no reason to fear Kyrie, Kanye, Blumenthal, or anyone who disagrees with him. Armed with the truth, he should engage with any critic and let his light push out darkness.

That’s been the history of America until those of us who believe in God and Judeo-Christian culture chose to deprioritize our faith to live more comfortably in a secular world. Our detachment from God has ratcheted up our fear and caused us to be less tolerant of speech we find disagreeable and uncomfortable. The silenced, the demonized, and the unheard become conspiratorial, unpredictable, and dangerous.

The division destroying America can be directly traced to our lack of resolve to protect the free speech of our adversaries.

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