Hey, remember the early days of rock & roll?
Even if you don’t remember them, surely you’ve heard the story:
How white people stole rock & roll from black musicians, paying them a pittance (if that) for their music, then getting rich and famous?
How decades later, a bunch of almost forgotten, destitute black artists sued and won millions in royalties?
Not everybody knows the other side of the story, though, because naturally that would ruin the liberal narrative.
The “other side” being that sometimes, black artists were ripped off by… other black artists.
That’s right: Rock & roll was a black-on-black crime.
For instance, Little Richard is revered today, and quite rightly, as a musical pioneer.
But whenever I see him referred to as “an original,” I smirk.
Many insist that Little Richard lifted his whole “thing” from a guy named Esquerita and — contrary to that prevailing narrative — made quite a bit of money in the process.
(Esquerita, on the other hand, died of AIDS, broke, at age 48.)
And by the way, Little Richard wasn’t even that busted up about Wonder-Bread-white Pat Boone doing insipid covers of his incendiary tunes:
After all, he said, the kids bought both records, so he got paid twice.
And I’ll ask again:
If America is so evil, how the hell did TWO out-there black guys — one of whom was obviously bisexual — who wore makeup and hairspray, banged on pianos and screamed about loving either teenaged girls or Jesus not get either locked up or lynched?
And now for something completely different — “Dress British, think Yiddish.” http://t.co/Wbm8MpYMFU
— Dana Beyer (@DanaBeyerMD) February 4, 2015
Finally, they’re Jew-ing up Downton Abbey. Rose, the troublesome teen who nearly ran away with a black American jazz singer last season, is now falling for Ephraim Atticus Aldridge whose family escaped Russian pogroms. What makes this love affair more acceptable to the Granthams, whose own matriarch comes from Jewish blood? Well, the money and the title help, but the reality is that Atticus is white. Tom the socialist chauffeur worked his way into the heart of the family sans money and title, but could a darker-skinned outcast have done the same? Not in an England where appearances were everything and eugenic theory was at an all-time high. Russian royalty ex-pats won’t accept Atticus as anything but a “Jew” and the jury is still out when it comes to the Crawley clan. Perhaps because, even in today’s England, just because Ashkenazim (European Jews) know how to play the game doesn’t mean they always win.
When I joined the Hillel as a grad student in Texas I was excited to finally not hear the one comment that had plagued me throughout many of my Jewish encounters growing up: “You don’t look Jewish.” Each time I heard the seemingly benign statement from some gorgeous, dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned individual with obvious Ashkenazi roots and a tinge of a New York accent I thought, “Weren’t you in history class when we talked about the Holocaust and the dangers of so-called racial identity?” Our problem with race extends beyond America’s borders. While Israel is the proof that being Jewish has absolutely nothing to do with how you look, Israelis still struggle with “whiteness” and race. The idol of race is a dangerous fence that has to be hacked down if we’re ever to survive as a people.
I’d like to issue a sincere apology. It’s the thing to do these days — everyone’s sorry for something. For example, Benedict Cumberbatch apologized recently after he had the gall to advocate for minorities in show business. His great crime was using the unacceptably outdated term “colored actors” instead of the utterly unrelated and vastly dissimilar approved phrase “people of color.” For this unpardonable sin (formerly known in less enlightened cultures as a “slip of the tongue”), Cumberbatch was rightly commanded to abase himself at the stern and glorious altar of public opinion.
But Cumberbatch obviously isn’t the first — apologizing is so hot right now. It’s practically a spectator sport. Jonah Hill, Alec Baldwin, Christian Bale — they’re all buying into the craze. That many glamorous people can’t possibly all be wrong, so today I’d like to get in on the fun. I’d like to say that I’m really, really sorry.
But the thing is, not all apologies are created equal. You can’t just bat your eyes insincerely and put on your poutiest face. That is certainly not what being a celebrity is all about! No, to really apologize with the big dogs, you have to get down on your knees and beg for mercy. Luckily, The Atlantic is here to help: when Cumberbatch performed his act of penance, Atlantic staffers took the opportunity to enlighten us about how to really repent at the feet of the American press. So I’m going to use the Atlantic’s doctrine to make sure I get my own apology right. After all, Our Journalistic Overlords know best (peace be unto them).
For one thing, when I’m apologizing, I won’t dare suggest that the media goons howling for my blood over a transitory non-issue might be the tiniest bit hyper-sensitive. “Implying that anyone who took issue . . . was overly touchy” is just another way of trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for your filthy, reprehensible crime, explains The Atlantic. Saying “I’m sorry if you were offended” implies that the Left might not have every right to be outraged at your despicable bigotry. After all, it’s your fault if people are ripping you to shreds for using a term that is literally in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. You’re the one who had the audacity to be white and say words.
And I definitely won’t “walk into the chagrinned-white-person trope of referencing [my] non-white ‘friends’” when I make my apology. I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to pretend that routinely being kind to people of other races in any way excuses me from the charge of virulent racism. What a laughable idea! Obviously loving your neighbor is nowhere near as important as using the precise terminology that our Great Thought Masters deemed intellectually sanitary and appropriate all of five minutes ago. As Cumberbatch himself said while undertaking his cleansing ritual of contrition, what matters most is the “need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive.” In other words, it’s no good actually being a decent human if you don’t let the Left tell you exactly what words to say at all times.
So when I make my apology, I’ll make sure not to say “I’m sorry” to any real live human beings whom I could actually have conceivably hurt. Instead I’ll be issuing my apology to a nameless, faceless collective known as “Anyone Whom I Offended.” That way I will forever remain at the mercy of an undefined mass of people whose imperious outrage gives them the right to judge my every thought, word, and deed at any moment. I will reach out into the beyond to address Anyone Whom I Offended through their divine oracles and representatives on earth: mainstream journalists and late-night talk show hosts. These exalted keepers of the sacred mysteries are the only ones fit to evaluate the worthiness of my repentance.
“Now Spencer,” you may well ask, “what are you sorry for?” I know — it’s difficult to imagine what it could possibly be. After all, I’m awesome. Could it be that, like Cumberbatch, I committed the grievous offense of saying an unapproved word? Or, like Billy Crystal, am I guilty of the thought-crime of holding a “socially engrained attitude” towards homosexuality “in the gut rather than the intellect”? After all, according to The Atlantic, thinking forbidden thoughts is “part of the same phenomenon that causes discrimination, suicide, youth homelessness, and murder.” So no matter how scrupulous I am, I probably thought something bad one time, and that’s the same as killing someone. I’d like to apologize. Here goes.
To Anyone Whom I Offended within the mysterious ether: I am desperately and passionately sorry for my impure thoughts. I offer my frantic apologies to all of the innocent babies who were slaughtered mercilessly in their sleep by my wayward words and feelings. I know that I can never undo these deplorable acts because I am myself a scourge on the very universe, lowlier than a worm. However, as a symbol of my righteous self-loathing, I hope you will accept this speech, which I will recite nightly on my knees before the twin altars of People magazine and The Tonight Show. I also promise to wear a hair-shirt under all my runway suits for the duration of my career, and to offer five Our Fathers a day to Al Sharpton, to whom I am apparently accountable for some reason. I will embrace suffering like a lover and pain like an old friend, to the eternal glory of Progressivism. Amen.
I feel better already. If you’re reading this out there, beware! You may have unrepented sins (such as saying something mean about Lena Dunham or thinking unflatteringly about Perez Hilton) on your conscience. I implore you to make amends by posting a heartfelt apology in the comments section of this article as soon as possible. And may Jimmy Fallon have mercy on your soul.
This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:
- Sarah Hoyt, March 22 2014: Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island
- David S. Bernstein, June 20 2014: What Is Liberty Island?
- Adam Bellow at National Review, June 30 2014 kicking off the discussion: Let Your Right Brain Run Free
- Dave Swindle on September 7, 2014: Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution
- Dave Swindle on September 9, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I
- Dave Swindle on September 19, 2014: The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part II
- David S. Bernstein on November 19, 2014: 5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture
- Dave Swindle on November 25, 2014: 7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook
- Dave Swindle on December 2, 2014: My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors
- Mark Elllis on December 9, 2014: Ozzy Osbourne and the Conservative Tent: Is He In?
- Aaron C. Smith on December 22, 2014: The Villains You Choose
- Paula Bolyard on January 1, 2015: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives
- Susan L.M. Goldberg on January 1, 2015: The Plan to Take Back Feminism in 2015
- Kathy Shaidle on January 4, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part One)
- Andrew Klavan on January 5, 2015: In 2015 The New Counter-Culture Needs to Be Offensive!
- Clay Waters on January 5, 2015: The Decline and Fall of Russell Brand
- Mark Ellis on January 5, 2015: How Conservatives Can Counter the Likable Liberal
- Audie Cockings on January 5, 2015: Entertainers Have Shorter Lifespans
- Aaron C. Smith on January 6, 2015: How Mario Cuomo Honestly Defined Zero-Sum Liberalism
- Stephen McDonald on January 10, 2015: Why the New Counter-Culture Should Make Strength Central to Its Identity
- Stephen McDonald on January 16, 2015: The Metaphorical War
- Kathy Shaidle on January 19, 2015: Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)
- Frank J. Fleming on January 20, 2015: What if Red Dawn Happened, But It Was Islamic Terrorists Instead of Communists?
- Mark Ellis on January 21, 2015: Adam Carolla: The Quintessential Counterculture Conservative?
- Aaron C. Smith on January 29, 2015: Objection! Why TV’s The Good Wife Isn’t Good Law
- David Solway on February 2, 2015: For a Song To Be Good, Must It Tell The Truth?
- Mark Ellis on February 6, 2015: President Me: Adam Carolla Vs. the Scourge of Narcissism
- David Solway on February 6, 2015: ‘Imagine’ a World Without the Brotherhood
- Aaron C. Smith on February 10, 2015: Kick NBC While It’s Down: Use The Williams Scandal to Set the Terms of the 2016 Debates
image illustration via here
“Black” has become an idol. Oddly enough we learned that lesson through the making of Selma, a film focused on the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who boldly declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Director Ava DuVernay defended the rewriting of history into what amounts to a black power narrative (mythical kneeling blacks before white cops and all), stating, “This is art; this is a movie; this is a film. I’m not a historian. I’m not a documentarian.” The mainstream media jumped on the bait thrown out by the film’s star David Oyelowo, who declared that ”parallels between Selma and Ferguson are indisputable.” The fact that neither the Academy nor filmgoers fell march-step in line only acted as further proof of the conspiracy against “black and brown people” in Hollywood.
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2014
The race war fomented in the rise of the Black Power movement (the nasty “alternative” to King’s civil rights movement) continues unabated. In fact, it has opened on a new front, one that ties racial strife with national security and even international relations. Playing on strong ties to the Nation of Islam, Black Power now has its eye set on the Palestinian territories and places like Ferguson, Missouri, and the like are set to become the next battleground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making way for the planting of hotbeds of radical Islamic terror.
But, to tell the story of Ferguson and Florida’s black activists traveling on solidarity missions to the Palestinian territories is to exact the same kind of indecent omissions as DuVernay. There are blacks out there who support Israel and who, in fact, draw inspiration from the civil rights movement in doing so. The primary difference between these black Zionists and their Black Power counterparts: They are motivated by Jesus, not Islam.
…in 2006, Cornetta Lane an African American at Wayne State University, even went as far as expressing this support by singing Hatikvah in front of an anti-Israel protester who claimed that Israel was a racist state.When Jewish students asked at the time why she sang Hatikvah, Cornetta replied that her pastor, Glen Plummer, explained that Jews significantly helped out African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and that Jews contributed significantly to both the NAACP and the Urban League, and were advisers to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thus, when she saw that there was going to be an anti-Israel rally, Cornetta decided to take this step.
Much like Cornetta Lane, Chloe Valdary has drawn on her uniquely Biblical Christian upbringing and study of the civil rights movement to develop her own brand of Zionist activism. Dubbed “the Lioness of Zion,” Valdary started a pro-Israel student group on her college campus that garnered national attention, turning the college student into a speaker for a variety of Zionist organizations, including CAMERA and CUFI:
The parallels’ between the black struggle during the civil rights movement and the Jewish people today insofar as the legitimacy of Zionism is concerned is staggering. Martin Luther King Jr. [was] a Zionist but more importantly he realized that we must advance our duty when advancing the cause of human rights today. If he were alive today, he would surely be pro-Israel. This is one of the reasons why I am such a staunch Zionist.
Valdary is not alone. Dumisani Washington, a pastor and music teacher in Northern California, has formed the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, an organization “dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Jewish people, and people of African descent through education and advocacy.” Raised a Christian, Washington had a strong interest in the Old Testament and Hebrew history at a young age. Growing up in the segregated south, he drew inspiration from the Exodus as well as Martin Luther King:
Dr. King was a staunch supporter of the State of Israel and a friend of the Jewish people. Many who know of his legacy know of his close relationship with Rabbi [Avraham] Joshua Heschel as well as the Jewish support for the Black civil rights struggle. Many are unaware, however, of the negative push back Dr. King got from some people. Particularly after the 1967 war in Israel, international criticism against the Jewish State began to rise. Dr. King remained a loyal friend, and made his most powerful case for Israel almost 1 year after the Six Day War – and 10 days before his death.
Both Valdary and Washington have raised the ire of pro-Palestinian organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organization that misappropriates black history and depicts black supporters of Israel as the Uncle Toms of the 21st century. Contrary to the Black Power impetus forging the Ferguson-Palestine relationship, Washington has outlined the differences between the Palestinian liberation and civil rights movements, and in an open letter to SJP, Valdary condemned the organization, writing:
You do not have the right to invoke my people’s struggle for your shoddy purposes and you do not get to feign victimhood in our name. You do not have the right to slander my people’s good name and link your cause to that of Dr. King’s. Our two causes are diametrically opposed to each other.
Americans remain blind to these modern day civil rights/Zionist activists because, contrary to the preaching of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we have been made into a color-centric society by the Black Power movement and its contemporary descendants. Race has become an idol. Black Power has created the mythical “black and brown faces” to be honored through tokens of affirmative action while sacrificing living human beings on the altar of ghetto culture because of the color of their skin. To remain blind to the idolatry of race is to remain blind to the real struggle for civil rights in America, the struggle to be viewed as a human being instead of a race-based demographic or a color-based “minority.” This is the struggle that unites rather than divides us on issues of economy, quality of life, and yes, even national security and the threat of terrorism.
A black man who was found guilty of murdering two white teenagers execution-style in a vacant Detroit field defiantly declared “black lives matter” Wednesday before being sentenced to life in prison.
Fredrick Young and Felando Hunter were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for robbing, torturing and murdering Jourdan Bobbish and Jacob Kudla, who had met up with them in July 2012 to buy drugs, a local Fox affiliate reported.
Young shocked the courtroom when he was given the chance to address the victims’ families, but instead apologized to the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
“I’d like to say sorry to the families of Aiyanna Jones, Michael Brown, Eric Garner,” he said. “And I want to apologize to them for not being able to get justice for their loved ones who was murdered in cold blood.
“And in respect for the peaceful protest, I want to say ‘hands up don’t shoot,’” he said, raising his hands in the air. “Black lives matter — that’s it your honor.”
Young’s life mattered — until he chose to become a killer.
Illustrating the point I made in these pages three weeks ago — that movies with conservative or libertarian themes did amazingly well at the box office in 2014 - American Sniper has made over $110 million this month, shattering January box office records, and is well on its way to becoming Clint Eastwood’s most successful movie.
For many on the left, this cannot stand. So while positive reviews pour in and moviegoers sell out theaters all across the country, criticism of the film — and the Iraq War — is growing.
Steve Pond, at TheWrap, writes “multiple Academy members told TheWrap that they had been passing around a recent article by Dennis Jett in The New Republic that attacks the film for making a hero out of [Chris] Kyle.” One Academy member was quoted as saying that Kyle “seems like he may be a sociopath” before admitting that “he had not yet seen the film.”
That didn’t stop The New Republic, which published Jett’s hit piece on the film before he’d seen it as well, basing the review on the film’s trailer and the book upon which it was based. If you’ve read that book, Jett writes, then you know that, “[Kyle’s] bravado left no room for doubt. For him, the enemy are savages and despicably evil. His only regret is that he didn’t kill more.”
Lindy West at The Guardian struck a similar chord, writing that Kyle “bare minimum, was a racist who took pleasure in dehumanising and killing brown people.” It is unclear whether or not West saw the film before publishing the piece, which is more about the film’s backstory.
Alex Horton, also writing for The Guardian and a veteran of the Iraq War, did see the film and gets to the heart of Kyle’s guilt, “not the guilt of taking lives, but the agony of not saving enough. It’s a vital part of countless veterans that civilians must understand.”
Chris Kyle is confirmed to have killed 160 people, and he claimed to have killed 255. In a 2012 interview with Time he appeared to confirm the fears of Jett and West, saying
I’m not over there looking at these people as people. I’m not wondering if he has a family. I’m just trying to keep my guys safe.
These three sentences perfectly capture the controversy surrounding the film and the moral ambiguity surrounding the Iraq War itself.
Chris Kyle killed a lot of brown people. Liberals will focus on this fact almost to the exclusion of all others. It doesn’t matter what those brown people were doing, or would have done. America invaded Iraq under false pretenses and it follows, in Jett’s analysis, that every “excess” death in Iraq can be laid at the feet of not only George W. Bush, but every single American.
Seven-hundred-ninety-six of those “excess” deaths occurred on August 14, 2007, near Mosul, Iraq, in what is second only to 9/11 as the deadliest terrorist attack in history. Four near-simultaneous suicide car bombs, targeting the Yazidi community in Kahtaniya and Jazeera, “crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened.”
I would characterize this as “despicably evil.” I can think of few things more evil than slaughtering innocent men, women, and children, but liberals like Jett must find a way to rationalize evil to place the blame on the American people. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, according to the theory, then this wouldn’t have happened. The American invaders, therefore, are responsible for creating this evil.
But are we? The same Yazidi community targeted in 2007 was persecuted and massacred again by ISIS just last year. America famously left Iraq in 2011, but the killing hasn’t stopped.
I lived in a small outpost in central Baghdad for months during the surge in 2007 — we were attacked only once by harassing small-arms fire. The gas station less than a mile away from our outpost was blown up by a car bomb that summer, killing scores of innocent civilians. The murderers didn’t target my team, they targeted innocent civilians. Am I responsible for that massacre?
There is an insidiously racist strain in much of the commentary surrounding American Sniper and the Iraq War. Calling Chris Kyle a racist because he killed a lot of brown people dehumanizes the people he killed. They weren’t marionettes forced to dance by the hand of American foreign policy. The people who ordered the suicide attacks which killed nearly 800 Yazidi in 2007 were living, breathing sentient human beings making their own decisions.
They were brown people capable of and enthusiastic about murdering hundreds of people.
That sentence may strike many on the Left as irredeemably racist, but it is precisely the opposite. All humans are capable of evil. White people in the U.S. military are capable of evil, former SSG Robert Bales being just one example. Evil is not the defining characteristic of white military members, and it is not the defining characteristic of brown Iraqis.
Chris Kyle had to clearly delineate between good and evil. In the film’s opening sequence he is confronted with a woman and a young boy moving toward a group of Marines with a grenade. That woman was not in a military uniform and was not carrying arms openly, unlawful under the Geneva Convention. She was hoping that her gender — and the fact that she was with a child — would prevent decent American troops from identifying her as a threat before she could kill a few of them.
In Kyle’s judgment she was “already dead,” the only question was how many soldiers she would take with her. His answer? Zero.
Many of the people we fought in Iraq wouldn’t bother with this type of moral calculation. Sunni suicide bombers and Shiite death squads did quite the opposite of Kyle, killing as many innocent men, women and children they could.
When we find evil in our military ranks — like we did at Abu Ghraib — we punish those responsible. We can argue about whether the right people were punished, or whether they were punished severely enough, but compare that process to the Al Qaeda or ISIS process to prosecute members of their organizations who kill innocent civilians.
Except you can’t. Killing a massive number of innocent civilians is their preferred tactic. That’s evil.
Murdering someone because of their religion is evil. Murdering someone for a cartoon they published is evil. Murdering someone because of their sexual orientation is evil. Are any of these things made less evil when they are perpetrated by brown people?
No. And to suggest as much is racist and dehumanizing.
At the root of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the several controversies which have fueled it, lies a critical disagreement over the nature and importance of property. At first glance, in the midst of an unarmed shooting and a death by choke-hold, it may not seem like property rights stand out. But they do.
From the moment Michael Brown committed a strong arm robbery, through the looting and arson which have characterized the response to his shooting death, to the trespass and harassment which have been committed and sanctioned by protestors across the nation, the implicit (and sometimes explicit) narrative has been that property does not matter.
I responded here at PJ Media and on my Fightin Words podcast to Reason author Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s critique of a city attorney for pursuing criminal and civil charges against Black Lives Matter protestors who staged an unlawful demonstration at the Mall of America. Both Brown and the organizers she quoted repeatedly referred to the event, an admitted act of trespass, as “peaceful.”
My thesis was simple. There’s no such thing as peaceful trespass. If you’re going to encroach upon the rights of others, you are not being peaceful. You are committing an act of violence.
The two men could not be more different. Brown died after robbing a liquor store and initiating confrontation with police. Garner, a father, died during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes on the street.
Unfortunately, Al Sharpton and the mobs he whips up ignore the difference in favor of a distracting similarity: the men were black. That is the beginning and end of their analysis.
This is a tragic blow for those who see the need for reform in law enforcement tactics, particularly militaristic tactics and the abuse of asset forfeiture laws.
The movement had been gaining some traction. Senator Rand Paul – a potential presidential candidate – has spoken negatively of no-knock warrants in which police storm homes in the dead of night without announcing themselves, as if they were taking Taliban strongholds. The Washington Post ran an excellent six-part series on how some law enforcement agencies use targeted asset forfeiture as a piggy bank. Public opinion showed support for police wearing body cams while on duty.
However, mass movements need a face.
With the huge success of Marvel Studios, superheroes have entered the public consciousness like never before. But the film producer’s success has become a double-edged sword: its entertainment value to millions of people worldwide has drawn to it the unwanted attention of racial bean counters who have called for different colored faces under the masks.
But how is that to be accomplished? In their call to diversify representation in movies along racial lines, promoters comb each new release, counting heads, and claim there are not enough faces of color in the casts. Something has to be done, they say, raising the specter of white privilege and subtle racist attitudes that only the most arcane of arithmetical equations can balance.
In an attempt to satisfy its critics, the film industry has taken steps to right the imbalance. Superhero movies and television shows have done their share but mostly by changing the skin color of existing characters rather than inventing new ones.
On TV, Iris West in the new Flash television show was switched from white to African-American, as was Deathlok on Agents of SHIELD and Pete Ross in Smallville.
This past week a group of scientists from the European Space Agency landed a spaceship on a comet. Contemporary feminists commented on the happening, but not for the reason you’d think. Screw science. One of the guys on the team talked about the major breakthrough in an on-the-spot interview while wearing a shirt with barely-clad, busty women brandishing guns. Social media chaos ensued. The scientist cried out an apology over the Internet. Apparently the rather clever hashtag #shirtstorm is the real reason why Obama cancelled the space program.
And you wonder why Lana Del Rey would rather spend her time talking about Space-X and Tesla instead of associating herself with the pioneering movement for women that has turned into a forum for Dunham-loving yuppie nags. Celebrities are distancing themselves from the f-word because so-called feminists think the greatest thing they can do for womankind is to complain about a scientist’s tacky shirt. I’m sure that really inspired a teenage girl out there to forego joining ISIS and join in the fight against… dudes bearing busty broads?
The adjective “iconic” is criminally overused, particularly by enthusiastic but historically illiterate youngsters.
However, for many old fogeys, the photograph above actually deserves that designation.
Just check out that badass Rasta, striding fearlessly, even casually, toward a line of (probably) white London cops.
He’s alone, but this is his neighborhood, not theirs, so why should he cower, despite the menace hovering in the air?
Surely something has exploded, gone horribly, fatally wrong — or is just about to — beyond the frozen boundaries of this picture, which seems to be holding its breath, like an enjambed line of poetry.
Although this photo was taken in 1976, it seems weirdly timeless, yet timely, especially in the wake of Ferguson.
And it is, except not for the reason one might expect.
Also check out Leslie Loftis’ analysis of Beyonce’s performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards here.
10. “Bow Down/I Been On”
The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:
Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.
This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.
For the first few months after I moved back to Texas, I got my hair cut at an Austin barber shop. It’s a family run place — the father and two of his sons own and operate it. The sons are in their 30s or so; the father may be in his 60s. Like many business owners around Austin, the owners of this barber shop are Hispanic.
I haven’t been there in a while, as it’s pretty far from where I live now. I used to go there because it was the first place I found around town, because they give a great no-nonsense man’s haircut, and because the sons are hilarious. They are constantly joking around with each other, joking with the customers, and just having fun. It’s like getting free entertainment while you get your hair cut. Although I used to worry a little that if they made me laugh too hard I would end up moving at the wrong time and mess up their work.
So I was in the shop in mid April, a few years back. I’m in the chair nearest the door as one of the sons is cutting my hair. Another man is in one of the other chairs, and the other son was cutting his hair. The father was around but I don’t think he was cutting anyone’s hair. There were a couple of guys waiting their turn, sitting in a line of chairs that extended from the area just inside the door. Typical barber shop set-up.
An older white man comes in, he seemed be someone that the father and sons knew pretty well.
The newcomer asks the nearest son, “So, are you excited about Cinco de Mayo?”
The sons laughed and the one nearest the door said, “Cinco de Mayo? Not really, man.” He kept cutting my hair.
The older man persisted: “Aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning to do to celebrate?”
The sons laughed again. The guys in the chairs near the door laughed too. The brothers kind of looked at each other, shrugged, and the one nearest the door said “Cinco de Mayo? Man, we celebrate the Fourth of July!” They laughed again. “I can’t wait for that! We’ll go to the parades, have some bar-be-cue, see some fireworks, drink some beer. Best day of the year!”
The newcomer just wouldn’t have it. He asked, again, “But aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? It’s coming up! What are you and your family doing?”
Now the son nearest the door was a little bit angry, but he and his brother both laughed it off. “I told you, we celebrate the Fourth of July! My family has been in Texas forever. I’m from Lampasas, man! We’re not ‘Mexican-American’ or any other thing like that, we’re Americans! Fourth. Of. Ju. Ly. Not Cinco de Mayo.” Lampasas is northwest of Austin, near Killeen.
The newcomer finally seemed to give up. He started to sit down in one of the chairs by the door to wait his turn, but then seemed to change his mind, and he left.
The brothers just chuckled, and the one cutting my hair muttered “Cinco de Mayo? Whatever. We’re Americans. I’m from Lampasas.”
Then he asked me what I planned to do on Fourth of July. I told him that his plans sounded pretty good to me. Especially the bar-be-cue.
As a black man active in Republican politics, I find it noteworthy that I never feel excluded or stigmatized by other Republicans on account of my race. Race never comes up at a Tea Party meeting, or a Republican political convention, or when socializing with my conservative and libertarian cohort. On the contrary, all my encounters with race-obsessed individuals have been with self-professed liberals who treat me like a freak show exhibit.
Leftists demand an explanation for my politics. How is it possible that a black man could be a Tea Partier? How is it possible that a black man could vote Republican? What’s wrong? What’s the angle? What secret deficiency or corruption explains this oddity? The curiosity is racist in and of itself, because it proceeds from an assumption about how people “like me” ought to think.
Then I see the vile treatment of personages like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In the wake of the court’s recent verdict upholding Michigan voters’ choice to ban state-mandated racial discrimination (euphemistically called affirmative action), Thomas became the target of viciously racist comments from supporters of “progressive” policy.
Most recently, we learn that long-time Democrat Party contributor and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling faces compelling accusations of racism. Prior to TMZ reporting on obtained audio which seems to record Sterling making blatantly racist remarks to his girlfriend, the NBA owner was slated to received a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP in May. Presumably, he would have accepted it eagerly.
How do we reconcile this? Why would a racist who doesn’t want his girlfriend publicly associating with black men support a political party which claims to represent the best interests of black people? How can a racist be seen by the NAACP to merit recognition for a lifetime of philanthropic achievement?
Psychological projection is “a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.” When I encounter people convinced that blacks labor under the weight of insurmountable racism, I suspect they harbor bigotry of their own. They may not express it quite like Donald Sterling, but their worldview brims with the soft bigotry of low expectations.
As I sit writing from Berlin, Germany, I woke up this morning with the news that a demented American Nazi and KKK leader, Glenn Miller, has been arrested as the main suspect in the Kansas City murder of 3 American Jews. That all were undoubtedly preparing for tonight’s Passover Seder makes the tragedy even more abhorrent.
In a country and city where all of its residents are always aware of the horrors of the Nazi past, it comes as a shock that this wanton act of vicious antisemitic murder has taken place not in Germany, but in the United States. Of course, it is an outrage that the authorities are going out of the way to not call it by its name. Rather than condemning Miller’s action as a result of his Nazi beliefs, they say it looks like a “hate crime,” and they make light of his yelling “Heil Hitler” upon his arrest.
Even the regional director of the St. Louis branch of the Anti-Defamation League held her words. As The New York Times reports,
“ ‘While it is too early to label these shootings as a hate crime, the fact that two Jewish institutions were targeted by the same individual just prior to the start of the Passover holiday is deeply troubling and certainly gives us pause,’ Karen Aroesty, the group’s St. Louis regional director, said in a statement.”
Ms. Aroesty should have been more up front about the obvious motivation of Miller, and not hedged her words.
Fortunately, a quick look at some of the antisemitic extremist websites has led to the following post by Mr. Miller, reproduced verbatim below:
Israel Forming Super PAC to Attack Paul & Obama
This is some big dookee, yaw’ll.
Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment.
Like I’ve been saying, the kikes simply do not trust a lame-duck black president with the name Hussein. Jews fear his re-election, thus this jewish Super PAC to defeat him.
1) Will Ron Paul and his close supporters fight back against this alien super-PAC by telling the truth about jew power in the U.S. ?? It’s insightful and somewhat assuring that the above video news report was posted on www.runronpaul.com.
2) How will Hussein and his 45 million black supporters and the tens of millions of other liberals and anti-war Americans react to this jewish attack on their president and commander in chief ??
3) How will the democrat establishment react, and the so-called liberal media ??
4) Does this signal a huge split among jews, and if so how big is the split ??
Like Dr Pierce once said, “the jews have a tiger by the tail, and they dare not turn loose.”
It sure looks to me like their grip is slipping.
Sieg Heil !!!
“To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” —–Voltaire
These and other posts by Miller can be found on vn forum, where he regularly engaged in dialogue with other neo-Nazis and antisemites.
What will our good friends at The Nation say now, when his very first sentence notes how inspired he is by the words of none other than Max Blumenthal, whose antisemitic and anti-Zionist book was released by the magazine’s own publishing house, Nation Books? I can look back to find scores of examples of how various racist rants are attributed by the Left to conservatives, Tea Party members and especially to Rush Limbaugh. Some years ago, one man tried to enter a left-wing group’s offices with a gun, and many leftists immediately attributed his actions to the hate spread by right-wing radio talk show hosts.
Now, Mr. Miller himself, a proud Ku Klux Klan leader and avowed antisemite, has found inspiring words from the one Jew he likes–Max Blumenthal. Look again at his words: “Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment.” Except for the first two words,“Jew journalist,” Miller’s rant is similar to the arguments of Walt and Mearsheimer, John B. Judis and other realists and leftists, whose writings are filled with the same disdain for “neo-conservatives” who are always described as “warmongering.” When someone like Pat Buchanan makes that same argument, he never uses the word “Jews,” preferring to let his readers know by intuition just who is talking about.
So now we have the crazed antisemite’s own post about who inspires him to have taken his dreadful murder today, on the eve of Passover. I wait to hear what rationale The Nation editors will make for their publication and endorsement of Blumenthal’s articles and book.
What will the two journalists of note who sponsored or spoke at Blumenthal’s appearance last year at The New American Foundation, James Fallows and Peter Bergen, have to say now about the influence young Blumenthal’s words have had? I predict something like the following: “That this horrendous Nazi used Max Blumenthal’s wise critique of the US-Israel alliance as a mask for his own actions, that stem from Klan and Nazi ideology, does not implicate Mr. Blumenthal at all, nor should it cause us to dismiss his warnings about changing the close ties with Israel held by the United States.”
Or perhaps they will come up with something else, or maybe just hold their tongues for once. But Miller makes it clear: He has bought and learned the lessons he holds from Blumenthal, whose writings he recommends to his antisemitic brethren.
As I said in an earlier post, far Left and the extremist far Right have come together in their united hatred for Israel and for the American Jewish community. It is antisemitism and anti-Zionism that ties them together as brothers, and there is no escaping that truth.
Another day, another chronicle of Democratic Party malfeasance. Enjoy:
In Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California has just leveled an explosive charge against his Democrat counterpart on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — to wit, that the gentleman from Maryland colluded with the IRS to harass a conservative organization fighting for honest elections:
Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.
“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote.
Naturally, the honorable gentlemen denies the charges:
Cummings said the letter from Issa and others Republicans is “a desperate attempt to shift the focus on tomorrow’s contempt vote away from the serious Constitutional deficiencies in these proceedings.”
Did somebody say “contempt vote”? What kind of nefarious activity might occasion such a thing?
On Wednesday night Kent State University went on lockdown and students were told to “shelter-in-place” after a shooting on campus. The suspect, who allegedly fled the scene after accidentally shooting himself in the hand during an altercation, was at large for several hours while campus police and local law enforcement officials searched campus buildings to determine that there was no ongoing active shooter situation in progress. Quavaugntay Tyler, a 24-year-old freshman criminology and justice studies major, was later arrested at a local hospital after seeking treatment for the self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Now, some students and professors are alleging that the university and local media outlets engaged in racial profiling when they released a preliminary description of the shooter saying they were looking for a “a black man wearing black basketball shorts and carrying a silver handgun.” From Kent Wired:
In Traci Easley Williams’ Black Images course Thursday afternoon, Walker and other students expressed their views and stories about how Tyler was identified as simply a “black male.”
Easley Williams, a professor of Pan-African studies and journalism, asked her class by show of hands how many of them believed they should have released the description of Tyler as a “black man” even though it was vague.
Only one student — Caleb Ference, a senior electronic media production major — raised his hand. Ference, a white student, did not believe the suspect’s race should have been released because it was very broad, but he said a statement was necessary so that he could be recognized by the public.
“It was a very hectic situation, and I believe people should have known,” Ference said. “Not releasing the statement could have avoided this situation in some ways, but it would not have eased the tension that was going on.”
Easley Williams said she does not believe it is fair that minority students have to face situations like this and carry the backlash while keeping up with all other responsibilities in college.
Professor Williams told WKYC News that, “There’s a lot of hurt with the students of color here on campus. They feel that many of them were targeted.”
Trey Walker, a freshman broadcast journalism major said, “It wasn’t that someone had a gun and they shot on campus, it became ‘a black man on campus has a gun.’ and anybody on campus that fits the description of wearing basketball shorts, which is a very, very general … nothing talking about their t-shirt … not saying if it was white, black, yellow, blue … you have basketball shorts. Black basketball shorts. You’re a suspect.”
A spokesperson for Kent State told WKYC that police released the most detailed suspect information they could at the time and public safety was their number one priority.
WKYC released a statement explaining their use of the racial identifier:
WKYC did use the description of the Kent State university suspect last night online and on the air. With an active search for a potential gunman, we reported any detail that might lead to an arrest. We review each story that includes a racial identifier and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
According to the university, 1,949 of the 22,000 undergraduate students enrolled at Kent State are African American and 59% are female. So the campus text alert immediately (and, apparently correctly), narrowed the search from 22,000 students to fewer than 800. When you eliminate students who were not on campus that evening (75% of Kent State students commute) and those not wearing basketball shorts, the number of suspects becomes exponentially smaller.
If you’re the parents of a college student — or a students on a campus with an active shooter on the loose — wouldn’t you want authorities to disclose as much information as possible to help students protect themselves?
A few African American students admitted they felt relieved when they heard the race of the suspect:
Jamal Deakings, a sophomore electronic media production major, said he admitted to initially feeling relief when he received the campus alert identifying the suspect of the shooting as a “black man.”
“When I found out he was a black man with a handgun, I was actually relieved because I believed it was less likely it was going to be a mass shooting,” Deakings said.
Freshman broadcast journalism major Valerie Williams said she was surprised to hear the suspect was black.
“I was completely shocked; I honestly did not expect him to be black,” Williams said. “Most major school shootings are done by Caucasian people, so I did not think the suspect would have been black.”
Welcome to the future of American journalism, where students are encouraged to think that racial sensitivities are more important than basic safety and apprehending a shooter. Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.
Saint Patrick’s Day is an outrageous celebration of my Irish heritage. On that day adult Americans of all ethnic backgrounds feel free to wear green derby hats and shamrock necklaces, pack into bars and pubs to drink green beer and, if they’re really serious about celebrating the Irish way, end the day by vomiting and passing out in the gutter.
I’m offended by this, and it has to stop! Okay, just kidding. I don’t care a bit. The Irish are a fully integrated ethnic minority in America and St. Patrick’s Day is proof. You know your heritage is not an issue when you can poke fun at yourself.
I don’t know how to make the Martin Luther King holiday as genuinely warm, funny, and celebratory as St. Patrick’s Day, but I’d like to try. Just last month a school system had to apologize for serving a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon on Martin Luther King Day. How sad that the African-American holiday commemorating such a great man is about grievances and not praise. Why shouldn’t we all celebrate Martin Luther King day with soul food, vibrant African designs and colors in our decorations and celebrations, and a sense of fun and gratitude?
I fear that instead of moving towards celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a positive affirmation of African-American heritage, we’re moving in the other direction. Columbus Day has come under such attack that this brave Italian hero and explorer is accused of genocide and celebrations in his honor are protested. The very word “Christmas” has been banned in some schools. How long before someone wants to ban St. Patrick’s Day?
May this never happen. Long may the green beer flow in the pubs of America on St. Patrick’s Day. May the green derby hats continue to be perched on the heads of all, may the Leprechaun decorations continue to be ridiculous and offensive, and may you always feel free to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
images courtesy Shutterstock: Patryk Kosmider
Matthew McConaughey thanked God for his Oscar win last night and the conservative crowd went wild.
McConaughey’s speech sparked a feeding frenzy for conservatives to outdo each other when it came to applauding him, while simultaneously taking shots at liberals. Rick Perry tweeted Monday morning, saying, “Texas boy counting his blessing.” His tweet linked to a Breitbart piece titled “Matthew McConaughey Praises God in Acceptance Speech, Hollywood Crowd Grows Quiet.” On Twitchy, Michelle Malkin’s site, the speech ran as “Matthew McConaughey rattles Oscar crowd, wins hearts by thanking God.” Fox News got in the game with the headline, “Matthew McConaughey one of few to thank God in Oscar acceptance speech.” And so on.
As the Daily Beast points out, McConaughey’s God-nod was most likely reassuring to a Christian population that’s been ostracized more than not:
In recent decades, religious figures are often found more often in niche movies, wrote Cieply, or if they are in major pictures, they “are often hypocrites and villains, driving plot lines that make, at best, a token bow toward the virtues of a faith-based life.”
One need look no further than a recent episode of the hit Scandal, in which the evangelical female vice president who murdered her gay husband claims she is not culpable because the devil made her do it.
Fair enough. I’m sure the Son of God giddiness also contributed to the Tweetfest, despite the fact that McConaughey never did specifically go beyond the name “God,” let alone drop “Jesus” during the speech. He did, however, express conviction that Miller Lite is served in heaven, which I’m sure won over the Duck Dynasty crowd.
What most conservative Oscar watchers failed to lavish with praise wasn’t the mere thanking of God, but the praising of Him by singer Darlene Love. The career backup singer celebrated 20 Feet From Stardom’s Best Documentary win by singing the refrain from the hymn His Eye Is on the Sparrow:
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
The refreshingly simple, faith-laced, joyful lyrics made up the majority of her acceptance “speech” and were received with a full-house standing ovation led by an incredibly enthusiastic, non-religious Bill Murray. Where’s the barrage of Tweets about that?
McConaughey returned to his pot-smoking, bongo-banging self by the end of his speech, concluding with:
…whatever we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is we’re chasing — to that I say, alright, alright, alright. And then I say, just keep livin’.
It’s a generic statement that illustrates God is “whatever” and “whoever” and, therefore, “alright, alright, alright.” I have yet to read a conservative commentary that points out the many ways this level of ambiguity has eroded our nation’s ability to put faith in the God of our ancestors, let alone have faith in ourselves, both as a free nation and as individuals with free will. But hey, that’s cool; an actor said the G-word on stage and it got captured by social media, which makes it count.
Alright, alright, alright.
If I approached ten random people on the street and asked them whether “relationships should be consensual,” ten out of ten would likely answer yes. I mean, what’s the alternative? People should be able to force themselves on each other? It’s a no-brainer.
Yet, if I asked the same ten people whether “a business should be able to deny service on the basis of race or sexual orientation,” seven or eight would probably answer no.
How do we reconcile that? Do we believe relationships should be governed by mutual consent, or not?
In the wake of Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s veto of S.B. 1062, a bill which by some accounts would have expanded the freedom of association in that state, we do well to consider the true nature of Jim Crow. Today, we all agree that the laws which emerged at the state and local level in the century following the Civil War mandating racial segregation clearly violated individual rights. But what about those laws made them a violation of rights? Was it the fact that they discriminated on the basis of race? Or was it the fact that they kept individuals from utilizing their judgment?
By replacing Jim Crow laws with anti-discrimination laws, all we did was change whom the state victimizes. Instead of mandating segregation, we mandated integration. We went from forcing people to abstain from relationships to forcing them to engage in them.
Who speaks for consent? Why have we never tried letting people choose whom they enter into relationships with, and whom they do not? How did we solve the offense of Jim Crow by inverting its trespass?
Arizona’s S.B. 1062 aims too narrowly, and at the wrong target. While businesses should be able to deny service to customers whose needs conflict with the owner’s religious conscience, that stands as only one example of a broader principle which must be applied universally. All relationships should be consensual. Indeed, the case for gay marriage rests upon that very notion. Rather than focus on whether a gay couple should be able to marry or whether a vendor should be able to deny them service, let’s broaden our consideration to whether individuals ought to define their own relationships in all contexts.
No one should be able to force themselves on someone else, ever, under any circumstances. Embracing that maxim and applying it to public policy would settle many of these divisive social issues.
More proof of Karma: Tommy Christopher has been fired at Mediaite according to the Daily Caller.
For the many who don’t know who Christopher is, he is a front line hack for the Obama administration. He is best known to me for defending Eric Holder’s indefensible dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. To Christopher, facts didn’t matter, and he told me so.
From my book Injustice:
The left seemed determined to defend the DOJ’s dismissal of the case simply as a function of defending President Obama regardless of the merits of the case. Consider an email sent to me by Tommy Christopher at the blog site Mediaite. After I testified to the Civil Rights Commission, Christopher wrote me, “Mr. Adams—Did you ever have conversations with any member of the Commission, or their staff, regarding the political implications of your complaint? If so, with whom, and what was the substance of those conversations?” Of course I had no such conversations—I was concerned about stopping voter intimidation, not the “political implications” of my complaint. I asked Christopher whether it would make any difference to him if Coates confirmed my allegations under oath. He replied, “As for Coates, without a stronger case up front, no, I don’t think his testimony is necessary.” To Tommy Christopher and his ilk, the facts of the case were irrelevant—what mattered was circling the political wagons. By September 2010, Chris Coates had concluded the DOJ was falsely describing the dismissal of the Panther case.
Coates would soon testify and corroborate my story, as I knew he would. Coates described an open noxious climate at DOJ where civil rights laws were viewed as protecting only one race and corners were cut to push that philosophy. But as Christopher said, to Obama flunkies in the media, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was defense. And when it comes to race, Christopher gives Obama a pass, no matter how dirty the deed.
At CPAC a number of years ago, Andrew Breitbart and I were having lunch at a crawfish joint in D.C. when Christopher plopped himself down next to us. He was silent about all the nasty and dishonest stuff he threw my way defending Eric Holder and the Panther dismissal. I guess that’s just the sort of fellow he was, and Mediaite is better off without him.
image via real clear politics
The Fantastic Four returns to theaters in 2015 with a new and controversial cast. The New York Daily News reports:
Within minutes of the bombshell reports that Fox has found its titular superheroes in the Fantastic Four reboot, naysayers flamed on social media to pick apart the reported selections of actors Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (The Thing) .
Complaints ranged from the good points (Teller’s track record of one-liner spewing parts is a poor fit for the super-serious Reed Richards) to the bad (Mara isn’t blonde) to the ugly (Jordan is not Caucasian like the character in the comics).
The author leaves unclear what makes that last compliant “ugly.”
Changing the racial identity of an established character in order to cast the best actor for the job works in many situations. The Avengers‘ Nick Fury was Irish in the comics long before Samuel L. Jackson portrayed him onscreen.
The offbeat casting choices in Zack Synder’s Man of Steel worked despite diverging wildly from past iterations. Laurence Fishburne starred as Perry White. Photographer Jimmy Olsen became a Latina intern named Jenny. And red-head Amy Adams portrayed the traditionally brunette Lois Lane.
However, there are times when a character’s physical characteristics or racial identity serve a narrative purpose. When Idris Elba, a black actor, was cast as the Norse god Heimdall in Marvel Studios’ Thor, it seemed like a gratuitous bit of multiculturalism. Then again, the Marvel version of Asgardians prove more alien than divine, so perhaps racial diversity makes sense in that context.
But casting a black man to play Human Torch makes no sense whatsoever. The character’s given name is Johnny Storm, biological full-brother to sister Sue, the Invisible Woman played by the decisively Caucasian Kate Mara. Unless this turns out to be some kind of artsy color-blind thing like you might see in a stage play, the relationship between these characters which has been integral to past narratives will have to be changed.
Will one of them be adopted? Will they be related at all? I suppose it could be handled in any number of ways which would not necessarily throw off the story, but for what purpose? Why do this? The only answer I can come up with is gratuitous multiculturalism, which this black author regards as an insulting bit of pandering.