On Monday evening, Vice President Mike Pence decided to commemorate Black History Month (February) by praising President Abraham Lincoln, the man who submitted the 13th Amendment, ending slavery once and for all in the United States of America. Naturally, this was too much for social justice warriors on Twitter, who mocked Pence for praising a white man for Black History Month.
“As #BlackHistoryMonth begins, we remember when Pres. Lincoln submitted the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, to the states #NationalFreedomDay,” Pence posted on Twitter.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 2, 2017
Pence wasn’t just saying this. February 1 is National Freedom Day, a day commemorating President Lincoln’s submission of the 13th Amendment. It also happens to be the first day of Black History Month, which grew out of Negro History week, the second week of February, chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is arguable that the month, like the week, was chosen for the specific reference to the abolition of slavery, set in motion by Lincoln.
But 2017 social justice warriors don’t care about history — so long as they can make a point.
C.X. Cope, the founder of Bedlam PAC, a liberal organization which sells “Fruck Trump” t-shirts, tried to give Pence a lesson in race. “[email protected] ……he was white. This is BLACK History Month,” Cope — himself a white man but a Black Lives Matter activist nonetheless — tweeted.
SJWs launched a hashtag, #PenceBlackHistory, suggesting that praising Abraham Lincoln at the outset of Black History Month is just as offensive as praising any white person on a month to commemorate black people’s accomplishments.
“Black History Month: Let’s remember @JoeBiden, first Vice President to a Black President,” tweeted Jeremy Bandini, with the #PenceBlackHistory tag.
— Jeremy Bandini (@netexplosure) February 2, 2017
“#PenceBlackHistory In honor of #BHM we recognize the KKK because without them there would be no Black Panthers,” Justin Key chimed in.
— Justin Key (@JustinKey101) February 2, 2017
“If white people never enslaved you and took your civil rights, then you would have never had MLK and Malcolm X,” tweeted another user.
— Lil Croissant (@b_eternal757) February 2, 2017
“As #BHM begins, let us give thanks to Vanilla Ice for brining [sic] rap music into the mainstream,” another tweeted.
— Mr. Christopher (@iamalmostlegend) February 2, 2017
Actress Carrie Coon, known for Gone Girl (2014), posted a disgusting and patronizing tweet in response to Pence: “Remember, black people were actually human beings before they were emancipated.” I would think Pence knows this — maybe it’s the reason he’s celebrating emancipation in the first place? You don’t enslave non-humans.
Remember, black people were actually human beings before they were emancipated.
— Carrie Coon (@carriecoon) February 2, 2017
Comedy Central comedian and commentator Kristina Wong shot back at Pence, tweeting, “Racism didn’t end when slavery ended. It’s embedded in our institutions and carried forward with racist public policy.”
Racism didn't end when slavery ended. It's embedded in our institutions and carried forward with racist public policy.
— Kristina Wong ❄️ (@mskristinawong) February 2, 2017
Chris Chandler, a black Bible-follower, writer, and editor, also attacked Pence. “Emancipation is not black history,” Chandler tweeted. “It did not free slaves, just deligitimized [sic] slavery. Black history is what we did for America.”
emancipation is not black history. It did not free slaves, just deligitimized slavery. Black history is what we did for America.
— Chris Chandler (@cjchandler77) February 2, 2017
Besides the clear spelling error, there are a few bones to pick with this tweet. First, referring to the 13th Amendment as “emancipation” conflates it with the Emancipation Proclamation, which in truth did not free a single slave. It declared that slaves in lands controlled by the Confederacy were free, in an attempt to encourage them to revolt. But this is not what Chandler seems to be saying. He seems to be saying that outlawing slavery only delegitimized it, as opposed to ending it.
There is a great deal of truth to the argument that the system of sharecropping kept freedmen in a state of bondage similar to slavery. But if this was Chandler’s argument, it still doesn’t justify saying that the 13th Amendment “did not free slaves.” It emphatically did so. Slavery entails ownership of human beings, and despite the true horror of sharecropping and other racist tactics in the South after the Civil War, slavery was indeed ended.
Chandler’s last statement gets to the heart of the matter: “Black history is what we did for America.” This is true. When President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, he called on the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Nevertheless, February was chosen for Black History Month partially because of Abraham Lincoln, and the first day of Black History Month is National Freedom Day, the day to honor Lincoln and the 13th Amendment. Pence was not minimizing the accomplishments of black people — he was commemorating their freedom from slavery, on the day set aside for that purpose.
Pence should also praise some of the great black American leaders, people like Frederick Douglass (a friend of Lincoln’s and patron of the liberal arts), James Reese Europe (the first black officer to lead troops in battle during World War I), W.E.B. DuBois (the first black man to earn a doctorate), Clarence Thomas (the first black Supreme Court justice to swear in a vice president of the United States) and of course Martin Luther King, Jr. I would also have to add Thomas Sowell to this illustrious list.
The vice president should not apologize or bend to SJW pressure for praising Lincoln when he did. Rather, these Twitter warriors should apologize for deliberately twisting his message into an insult. Nevertheless, Pence should praise a prominent black leader — perhaps Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Sen. Tim Scott, Ben Carson, or even Congresswoman Mia Love. This is Black History Month, and there are plenty of great conservatives to choose from.