History often acts as an admonitory beacon—a guide for humanity when society runs astray amidst a cloud of ignorance.
The Greek historian Thucydides, known by the cognomen Father of History, famously said that “the events of future history will be of the same nature, or nearly so, as the history of the past, so long as men are men.” From this comes the age-old adage that “history repeats itself.”
Few people challenge the validity of this claim. Mark Twain reputedly once quipped that “history never repeats itself, but it often rhymes”—a diverting twist to the original, now-cliche expression in a manner that is typical of the famous American humorist and author. All wit aside, this maxim rests up on the same central truth, which is that human history reveals a pattern of repetition.
Candace Owens tackles the history of the Democratic party’s relation to the black community through this lens of diachronic repetition in her candid work Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation. This unique undertaking prompted an onslaught of antipathy from its inception; the media even blacklisted Owens’ book before its publication.
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”Thomas Paine
Owens is an outspoken, audacious conservative black woman, and thus she has been branded a highly-controversial figure who is ostracized by many and praised by few. In this way, Owens is exactly the type of public figure and political commentator that America desperately needs right now: a disruptive presence. Whether you find yourself agreeing with her stances and arguments or not, she produces critical discussions on crucial matters.
Censorship pulverizes truth; free, open discourse provides a marketplace of ideas in which we can discover the truth. Blackout reintroduces the often silenced voice of black conservatism into the political writing, leveling this left-slanting landscape, and thus starting a discussion on the black community’s political ties.
“But the truth is that blood spilled by our ancestors was spilled for our freedom. Our complete freedom to vote for and support any candidate of our choosing”Candace Owens (272)
Owens’ thesis in Blackout is that the black community should sever all ties to the Democrat party based on its track record of shallow promises and inaction. Her deeper argument is that black men, women, and children—just as with every citizen—are not beholden to any political group, especially one that simply creates policies that are utterly detrimental to the black community: “Indeed, there is something about progressive policies that always lead to regressive results for black America.”
Blackout in organized into eleven focused sections, comprehensively breaking down her overarching argument across these areas of life and history:
- On Conservatism
- On Family
- On Feminism
- On Overcivilization
- On Socialism and Government Handouts
- On Education
- On Media
- On Excuses
- On Faith
- On Culture
- On Slavery
Owens assiduously analyzes the relationship between black America and the Democrat party across these categories; in doing so she reveals a crucial pattern that continually emerges, that is that the Democrat party has never had the black community’s best interest at heart—back in the 1800s or now.
W.E.B. Du Bois in his landmark book The Souls of Black Folk wrote that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the colour line” (xv). Owens is one of the current leading conservative political commentators, fighting on the forefront of the contemporary culture wars—a twenty-first century voice. Though she speaks about a different generation than Du Bois—a later epoch—she, interestingly, makes a similar ideological point as Du Bois: “above all else, being black in America today means to sit at the epicenter of the struggle for the soul of the nation” (2).
For many, this claim suggests an affirmation of the mainstream belief of systematic racism in America. This perspective would belie Owens’ overarching argument that “no sane person would make the argument that America has become a more racist country since the 1960s, which gives way to the obvious truth that these disparities have little to do with systematics oppressions”(8).
This is not to say that Owens does not recognize the current pains and dilemmas that are unique to her community. Rather, she sedulously addresses their core causes which have been enshrouded in the current narrative surrounding the struggles of black America.
Owens argues that the Democrat Party—not systematic racism—is and has been the primary causation for the black community’s deepest struggles. In the section “On Conservatism,” Owens retraces the history of white supremacy in America, one which is interestingly entrenched in the history of the Democrat Party. In “On Family,” she works chronologically to demonstrate the cataclysmic effects of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society program, which initiated the destruction of the black family unit and subsequently lead to higher poverty levels in the black community.
Each of these sections contain well-researched, evidence-based arguments that attempt to correlate the current state of affairs in the black community with the Democrat Party’s failure to solve these issues with ineffectual policies that only exacerbate them.
Blackout is ultimately a plea to the black community to reevaluate their ties to the Democrat party. Owens simply provides a detailed collection of historical facts before reminding her community that “true freedom and real change are always possible” (268).
“We will never realize the true potential that this incredible country has to offer—in the land of the free and the home of the brave—if we continue to be shackled by the great myth of government deliverance”Candace Owens (10)
Whether you agree or disagree with Owens’ general beliefs or her call for a mass black exit from the Democrat party—this book is a worthwhile, unique, and mentally stimulating read that you should consider picking up sometime.
One thought on “Blackout, by Candace Owens: A Book Review”
I enjoyed your balanced review. She does seem to be very controversial, but she also seems to use solid reasoning.