Getting Owned - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Getting Owned

It’s been a rough last few days for two of the High Priests of the Religion of Woke, but sympathy for Ibram X. Kendi and Colin Kaepernick might be hard to conjure.

Eventually, the grift wears on the grifter. And it’s hard to keep the marks in line over the long haul.

Kendi, whose real name is Ibram Henry Rogers and who was born and raised in an upper-middle-class household that looked an awful lot like the realization of the American Dream, might be the most successful American scam artist since Frank Abagnale. He’s managed to guilt white leftists and other suckers into giving him a lofty sinecure as the chair of a Boston University department dedicated to accusations of racism, colossal book deals, and confiscatory speaking fees (anywhere from $22,000 to $35,000 a pop) based on the core accusation that this is a benighted, bigoted country born in the sin of slavery and violence toward brown and black.

It’s worse than just that, of course. To truly sweep away the scourge of racism, says Kendi, we mustn’t just stamp it out. What’s necessary is “anti-racism,” or, to paraphrase Thomas Sowell’s assessment of this particular grift, put racism under new management.

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination,” he declares. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

That’s awfully heady stuff. It’s the kind of thing that requires that its sponsor keep moving forward toward a bigger and better schtick, else the unwashed might stop and think about it and say, “Hey, wait a minute.”

So Kendi, like a shark required to swim forward or die, ran himself right into a gill net last week.

In a tweet about an article appearing at The Hill referencing the growing phenomenon of honky high schoolers lying about their ethnicities on college applications, Kendi said that “More than a third of White students lied about their race on college applications, and about half of these applicants lied about being Native American. More than three-fourths of these students who lied about their race were accepted.”

Well, OK, Ibram, but was that really what you wanted the unwashed to know?

Not so much, as it turned out, because Kendi was shortly buried under an avalanche of righteous ridicule. His critics immediately seized upon the fact that if white kids were truly privileged and beneficiaries from birth of the debilitating and violent systemic racism he’s built his livelihood on attacking, then why would they be publicly denying their pallor?

Too late, Kendi memory-holed his little missive, but The Internet Remembers.

Human Events‘ Jack Posobiec had it just right in describing what Kendi had done:

At that point it all went to hell.

Kendi proceeded to accuse Posobiec of “violence” and ultimately blocked him from Twitter, which Posobiec saw as a sure sign of victory. “I broke Kendi,” he taunted.

And he wasn’t wrong based on the invective and squealing he had unleashed.

What Kendi calls a “tortured line of thinking” is what’s known as rationality and common sense — but of course he and the rest of the critical race theory crowd have made it known that those are “white” things. The Twitter audience reminded him of that while laughing his arguments into the mud.

And if you’re allowed to think about that last bit from Kendi for a while, the grift is really in trouble — because you might reach some interesting conclusions as to who the real racists are in this country.

The shark has to swim forward, though, because Kendi wasn’t done with Posobiec:

“Jack couldn’t deny his lies so this is how he responded. And his ‘broke’ reference has a long history within racist structures. White enslavers boasted of *breaking* Black people (when they did not *break* Black people),” Kendi said. “The resistance never stopped then and it won’t stop today.”

“A White man is attacking a Black person with lies (which are violent). The Black person resists. The White man keeps attacking until he declares he ‘broke’ the Black person,” Kendi responded to one person on Twitter. “That’s the context. Seek a book about slavery.”

Wait, what?

Get called on your ridiculous statements, which you yourself have taken down and thus retracted, and your response to being ratioed is unhinged name-calling, and when that is categorized for what it is you bring up slavery rather than defend your statements?

As an aside, we must have missed it when Kendi’s nose got out of joint over Rachel Dolezal and, more specifically, Shaun King, a pair of white interlopers pretending to be black just like those college kids he now castigates. Are there cracker quotas for admission into the Woke temple, and have those already been met?

Getting awfully close to giving up the grift there.

But if Kendi had it rough this week he might be able to take succor in the plight of Kaepernick, who may have humiliated himself in even more gleaming fashion.

The washed-up former San Francisco 49er quarterback and latter-day woke Nike pitch-man, who on occasion will hold himself out as a martyr to the league’s racism for having turned down multiple NFL contracts, including one from his former team, is now apparently a movie star of sorts. Colin in Black & White, a probably-unwatchable Netflix miniseries about Kaepernick’s life which debuted on Friday, likens the NFL combine to a slave auction in the first scene of the first episode:

As the first episode opens, a flurry of football players, portrayed by Black actors, are seen charging across a field in front of white coaches.

“What they don’t want you to understand is what’s being established is a power dynamic,” Kaepernick, dressed all in black, says.

“Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod and examine you searching for any defect that might affect your performance,” he continues. “No boundary respect. No dignity left intact.”

The scene transitions to an open market in America’s slavery era, where the players, shirtless and shackled, are then sold before one of the slave owners shakes hands with a football coach — merging past with present.

The open stupidity of the comparison, a declaration as obnoxious as it is doltish, wasn’t lost on U.S. Representative and former NFL star Burgess Owens, who is black:

“How dare @Kaepernick7 compare the evil endured by so many of our ancestors to a bunch of millionaires who CHOSE to play game,” Owens, who is Black, tweeted.

Just so.

Kaepernick is no more clownish than Kendi, but his grifting is more identifiable. After all, the venue for Kaepernick’s fame was football, where one can only achieve success through productivity. Move the football and score, and they’ll acclaim you a quality quarterback. Throw interceptions and fail on third down, and they’ll find somebody else. People had noticed his performance was cratering before he pioneered the woke a-holery of kneeling during the National Anthem, and shortly he was transitioning to a new role as a corporate pitchman and Hollywood impresario while occasionally bellyaching over the League’s indifference to him.

Whereas Kendi doesn’t face such music. Academia and well-paid lecturing in front of captive corporate employee audiences don’t require a 4.4 forty, or anything else of objective value.

Still, the grifter has got to stay ahead of the grift. And that isn’t easy. Just like defenses ultimately figured out the wishbone and the run and shoot, sooner or later the marks notice they’re getting played.

Particularly when you push it just a little too far.

We may not have these two around for much longer. For one thing, the woke fad is fading, because people have had enough of it. And for another, once you’re blown, the grift requires a new pitch-man — or else the returns begin diminishing quickly.

And these guys are blown. Make no mistake about it.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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