Occupy The Plantation? Blacks Shun OWS
Published on: November 27, 2011
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  • Yahzooman

    Mr. Obama and other Democrats have made an error in supporting the OWS movement.

    The leaderless OWS crowd yearns for anarchy, not progress. They will turn on anyone associated with the establishment. Who is more vulnerable to that than a national political party and the White House?

    I predict the two major issues of the 2012 election will be the origins of the housing crisis (Fannie and Freddie and their Democratic enablers … read Gretchen Morgenson’s new book, “Reckless Endangerment” for details) and the widespread OWS violence during the coming summer and how it could be linked to Obama, Acorn and big-city Democrat mayors.

    Blacks won’t vote for Romney. But white independents and some Democrats will cross over when Obama coddles protesters and appears aligned with people burning cars in the street and smashing windows at Chase Banks across the land.

  • Harold Seneker

    One malcontent does not a factoid make.

    But the virtual absence of blacks is interesting, and telling. My guess is the hypothesis that blacks don’t see OWS as relevant to them is the right one, though.

  • Scott

    Excellent use of the phrase “big honking obvious facts”. Not used nearly enough.

  • Neville

    Sp: ‘bien pensant’.

  • Justin P

    This is a perfect example of why any media is so completely biased that anyone should take a deep pause when reading any account without seeing it first hand.
    Today’s media is confirmation bias writ large. People that want to see the Tea Party movement as racist will not see any black faces inthe crowd even if theybare standing in front of them. People that don’t want to see racism in OWS will just make up excuses as to why blacks don’t se OWS as helping their condition.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I remember the plaintive complaint at one of the early TEA Party rallies I attended that she wish there were more blacks in attendance. I remember pointing out that 95%+ of blacks voted for Obama, and so only 5% of the 12% of blacks in the US population would be likely to show up. I pointed out that this works out to about 1 in 200 nationally, and so the few black faces that could be seen at the rally were actually a pretty good turnout, especially so for the low population of blacks in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 2.1%. That the Lame Stream Media couldn’t run the numbers any better than that woman and didn’t even try is proof of incompetence if not outright bias.

  • Chase Crucil

    As a liberal, I can say from experience that, while not all Republicans, and not all tea partys folks, are racist, they certainly are comfortable the current level income inequality. The fact is that, for many reasons that have been discussed ad infinitum in the press, the modern American economy has created a huge low wage workforce that is basically locked in poverty; this is in spite of the fact that many of these people are hardworking. Most of the tea party folks I know do not care about this as long as their chosen industry/profession is doing well enough. By and large, they do not care if the working poor cannot afford decent health care. I am not basing this on slanted liberal media coverage. I have heard this with my own ears, as my home area – the western burbs of Chicago – is full of tea party types.

    Professor, I know you are big time annoyed with all the liberals in NYC, and like Tom Wolfe in the 80s, you do us a good service by mocking them from time to time. Just remember that there is a lot to attack and mock in red state America too, e.g., people with large SUVs, and million dollar bank accounts who oppose any attempt to help the poor despite the fact that they are regular church goers. Again, I have met these people, so I do not think that I can be accused of relying on stereotypes.

  • Kenny

    When main stream journalists say that the “relative absence of Black faces in right wing crowds clearly demonstrates the racism of both the protesters [Tea Partiers]and their ideas,” they are not entirely wrong.

    The prime goal of the Tea Party is to scale back wasteful government spending at all levels, and blacks are smart enough to realize that their standard of living depends significantly on government bloat.

  • JJ

    WRM knows these people well and has their number.

  • lhf

    The OWS “protestors” are the self-absorbed children of privilege. Somehow they can afford to hang out on the streets for months with no visible means of support. Anyone, black or white, can see this and draw the appropriate conclusion. These people care only about themselves and once their needs/wants are met, they won’t care about anyone else’s – black or white or whatever.

  • Eurydice

    Regardless of what the press may say, the general thinking about OWS is thay’re the 1% pretending to be the 99%. Add to that the general thinking that the 1% is a right wing entity, and you’ve got a protest group with a seriously muddled brand.

  • RodT

    @Chase Crucil

  • TD

    “The leaderless OWS crowd yearns for anarchy, not progress.”

    No. They. Don’t.

    No offense, but I’m getting really tired of this meme. REAL anarchy is about liberty. Ultimately it’s the logical extension of the American ideal, of the “self-evident truths” we on the right know so well.

    Whether anarchy is logistically practical or feasible isn’t the point here, and probably isn’t a discussion for this particular comments thread. The point is simply that at the PHILOSOPHICAL level, anarchy is about liberty and individual responsibility. And the OWS crowd is not about those things.

  • AllenS

    Black people don’t go camping.

  • Ragtimer

    There is a reason, but Ms. Patton dances around the elephant in the room so well even her political opponents think it’s a moose in the room.

    Afro-Americans are shunning both the Tea Party and OWS for the same reason: The President is now the BNOC for the entire USA, AND YOU DO NOT DISRESPECT THE BNOC. EVER. We could have Greek unemployment rates, Somalian anarchy, even a Nazi dictatorship, but as long as The Won is still President, you will not hear a peep of complaint from the Greater Black Community, only from “Uncle Toms” like Thomas Sowell or Jeremiah Wright.

    Now, if Obama loses the next election, or even has a chance to lose the next election…

  • ThomasD

    A sordid bunch of over privileged upper middle class navel gazers who cannot even conduct an extended camp out session without it devolving into disease, debauchery, drug use, theft, sexual assault, and homicide presume to tell the rest of the country how to best to organize a just society?

    And one Democrat party special interest group has enough common sense to stay the hell away?

    The times they are a changin’.

  • HeatherRadish

    As a liberal, I can say from experience that, while not all Republicans, and not all tea partys folks, are racist, they certainly are comfortable the current level income inequality.

    Ah yes, the “all white people are rich and all the rich people are white” fallacy. Followed by the “if you don’t support government handouts you hate the poor” fallacy. Can we get some new fallacies for the 21st century?

    Meanwhile, why do you care so much about how much money Oprah, Spike Lee, Kobe Bryant, Donovan McNabb, Morgan Freeman, Beyonce, and Prince Fielder make by selling products that people wish to purchase voluntarily?

    If you took away all of Spike Lee’s profits and royalty checks and gave all the poor black people in NYC an equal share of it, would you see any differences a month later?

  • jordan

    I have a theory!

    The net has been abuzz with video of these white street urchins harassing African-American security guards at the DC Convention Center and in NY, and blocking the path of a 1% ‘er big shiny Mercedes sedan that, surprise surprise, was being driven by an African-American family man. The sight of this guy, his car surrounded by white OWS thugs ordering him to turn around, pleading to let him through because he just wanted to get home and he had a two-year old baby in the back seat, was enough to make any respectable liberal cringe.

    Much of the video of OWS features African American cops, convention hosts and upper-middle class suburbanites being harangued and beaten by crowds of mostly white males just doesn’t go over well.

    Ms. Patton exhibits the profile of one going through a transition, caught between disillusionment with the old order, and distrust of the new. They see the vicious handling of blacks by white liberal males, and it makes their stomachs lurch. Any person “of color,” myself included, feels it when Bill Mahr harshly lecture Amy Holmes for lack of black pride (he knows all about it) or Larry O’Donnell goes apoplectic over Herman Cain’s insufficient blackness, or Barbara Boxer cluelessly employs only black economists to counter Harry Alford of the Black Chamber of Commerce. These performances are what is meant by the “white liberal plantation owner cracking the whip to get errant blacks back in the field.”

    There’s something in the pit of your stomach that pulls when you hear the hateful edge of a voice that is motivated by the color of your skin, not the content of your ideas. These days, it’s all over the airwaves. I think the African American electorate is taking heed, and re-examining old assumptions.

  • jordan

    Beg to differ, TD. There is nothing liberty-enhancing about anarchy. Anarchy is the tyranny of the rioter. The Burkean conservative, an old fuddy-duddy who likes things ordered and the rules followed and equally enforced, and thinks established tradition survives because it works, is what maximizes personal freedom.

    Under anarchy, you can’t drive to the store without fearing for your life. Under a fair, law-and-order establishment, you are free to live your life and pursue your interests unfettered by constant concern for your safety. It’s in a society organized to respect the individual and represent his interests in government that personal liberty is maximized. The only person at liberty otherwise is the anarchist, who, in any case, has his psyche trapped in a totalitarian jail of it’s own.

  • elkh1

    To paraphrase a self-professed great president: The black folks should get rid of their bedroom slippers and get into their marching boots?

  • Eric F

    Maybe they just don’t want to get beat up by the cops.

  • LHog

    “As a liberal, I can say from experience that, while not all Republicans, and not all tea partys folks, are racist, they certainly are comfortable the current level income inequality.” Chase Crucil –
    No, As a TEA party guy and someone who is comfortable with his current income level I’ll tell you, we are not comfortable with Marxism. That is what liberals do not understand. Your desire to see ‘income equality’ is flat out Marxist and will continue to be opposed. Not for racist reasons but for reasons that it simply will not work. If we continue to GIVE other peoples money taken from one group (don’t read Race, racist)in an attempt to ‘equalize economic opportunity, what incentive does the receiving group have to excel?

  • Jeffrey Ellis

    Your assertion that black people “make up only about 1.6 percent of OWS protesters” is not only innacurate, but an example of how the blogasphere feeds off of its own faulty reporting and does a disservice to real journalism. The 1.6% figure cited comes from one unscientific survey of visits to Occupy Wall Street’s web site. According to FastCompany.com (never heard of them before), only 1.6% of the visitors to the web site identified themselves as African Americans. The web site itself admitted that the survey was “not perfect”, and that it appeared that the percentage of Black protesters who actually attending the OWS gatherings was significantly larger that the web site survey implied.

  • Jeffrey Ellis

    A Quinnipiac poll, cited by the New York Times, showed 86% of blacks (in New York City) supported the goals of OWS, as opposed to 60% of whites.

  • TD


    You’re trying to have the discussion that I already acknowledged (and attempted to fend off): the one about the feasibility and practical application of anarchy.

    Its feasibility and application are not the point here. The point is merely anarchy’s philosophical underpinning, which includes liberty and individualism.

    Whether it would “work” is irrelevant, because here we’re discussing simply the motivation and reasoning of anarchy’s advocates. Liberty is not the motivation of OWSers; it’s not their foundational premise; and anarchy is not what these violent, class-envious, state-empowering activists seek.

    Even if some have co-opted the word “anarchist” for themselves, that just means they’re abusing yet another label, as leftists have always done.

  • Gus

    Well, when the icon of the current conservative movement kicked off his post convention campaign in the racially symbolic town of Philadelphia, MS, and spoke about “bucks buying t-bones with food stamps” and “Cadillac driving welfare queens” and an RNC chairman admits that Republicans haven’t reached out to African Americans, a movement identified with the Republican party is more likely to be considered suspect. Good points about OWS, though.

  • Ray

    Uh the reason people blasted the Tea Party for Racism had a lot more to do with the signs, spitting on a black congressman, and their comments caught on tape.

    Calling the Tea Party or OWS racist for the low turnout of black people is insane. Calling them racist for how they act or what they say makes sense.

  • techy3

    I don’t know, but I suspect that the primary reason for lack of black participation in the OWS camps and rallies is that very few blacks believe that the police will bend over backwards to accommodate them while they violate city ordinances and are present at the scene of sundry misdemeanors and more in public places.

    Most middle class white college students with a well developed sense of entitlement may look forward to a brief brush with the law- all the better to enhance their “street cred” back on campus. They may reasonably expect to have their rights respected in most circumstances short of a riot, to have their parents post bail and provide for legal counsel, and that their preferred future employers (Non-profits and arts organizations) won’t discriminate on the basis of “youthful transgressions.”

    None of those assumptions is widely shared in the black community or in the working class (by which I mean people actually in the job market, not self-identifying with the proletariat as a means of expressing philosophical solidarity).

    People (black and not) who actually hold jobs, have held jobs, have recently applied for jobs and/or who badly need jobs are very much aware of what a burden any criminal history can be during the application process and how common background checks have become in the digital age. Even if there is any sympathy for the Moonbat hootenannies (thank you for that WRM) in these communities (for which I have no evidence at all) there may be very sensible reasons for black and working class people to avoid doing the hooting.

  • Jim Pabarue

    Some good observations here, although I do not agree with any insinuation that somehow, the conservatives/GOP are better. The shrinking majority of whites in America historically have disregard the situation faced by blacks and other disadvantaged minority groups until either one of two things happen: liberal white people need minority group political support and they make promises they do not keep, or the black and brown people somehow threaten white people (riots, murders, OJ, President Obama, getting a job because of perceived unfair affirmative action). And Walter is absolutely correct on the media turning a blind eye to liberal racism. (Brian, my friend, I concede this issue to you).

    But the GOP has offered nothing to blacks and has catered to white class-equivalent of disadvantaged minorities for political support for years. And just as the liberals never deliver what is promised to blacks, up to this point, the mainstream GOP (the Bushes, Karl Rove, et al) have never delivered what is promised to the disadvantaged white population, some of whom are overt racists, some of whom have implicit bias against blacks, immigrants, etc., and some of whom are not racially biased, but all of whom are fighting over increasingly scarce resources (jobs, access to higher education) in competition with the disadvantaged minorities. This led to the rise of the Tea Party Movement on the right, which is virulently anti-GOP establishment and insists on ideological “purity”, which can lead one to begin worrying about the next step – the “cleansing” to rid the society of the “impure”. On the other hand, if blacks and other minorities acted like the Tea Party, the response, born out of the long-standing American fear of slave uprising, would be very different. (Modern day “Black Panthers” with sticks at a polling place is bad enough, just think of the reaction to several hundred black folks gathered, some carrying guns, talking about watering the Tree of Liberty with blood!)

    I agree with Walter’s analysis of the OWS movement and the paucity of black participation. For the first time in memory, the solidly middle- to upper-middle class and their children are fighting with the above–described groups for even scarcer resources and opportunities. But from the minorities and white working class equivalents, the reaction is “Oh, so now you are getting a taste of the insecurity and frustration we have faced – so what”.

  • Jordan

    Jim, I don’t think that’s what gave rise to the TP. Rather, it was outrageously high government spending and the sense that gov, was extending it’s reach too far into the private sector and personal lives especially with Obamacare. At the time, people thought the recession was temporary, and that things would pick up as they always had in the past. You didn’t have the increasingly bleak feeling then that more people would have to struggle over fewer resources. As I watched this group listen politely to speakers, including black and hispanic ones (didn’t see spitting or racist signs, besides the Lyndon La Rouche gang, who were also present at OWS.) they were registering two specific things:
    opposition to Obamacare and opposition to public

    This notion of “ideological purity” or “cleansing” is bizarre with no discernible basis in fact. They want less spending, limited government and lower debt. These are pragmatic, sensible views considering current fiscal circumstances.

    I don’t know what the GOP is supposed to “offer” blacks. All conservatives have to offer is a set of principles that history has shown can grow the economic pie and expand opportunity. Those citizens who agree are free to join up, even in the absence of targeted “outreach.” If more minorities like myself do not, it might be due to their own race-based views of Republicans.

  • Anthony

    WRM, the historical lesson that we look beneath the surface of what is ostensibly left(OWS) and right(Tea Party), I take as Ms. Patton’s point. However, the crisis of the black intellectual is that the majority are unfamiliar with their own antecedents vis-a-vis various political and cultural movements in U.S. post 1865; men and women coming together because of an overriding common interest in ideas, change, protest, etc. in America have been restricted due to ethnic parochialism. Ms. Patton’s analysis, though contributive, does not get to bottom of things vis-a-vis Tea Party/OWS involvement of black Americans – broad strain of black social opinion in America that is cogent and cuts through class lines (although rarely analyzed/verbalized in mainstream media) turns on The Great American Ideal and its practical effects in the general American society. That is, America which idealizes the rights of the individual above everything else is in reality a nation dominated by the social power of groups, classes, ingroups, cliques, etc. – for some Americans WRM, OWS and Tea Party represent perpetuation of group attitudes and images reminiscent of group advantage seeking both economic and political goals characterized by a predominance.

  • AnimalStructure

    Ray, care to provide evidence that the black congressman was spit on? There were plenty of cameras and microphones present that day, yet not one of them caught the spitting incident? Not one of them caught them hurling the N word?

    Andrew Breitbart offered 100,000 dollars to ANYONE who could provide evidence of this happening, and not one person could do so. Why? Simple. It was a vicious Left wing lie, one that unthinking Left wing partisans, such as yourself, bought hook, line, and sinker.

    Pity that.

  • Toni

    [email protected] wrote, “Uh the reason people blasted the Tea Party for Racism had a lot more to do with the signs, spitting on a black congressman, and their comments caught on tape.”

    Ray, give us links to those signs, “comments caught on tape,” and evidence that anyone spat on a black congressman, and then we can reasonably discuss whether the Tea Party or some part of it is racist. Evidently you don’t know that Andrew Breitbart offered $150,000 for video of the alleged spitting incident, and got none. Without such links, you have no standing to charge racism.

    If a black congressman *claims* to have been spat on by white demonstrators, but has no evidence, and liberals automatically believe him anyway, aren’t those liberals bigots? Bigots are people who believe demeaning stereotypes, right? That would include people who automatically deem white conservatives dumb, poorly educated, or racist.

    Think twice, please, before you believe self-serving claims not supported by evidence.

  • Toni

    Thank you, Professor Mead!

    Surely you know the old definition of a conservative: a liberal who has been mugged. Ms. Patton seems to be in the process of figuring out that she has been mugged by the black political leadership and their white enablers.

    The monolithically Democractic black community has for decades been economically liberal. But opinion polls find them generally socially conservative on matters like abortion and gay marriage. Someday maybe Ms. Patton and others will discover that conservative are pro-jobs: not pro-white-jobs, but pro-jobs for everyone. Then maybe the black community won’t be so monolithically Democratic.

    Well, it could happen.

  • Hunter

    Very interesting piece. But I think the lack of black participation is probably even more striking than you make it out to be. The stat used, “that roughly 12.6 percent of the population, make up only about 1.6 percent of OWS protesters,” doesn’t take into account that most of these protests are occuring in large cities, where the black population is much higher. In NYC, 25% of the population identifies as black, according to census data. In Washington, DC it’s over half.

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