Since the NRA announced that it had hired YouTube sensation and all-around swell guy Mr. Colion Noir, there’s been a lot of discussion about the NRA as it relates to race. Several black writers have been quick to judge this move by the NRA, claiming that the NRA is pandering to black people, attacking and making assumptions about Colion, and even going so far as to insinuate that the NRA has a racist history. Two examples of this would be this Global Grind article by Russel Simmons and this BET article by Jonathan HicksÂ (note that comments have been disabled on both).
The positions taken in the articles above are both extremelyÂ pathetic on many levels, and sadly predictable. Instead of being happy for the diversity that Colion brings to the NRA, these authors decided to attack the NRA and Colion personally. The attacks on Colion are laughable at best – he was fighting for gun rights long before he was ever on the NRA’s radar, as even a modicum of research would have told them – so the personal attacks hardly deserve a response. One has to wonder whether the authors were too lazy to research the topic fully, or if they were being intentionally disingenuous with their audience. I suspect the latter.
Reading through the articles linked above, I also got a strong sense of Jesse Jackson style race baiting reading phrases like “our people” multiple times, accusations of fearÂ mongering,Â and framing the conversation in the historical context of Trayvon Martin and little girls being killed by bombs in Black churches. Both pieces came across with a sense of thinly-veiled outrage at the NRA for daring to hire a black man, putting the NRA in a sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t position. Don’t hire a black guy? Racist! Hire a black guy? Racist!
What about this supposed racist history that they both alluded to?
Claiming that the NRA has a racist history is again either ignorance fueled by laziness or malicious misrepresentation. Gun control in this country has a racist history, not the NRA. But don’t take my word for it, let’s hear from black leaders likeÂ Harry C. Alford, the CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce, from Niger Innis, the National Spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and from Reverend William Owen Jr., the founder of God, Guns and the Constitution.
I’m certainly not here to defend everything the NRA has ever done – that would be ridiculous, but equally ridiculous is the historical distortion that the NRA has a racist past. Because nothing could be farther from the truth.