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The NRA’s Racial History

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 Hicks (note that comments have been disabled on both).

The positions taken in the articles above are both extremely 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 fear mongering, 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 like 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.

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16 Responses to The NRA’s Racial History

  1. David Pyzik March 8, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Great article. It such a shame to see so many attacking Mr. Colion Noir.
    I was very excited to see his NRA teaser.

  2. Samuel Hayes March 8, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I think when people accuse the NRA of being racist they are not properly articulating their true feelings on the matter. I certainly have been guilty of doing so myself until I stepped back and really thought about what exactly I was saying. Saying the NRA is racist is just as ignorant and misguided as saying anyone who listens to Hip Hop is a weed smoking “gangsta”. As a firearms instructor in a major metropolitan city where the ethnic demographics of my courses are primarily African American, Asian and Hispanic (whites are the minority) I can say with CERTAINTY that the general consensus IS that the NRA is just the KKK in nice suits. The reality is that there are some outspoken MEMBERS of the NRA in parts of the country who are also racist and make no bones about acknowledging how they feel about ethnic minorities. The unfortunate part of this is that often times when they are spewing their hatred wearing an NRA Lifemember hat or standing next to their vehicle with the NRA sticker on it, the association is then made. This is only ONE example of how the NRA has been labeled as a racist organization. Another factor is that the NRA panders to the OWG’s (old white guys) for membership and support and largely ignores other ethnic groups who support the firearms industry. I sincerely hope that this move to bring “Mr. Noir” into the mix is part of a larger diversity initiative on the part of the NRA, not just to attract more support from Blacks but to INCLUDE Blacks as well as all other ethnic gun owning, 2A supporting Americans, into the fold.

    • Brandon March 8, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      I agree, but it’s important to remember that you can find racist people in just about any organization and profession. We don’t label the whole because of the position of a vocal minority.

      • Samuel Hayes March 8, 2013 at 10:01 am #

        I’m not disagreeing with your point at all, just making a point as to why THIS particular organization is labeled as such. As I said, doing so is ignorant and misguided.

      • Samuel Hayes March 8, 2013 at 10:11 am #

        And to your point, we actually CAN hold the “whole” accountable for not doing anything to dispel erroneous information IF the information is truly inaccurate. I will never believe that the NRA did not know how they are viewed by some minority groups, what I will believe is that they probably didn’t (or dont) care. It is no different than how Muslim leaders stepped up to try to dispel the consensus that all Muslims are terrorist in the wake of 911. It’s called “Damage Control” in public relations circles.

        • Brandon March 8, 2013 at 10:13 am #

          Well like I said, I’m not here to defend everything the NRA has ever done wrong. People should look at the facts and draw their own conclusions.

  3. Zach March 8, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Russell Simmons wants to change the world so much yet his former company def jams helps produce artists who talk about selling cocaine and shooting people he is where he is today because of thugs rapping about guns. Guess if your black and do t follow the black nor
    You are the one who is wrong. Since when did standing up for what you believe in become open grounds to attack someone. And for a Budhist that Simmons claims to be its incredibly hypocritical.

  4. Dustin Cade March 8, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Regardless of race, we as Americans need to work together to maintain the rights we as a nation have spilled so much blood to achieve!Dustin

  5. nick barrington March 8, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    If you think only white people can be racist, then YOU’RE racist

    • John March 8, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Right on Nick. And as I read the comments I saw no mention of the fact that Karl Malone, yes, that Karl Malone of BB fame, has been a board member of the NRA for several years, voted into the position by those obviously racist OWGs (joke there for you who don’t see it).

      • Brandon March 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm #


  6. Wardell March 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    As a Black Male and NRA Member, I am amazed that a guy like Russell Simmons who has supported the artistic degrading of black females in videos along with the blatant visual and unbridled language would want to enter into this arena. In reading this article, does he believe that his “artistic” past has confused the blurred minds of those youth in the struggle? Does he not in look in the mirror and feel deeply troubled by his promotion of a lifestyle that has been devastating to our communities. You are seeking answers and support from the government? You need to rid yourself from this dependency!!! Washington is not concerned about the black community. Their concern is with the 11,12,13 million Non-Americans who can get a job quicker than a “Black Male Citizen” with a criminal record and even ones without. He talks about the NRA helping “Black America” with the respective programs indicated. Ok, lets add another program that is called “I will Snitch on You”. This program supports the attitude and belief that I will not stand back and watch you kill, rape, steal, harm, injury another person in my community. I will not support the killing and devaluing of another black male, I will not watch another mother crying over the casket of her child killed by violence in her community, I will not support the fear that our elderly experience in our communities. Another program would be “I am Educated and Black”, this programs supports the belief that I am not trying to be white when it comes to being educated and trained. I have the knowledge and tools to be a viable asset for my business or the company I work for. That program like Peacekeepers will also include not supporting gansta rap and the violence it has on the black-on-black crime epidemic that is destroying our communities. That last paragraph about corporations and dirty pockets with rolls of cash. Which industry is he talking about?

    The BET article. “It is incredible to witness a Black man champion the sale and distribution of guns to a national community that has been devasted by the epidemic of gun violence, in the age of Trayvon Martin, of Hadiya Pendleton” “Sorry, I have been unable to locate the gansta rap videos on the NRA website.” The gun is not the problem with gun violence in this world. When you promote the sale and distribution of saying it is ok to use a gun if you have a “beef” with someone, that it is ok to be a criminal, that looking at another black male and saying that he is of no value, “just kill him.” He is going through the same hell as you!!! Let’s work together and help each other make a difference and get out of this mess. It is a mental health issue and those individuals should not have access to guns!!! Urban riot! Stop allowing that government you support bring in other people into your communities that open up liquor stores and sub-standard convenience stores that have no nutritional value for our children. If you own the business, you set the standards that supports and uplifts that community!!! “It is the guiding force for one of the most poisonous organizations in the nation’s history and one to be rejected by sensible Americans everywhere.” If this statement is true in which I do not concur, then what do you call a organization that supports and sponsors the sale and distribution of videos that degrade, glorify violence, destroys communities and promotes gansta(s) with guns. Genocide?

    Today, You and I have both supported our 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. I support the NRA and my 2nd Amendment rights. I support Colion Noir and his right to enlighten us about the real dangers that are effecting Americans and their freedom. The government feels that it has the right to give and take away the foundation of our Constitution. Change comes within our communities when we say enough to violence within ourselves, to a lack of respect and devaluing of others and a willingness to look in the mirror and know what is right and what is wrong. We are not alike, we have different beliefs and opinions, we don’t vote the same and will question the direction of our government through the ballot box. I will say this, “Before you try to say that there is a problem in my house, you might want to look around and address/clean up the issues in yours.” “Don’t Tread On Me”

    • Robert March 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Well Said!

  7. Drmaudio March 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    I would suspect the NRA’s motivation for hiring Mr. Colion Noir was to engage a younger audience, rather then the african american audience.

  8. Frank Sharpe March 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Nice job, Brandon!

  9. Rob Morse March 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    I’m glad Colion Noir is presenting his material through the NRA. Good for them both. We have people of all colors at the range, but not so many at the NRA Council meetings. Maybe this will help.