Blexit Founder Charms the Assembly at the American Experiment Annual Gala

Since 1990, the Center of the American Experiment has been the leading Conservative voice as Minnesota Think Tank. The Center historically has rewarded Conservative audiences with an august line-up of speakers. The impressive roster includes the names of Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Benjamin Netanyahu and George Bush ’41.

credit: James Netz

Minnesota favorite Candace Owens received welcome by President John Hinderaker and gales of enthusiastic applause one year after her acclaimed appearance before a Minnesota luncheon. The Center’s gala audience of nearly 1,000 packed the ballroom of the Downtown Hilton Hotel. She readily took over the stage as an accomplished communicator, as much at ease as if she were holding a conversation with a few close friends.

Though her credits are known by many, her name is still new to others: Who is Candace Owens?

Ms. Owens is a young black woman, sharply articulate and fearlessly unflappable, a speaker who recently faced down a congressional panel that tried to block her testimony. She brings an accomplished media presence having appeared on Fox News more than 250 times. Candace appears regularly on her own conservative internet vlog sponsored by Prager University where she facilely leads conversations with thought leaders of the day.

She’s best known by some as the founder of Blexit, a movement whose mission is to awaken minorities about the negligible representation their past voting habits have netted. Historically, she says, minorities have bought into the liberal message of victimhood, falling for big campaign promises and voting into office people who ultimately fail to live up to election promises to their minority constituents.

Candace has spoken at more than 50 colleges, encouraging conservative students to reject liberal bullying from fellow students and professors, to emerge to challenge the leftist domination that’s taken root on most college campuses today.

Candace Owens defines herself partially by who she is not. She rejects the liberal orthodoxy that would cast her, a black woman, into a mold as liberal and victim. She rejects liberal dogma that typecasts blacks by the color of their skin, insisting instead that lives are shaped by the quality of personal decisions. And, thanks to her grandfather, she is not a hater.

Candace discussed Blexit and her approach to life as a journey to assume responsibility, embrace self-reliance and strive to achieve personal victory, rather than grasping government freebies that guarantee a limited existence.

She described the life-shaping influence of her grandfather, a deeply Christian, hard-working North Carolina sharecropper who “never hated” and always sought answers in the Bible.

His enduring influence often comes into play, and especially so when the online blog she created went viral, with millions of views worldwide. “It was a very strange thing — some people (who were offended that her narrative varied from standard victimhood) tried to use KKK stories to control me, emotionally.” People today casually use that image, she said, but her grandfather actually had to deal with the Ku Klux Klan, a murderous hate group that once terrorized blacks.

My grandfather spoke about them, he had to deal with them, she said. “He would shoot back at those boys. We never learned how to be a victim in my grandfather’s house.”

The rest of the story about her grandfather who worked hard all his life and read the Bible to his granddaughter is that he lives on the North Carolina share-cropping farm where he worked, only now, he’s the owner, she said. He taught her that “Life isn’t about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get up.”

Second only to President Trump, she has the most re-tweeted political profile in America. Recently, news went viral in minutes that she had been suspended from Facebook, allegedly for violating what Facebook vaguely calls “community standards.” She says that it was liberal policies which got her suspended. But, her time-out was short-lived when a firestorm of protest by her supporters erupted on Twitter and elsewhere. Shortly notifying her of her reinstatement, Facebook sheepishly apologized for their error.

Conservatives are being censored every day in America, she said.

“What about the millions of conservatives who don’t have all those (supporters)?” Conservatives on social media are accused of hate speech, “but it really is speech that liberals don’t like.”

Her notoriety is rankling to some, and she has endured many epithets from liberals who would silence her. She mentioned one of the strangest names she has been called: “America’s first black white supremacist.”

Earlier in life, she tried on for size the liberal role that blacks were expected to adopt because of their skin color, but it just didn’t fit. “I’m embarrassed to have fallen under this liberal spell.”

(sub-head) Public School System’s Role in Liberal Indoctrination

The public school system imposes on pupils expected cultural norms, she says, but Candace’s inclination to question has been a constant in her life.

“I questioned everything as a child,” and the parental stock answer of that day was, “Because.” Children thus primed head off to school, with young trusting minds trained to internalize whatever they are taught. They have no life experience to prepare them to discern truth from fiction.

“Public schools are leftist indoctrination camps.” Public schools tell students that the color of their skin, rather than the decisions they make, is the primary shaper of their lives. “Public schools are teaching children how to be upset, who to blame.”

Later, in college, she enrolled in a course she called “Feminism 101.”

“If you’re teaching this, you do not want Candace Owens in your class.” Her teacher routinely portrayed scenarios of varied challenges women face, routinely blaming men as the root of every problem. “They were trying to program me to hate someone,” which she said is a cornerstone of liberal orientation.

“Liberals look externally when they have a problem (seeking someone to blame). This is the way they’re taught. Conservatives look inward.”

“I am not a feminist, I am a proud non-feminist.”

Her audience was rapt with attention to her narrative, and applause was frequent and sustained at many points.

Ms. Owens’ told what had awakening her to own conservative bent when she received a powerful nudge.

“I woke up when Donald J. Trump came down those steps,” to announce his candidacy for president. She watched in stunned awe, as, overnight, a man whom she had seen help racial communities and who had performed many generous public acts went from respected public figure to being called a racist, a misogynist, accused of marital infidelity and even rape. This reversal, which she saw as both inaccurate and unfair, tilted her scales toward conservativism.

“Is it possible that racism is being used to make single-issue votes?” she asked. “Yes.”

Police are cast as predators of black men in the 2016 election. The truth is that more white men and Hispanics are being shot by police, and this while police were 18 times more likely to be shot by a black man, she said. The Black Lives Matter movement is a social phenomenon that emerges to manipulate perceptions around election time, then goes dormant until the next cycle.

(subhead) Liberal Views in Media and Culture

Candace hits a litany of cultural ills.

“Something is wrong when media is mocking Jesus Christ.” Television shows like The View create “purposeful distraction and mocking of God.” And, “(Liberals) want government to replace God…there’s a war on the nuclear family…they want to break down the family unit.”

“…74 percent are single mothers in the black community. The biggest problem in the black community is father absence.”

“Toxic masculinity is a term made up by toxic feminists.”

“If you put God and family first, you will succeed,” Candace Owens emphatically proclaimed to applause.

American Experiment President John Hinderaker joined to lead a Q & A session, seated opposite Candace on center stage. Responding to an audience question, Ms. Owens replied, “I was miserable as a liberal – permanently in a state of anger,” a common attitude she sees among liberal college audiences.

Another questioner asked how she copes with personal attacks that sometimes blame her for distant events from which she is far removed. She said she’s even accused by some who say, “You have blood on your hands.”

She was invited by Republican representatives to testify about racism, but her testimony was blocked by Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a Democrat. He cited a requirement that a written transcript of testimony must be submitted to Nadler’s office 48 hours prior to addressing the committee. It was clear that Nadler did not want Candace to testify.

Sitting there before the committee, with her grandfather seated behind her, she said “I looked in their faces and thought, ‘My goodness, what cowards you all are.’”

Responding to a follow-up question about possible plans to run for elective office, Candace drew laughter when she replied, “Congressional hearings are super boring.” She can accomplish more by working outside the system, she said.

And, what about her Blexit rallies across the country? “They’re all sold out.”  Even though the mission is to recruit minorities to a new way of reasoning about their votes, “it’s about cultural inclusivity.” White people ask if they may attend. She tells them, “Yes, come, come…”

A video shown at rallies tells the story about what’s happening to black families. It’s a sad contrast to the positive images she saw watching the Huxtables on television, a sitcom that portrayed a successful black nuclear family that lived all together.

Abortion is a related issue that deeply impacts black families. “It’s really hitting the minority population.” Hispanics have the lowest rate of abortion, blacks are the highest “because they didn’t see the numbers (of aborted black babies).” The black population may have been cut in half by abortion, she said. “It’s just becoming a topic in the black community.”

What’s her view on a proposed voting age of 16? “They’re preying on the young. The Left is pushing for things that obviously can’t happen. Every living adult knows (getting everything for free) that can’t happen.”

They’re selling ideas to the young who don’t have life experience to know better, and who still believe in fairy tales, she said.

A final questioner introduced themselves as representing a local college where they are among the very few conservatives on campus. The questioner invited Candace to hold a Brexit rally on that campus.

She demonstrates high expectations for her own performance, and a powerful sub-text is evident: Candace can.


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Michael Border