Recruiting black conservatives: ‘Runaway Slave’ vs ‘Django Unchained’

By Tom Swain

Django Unchained

Django Unchained (Photo credit: Sam_Carpenter1974)

By now, it’s likely too late to register for the second day of @large, billed as “a conference for a new majority.” You could go to and find out about it. Tickets, if you can still get one, are $79.

According to the website, this was “a one and a half day conference for black conservatives interested in engaging in the political process. The conference was to be held May 30-31, 2013, at Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge, La. The goal of this conference was to inspire, motivate, and encourage black conservatives to get involved in politics and build a constituency within their communities.”

The itinerary for the event included “prominent, conservative black speakers, workshops and discussions on various campaign disciplines such as fundraising and messaging, networking, and a showing of Rev. C.L. Bryant’s documentary “Runaway Slave.” Reverend Bryant is the headliner for the event.”

I found out about @large on The Hayride, which bills itself as “Louisiana’s premier conservative political commentary site.” (Where else can you read about a brazen attempt by party leaders “at a regular meeting of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee” “to completely replace the current LAGOP bylaws with a newer version”?!?)

Hayride founder and publisher Scott McKay was one of the organizers of the @large event.

It is interesting that McKay was associated with @large. While a self-described “staunch conservative,” McKay has expressed a few opinions in The Hayride that might not seem, well, dare I say it, “black conservative.”

Consider his criticism of Michele Obama’s choice of shoes:

. . . but if our First Lady thinks these ugly-ass Chuck Taylor knockoffs are worth $540, there is an even more severe dearth of economic understanding in this administration than even I thought.

Seriously, enough already about the Michelle Obama-as-style-maven crap. She ain’t Evita Peron and she definitely ain’t Jackie O. Let the woman alone. I don’t have much use for her and her racist thesis at Princeton and her disdain for America up until the point where it decided maybe she could have something more than a 300K-a-year cush PR gig at a hospital in Chicago, but I’m happy to let that sleeping dog lie until America finally wakes up and runs her husband’s fascisti out of the White House.

(Incidentally, you can use the link he provided to see whether her thesis is racist. It does avoid run-on sentences.)

Speaking of run-on sentences, consider McKay’s defense of Rush Limbaugh:

Now that Rush Limbaugh’s involvement in an ownership group attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams has been terminated due to bad publicity surrounding “quotes” trumpeted by left-wing propagandists which were subsequently exposed as lies, I wonder – does it not allow us free rein to treat Limbaugh’s tormentors similarly?

For example, I understand Jesse Jackson makes a living as an extortionist.

I understand Al Sharpton is a bald-faced liar, hoaxster and criminal.

I understand CNN’s Rick Sanchez once got drunk and ran over a pedestrian outside of Pro Player Stadium in Miami. That pedestrian ultimately died.

Wait, stop. Jackson, Sharpton and Sanchez actually are guilty of those allegations. It’s NOT the same thing to point those out as to ascribe a defense of slavery to Limbaugh – when despite the detailed documentation of everything the radio host has said on his show since it made its national debut in 1988 there has been ZERO evidence made public that such a quote exists beyond the Left’s poisonous imagination.

What is a more accurate analogy would be to say that Jason Whitlock fellates rhesus monkeys. Or that Mercury Morris keeps Guatemalan boys in his basement for purposes of human sacrifice every new moon. Or that DeMaurice Smith and DeMarco Farr engage in a homosexual affair.

(Notice that McKay is not limiting his disparagement to prominent blacks. Latinos and gays are included, too.)

McKay practices Republican outreach to religious minorities as well:

It’s my belief that Islam is evil, but that doesn’t mean Muslims are inherently so. The vast majority of the Muslims in this country do not represent a threat to our society, but unfortunately a strict adherence to the Koran and the sharia law it demands is wholly incompatible with our way of life.

How does McKay treat minority Republicans? Trivia question: can you name the minority Louisiana Republican most recently elected to Congress? Hint: his name is not Bill Jefferson. That’s right, it’s, as McKay puts it, “Spineless Twerp Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao,” the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress. (McKay does not write Piyush “Bobby” Jindal.)

What was Cao’s offense? “In the dead of night, on a Saturday no less, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the worst piece of legislation in American history – and Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao crossed party lines to vote for it.”

What legislation does McKay hates so much he cannot even bring himself to write the words? The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, in McKay’s opinion, is “the worst piece of legislation in American history.”

Really? Is it worse than the Fugitive Slave Act?

Republicans, like McKay, who have tried to connect with black voters must be frustrated. Why can’t they be taught to ignore their own economic interests and vote for Republican candidates, just like middle-class white voters routinely do? Maybe black voters are reachable and teachable, but they have to ignore history, too. There’s a lot of history to overcome.

Consider another historical opinion from McKay: The October 1964 nationally televised speech by Ronald Reagan endorsing Barry Goldwater for president was “perhaps the greatest political speech in American history.”

Goldwater had opposed the Civil Right Act of 1964, because it interfered with the rights of people to do business or not do business with whomever they wanted. Think lunch counters, motels, etc. . . .

Incidentally, in the November 1964 election, Goldwater won his home state, Arizona, plus Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Goldwater became the first Republican to win all these southern states since Reconstruction.

But Reagan never mentioned civil rights in his October 1964 speech, “perhaps the greatest political speech in American history.” October 1964 was the month when a KKK member gave information to the FBI that led to the arrest of 18 men for killing three civil rights workers, the “Mississippi Burning” case. In October 1964, 35-year-old Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize. Reagan did not mention that, either, in what McKay calls “perhaps the greatest political speech in American history.”

So imagine my surprise when I found out that McKay helped put together the @large conference where Rev. C.L. Bryant will speak and show his movie, “Runaway Slave.”

“Runaway Slave” is available on Netflix. I decided that $79 is a lot for a movie. After all, Herman Cain gave away tickets to it during the 2012 campaign. Yes, Cain is in the movie for a few seconds, as is Glenn Beck.

Anyway, I watched it, despite a warning. Netflix gave me “our best guess for Tom” as a little more than two and a half stars. Their software knows me well.

I can’t believe I watched the whooooole thing. “Runaway Slave” ain’t “Django Unchained,” a well-written and entertaining movie by Quentin Tarentino.

Let Herman Cain explain the central metaphor of the movie, as he did to Rev. C.L. Bryant:

C. L, you see, the plantation used to be where you had the slavemaster and his family and he owned slaves. Today, it’s not just that plantation. It’s called the government plantation. It’s what many of these programs are trying to enslave all of us on. The size and scope and reach of government is the new plantation.

We see Rev. Bryant in Washington, D.C., where he visits two different demonstrations, one with the Tea Party (and Glenn Beck) and one with Rev. Al Sharpton. The camera jerks a lot, the color shifts from color to black and white and back. It is hard work watching this movie.

We follow Rev. Bryant to Atlanta, where he interviews black conservatives, including an African immigrant, on the subject of government dependency. He asks, “[h]ave the sons and daughters of former slaves traded one form of slavery for yet another?”

He visits Underground Railroad stops in Alabama and poses similar questions. He goes to Selma, Alabama (with 1960s demonstration footage mixed in as he crosses the Edmund Pettus Bridge) and has more interviews. He keeps driving, stopping, talking — but you get the picture.

Netflix says it slightly more succinctly, but less eloquently than Herman Cain and Rev. Bryant: “In a cross-country trek across America, Rev. C.L. Bryant makes the case that government entitlement programs are a new form of slavery.” Rev. Bryant makes his case over and over and over, but never quite convinces. This is argument by repeated assertion.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if you call a tail a leg, it’s still a tail, even if you call it a leg fifty times (or for 108 minutes, the length of “Runaway Slave”).

Interesting thing about the movie credits at the beginning — big red and blue star with a website “ Lower Taxes * Less Government * More Freedom.”

This is not the usual Hollywood movie company.

I checked it out at This is the usual Koch and friends 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 outfit, loaded with money — enough money that former Rep. Dick Armey got an $8 million golden handshake when he left because, he said, “[t]he top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive.”

FreedomWorks Executive Vice President Adam Brandon was scheduled to be at @large, along with FreedomWorks Senior Fellow Tom Borelli and 14 other speakers and panelists.

For $79, you can buy a lot of Netflix.

Contact Tom Swain at

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5 Responses to Recruiting black conservatives: ‘Runaway Slave’ vs ‘Django Unchained’

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Excellent article. Local bloggers Scott McKay, Kevin Kane, and their lesser brother Jeff Sadow, along with a host of commercial talk radio hosts pretending to Rush Limbaugh’s throne are determined to widen the divisions within our country as much as possible by promoting the tenets of the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist and others of their ilk. If Mr. McKay has read your piece, you may rest assured he will vilify you at length on his blog. The thing that troubles me the most about these guys is that they don’t seem to realize that fanning the flames of conflict within our country can lead to very negative consequences – Or, if they do, the implications are even more dire.


    • Robert Mann says:

      Oh, rest assured, McKay will overreact. He always does. It’s like the sun rising in the East. He can’t help himself. I’m counting on it.


  2. Maxine Crump says:

    I actually got a personal invitation to attend the At Large conference. I didn’t know how to take that. Do they know what i do? Is something conservation about a dialogue on race series? Or were they hoping to straighten out my thinking? I will tell you Bob, I thank you for words thoughts I wish I could have put in to such great words. I am just glad you did and I had the opportunity to read them. Thank you so much.


  3. Neil says:

    I believe I referred to a Daily Kos article a while back explaining in detail just why comparing the use of government assistance programs to slavery is incredibly condescending and yes, racist.

    To McKay’s praise of Reagan in 1964, I’d also add that Reagan’s FIRST post-convention speech in 1980 was the very county where the “Mississippi Burning” murders took place, where he said “I believe in states’ rights.” (And that didn’t win African Americans over? Go figure.)


  4. tls0 says:

    Philadelphia (MS) Freedom?
    “I believe in state’s rights; I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the constitution to that federal establishment. And if I do get the job I’m looking for, I’m going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.” Ronald Reagan, Neshoba County Fair 8/3/80, as reported by the Neshoba County Democrat 11/15/07, transcribed from a tape recording.

    More 1964 Reagan (same speech):
    “But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who’d come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She’s eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who’d already done that very thing.”
    same old anonymous welfare cadillacism he later perfected…


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