Candace Owens is a conservative commentator and political activist. She is the founder of BLEXIT (Black Exit), a movement dedicated to leading Black voters away from the Democratic Party. Owens was a liberal before having what she describes as a “conservative awakening” in 2016 that eventually led to the launch of her political YouTube channel RedPillBlack and tenure as communications director for Turning Point USA from 2017 to 2019. Owens continues to lead BLEXIT and hosts a weekly podcast, The Candace Owens Show, through PragerU. Her first book Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation was released on February 4th, 2020. A version of this interview was originally published in the Brown Political Review.
Amelia Spalter: You’ve often cited the left bolstering a victim mentality among Black America as a motivation for BLEXIT. Do you consider perpetrating this victim mentality to be a form of racism?
Candace Owens: If you look at someone and say “You’re a victim.” And that person responds, “Actually, no, I’m not a victim” and your reaction is to get angry, that says something about you. That says that you are not actually trying to help that person. You are trying to feel good about yourself. You view Black Americans as puppies that need rescuing. You walk away with a badge of honor to display “Look, I care about the plight of the Black people.” What if we do not need you to care about us? What if I do not view myself as your victim, but as your equal? That is the challenge I present with BLEXIT. We represent ourselves as your equals. We say no thank you to government handouts. We say no thank you to your pity party. We don’t need it. We need sensible economic policy. We stand alongside every other American, regardless of race or sex.
How does BLEXIT make space for Americans across a broad range of value systems?
BLEXIT is the fire. We’re going to use this fire to burn down the Democratic plantation that exists to separate Blacks and whites and Hispanics based on dividing us with skin color rather than uniting us over ideas. BLEXIT is saying to Black Americans “You can release yourself from this victim narrative and recognize that you are Americans first and foremost. When someone jumps onstage and says, “Make America great again,” you don’t need to be defended, because you are an American. We’ve allowed white liberals to make us feel as though we are somewhere separate from the American dream. BLEXIT is telling us that we are a part of the American dream.
What is the Democratic plantation?
We used to be physical slaves to the Democrat Party and now we are mental slaves. We’re seeing more or less the same tactics play out. First and foremost, doing all of the work for the Democrats and getting nothing in return. We give them our votes while our communities and neighborhoods are suffering. For example, nobody is talking about the rise of illiteracy. In places like California, 75% of Black boys can’t pass a basic literacy exam, and it is similar in any inner city. Making sure we were uneducated was also necessary to maintaining the Democrat platform and slave ownership, because an educated mind cannot be enslaved.
You recently said race is becoming a business, how so?
Race is a business, so is gender, so is sex, so is being lesbian or gay. I’ll give you an example outside of race. First of all, if I am raising millions of dollars to solve a problem, why would I ever want that problem to go away? Common sense 101. If I am making millions of dollars from gay people’s suffering, why would I ever want gay people to stop suffering? Think of GLAAD as an organization. Their platform was all about gay rights. Then what happened a few years ago? Gay people got the right to marry! And at first it was, “Oh yay, this is amazing, it’s all over, we can move forward.”
Did that stop them? No, they immediately found another issue to fundraise on. Now we’ve gotten to the T. It’s about the trans debate. Then they’re adding a Q, an R, an S, a U, a V, because they never want to stop saying “here’s a new problem we need to fix” so that GLAAD can continue to raise money. They are a fraudulent organization. The same with the NAACP, which by the way, was founded by white liberals. It is a mechanism for power and raising money. It is all fraudulent.
You’ve said you want to see an “ideological civil war” — what do you want it to look like?
It’s happening right now. Black people are actually debating ideologically, not “we all have to be Democrats” groupthink. These conservatives starting their own platforms, gaining their own followers, and hosting their own events is beautiful to see. Having the audacity to think for yourself, not hide, and not vote quietly is a strength, especially when you are on the side of truth.
You have been accused of being unknowingly exploited for right wing propaganda, who do you think is being involuntarily used as left wing propaganda?
Cardi B, she’s the biggest one. She has no idea how stupid the democratic party thinks she is. Her life is a conservative story, she went from nothing to something without taking any handouts. Whether you like her music or not is up to you, but her success story is actually something that is central to the core concepts of the American dream. Yet, now that capitalism has put her at the top, the left is telling her she needs to sell socialism. There would be no Cardi B in a socialist society. It is unfortunate that she has unwittingly become a puppet for the Democratic Party.
You’ve spoken about your distaste for the current representation of Black people in modern media. What do you feel delineates between positive and negative representations?
The positive representation was years ago when we used to have family-focused shows with the Cosbys, the Winslows, and the Jeffersons. An easy example of negative influence is that the number one show in Black America right now is Love and Hip Hop. There are no examples of positive Blackness on TV at all, we’re portrayed as either thugs, aspiring rappers, or baby mommas. That conditions our youth to aspire towards that and think it is a route that they can take towards success. I grew up watching Black people who worked as doctors and as lawyers who were present in their families while finding career success. We need to return to that.
Do you think higher education is helping or hurting America?
Higher education is hurting all of America. People aren’t learning how to think, they’re actually learning the opposite. College campuses have become islands of totalitarianism where people are scared to have a conservative thought. They’re not learning how to disagree and be disagreed with. They’re not learning how to debunk opinions or how to debate different ideas. They’re just learning how to group think, and that is very scary. What’s sad about it, is students do not realize that they are being victimized, because they are not being prepared for the real world. The mortgage does not care about your feelings, the job market does not care about your feelings. Our college students who have to cuddle therapy puppies to cope with the outcome of a free and fair election are going to have to learn how to deal with real life conflict.
What do you think about diversity quotas for hiring and admissions practices?
You’ve found your racism. Those practices are literally the opposite of Martin Luther King’s dream. He wanted people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Those programs are literally proposing that we judge people based on the color of their skin. That is sending society backwards.
We need to develop a merit-based system, because if you look at the results, affirmative action does not work. What it really does is mismatch kids into schools they should never have been in in the first place. What happens when you send a Black person, any person, who wouldn’t have otherwise qualified, into Harvard? They end up at the bottom of their class. An admission letter does not suddenly make you understand the material. Getting in does not magically enable you to keep pace with your peers who prepared to be there. It is foolishness and I am strongly opposed to it, as everyone should be.
What do you think about cancel culture and how have you managed to stay above it?
Cancel culture is about silencing critics. Of course, everybody has something they can be cancelled over if you’re going to use political correctness as a weapon. You see kids being “cancelled” at 17! Kids are supposed to be stupid and make mistakes, they learn and grow from that. A bigger way of looking at it is if we don’t start reversing this trend, we’re going to see a rise in depression and mental disorders. People will feel they’re socially imprisoned.
As to how cancel culture affects me, I couldn’t care less. I think I have done a good job of presenting myself as an imperfect character intentionally and purposefully, because I am not perfect. I am a person who has made many mistakes. Probably the biggest one was being a liberal for the first half of my life.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.