Skip to main content

Why we conservatives are still getting it wrong with Bundy

By Crystal Wright
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1725 GMT (0125 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Conservative writer Crystal Wright is outraged by her party's embrace of racist rancher Bundy
  • Her followers on Twitter have tried to make excuses for Bundy's comments
  • Some conservatives initially applauded Bundy's stand against the federal government
  • Wright: "The real insult is Bundy never should have been embraced in the first place"

Editor's note: Crystal Wright is a conservative writer who runs the blog ConservativeBlackChick.com. She also is a principal at the Baker Wright Group, a communications and public relations firm. You can follow her on Twitter @GOPBlackChick. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- I don't know what's more offensive: rancher Cliven Bundy telling blacks they'd be better off as slaves picking cotton or conservatives who continue to defend him.

Not only were his comments racist, but under no stretch of the imagination could anyone argue blacks were better off during slavery with no rights, working for free and being held the property of white people.

I tweeted my outrage at Bundy's remarks, who by the way is a Republican, and to my surprise many of my followers excused his behavior, tweeting things like:

"I don't think he's a racist. Just old school."

More like Cliven Bundy is "an old school racist" is what I responded.

Others tweeted things like I "needed to go back and watch the clip with an open mind."

Or that "the Cliven issue is about Federal overreach please don't follow libs and make it about race."

I've watched the clip many times with a very open mind and each time I come to the same conclusion: Bundy is a racist.

If slavery was such a great institution and better than being on welfare, as Bundy declared, why doesn't Bundy go back in time, become a slave and pick cotton for plantation owners without getting paid? He needs a history lesson about the horrors of slavery and why "we blacks" no longer call ourselves Negros.

Crystal Wright
Crystal Wright

I'm glad to see many conservatives swiftly condemned Bundy's comments. But the real insult to injury for me as a black conservative woman is they never should have embraced him in the first place.

Conservatives are supposed to be the party that believes in adhering to the Constitution and the laws of our land. We talk about this to the point of obsession, myself included, with regard to issues like immigration, affirmative action, Obamacare, etc.

Yet conservatives of all kinds couldn't wait to support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who for over 20 years has refused to follow the laws of our land and Constitution by not paying over $1 million in grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management.

CNN's Chris Cuomo pointed this out to Bundy in his interview Friday, reminding him that he might want to read the Constitution he carries in his pocket.

The federal government owns 85% of Nevada's land. In other western states the federal government also owns large swaths of land. Is it government overreach? Sure.

But the way to tackle that government overreach is -- as members of Congress, conservative media personalities and others know very well -- to introduce legislation to fix it.

Cliven Bundy: I'm not a racist
Bodyguard would take bullet for Bundy
Cliven Bundy: Life in the media

One doesn't just wake up one morning like Cliven Bundy did and decided he's not going to follow the laws of our land. There are lots of laws I don't like -- most notably paying taxes -- but I follow them because I don't want to go to jail.

As BLM rangers tried to confiscate Bundy's 500 cattle for his disobeying the law, Bundy joined about 50 other supporters, many of whom were armed with guns and refused to yield.

And conservatives like Sean Hannity and Sen. Rand Paul cheered him on in his defiance. Then Bundy reveals himself as a racist.

The entire Bundy affair just makes the Republican Party look bad. Are all Republicans racist? Absolutely not. But many overwhelming came out in support of this lunatic.

I think it's an awful day for conservatives. I think we need serious reflection because we're not going to win 2016 with this attitude, keep doing things the same old way. We have old white men saying offensive things to women and minorities, and I'm tired of it.

At a time when the GOP needs to bring more minorities into our tent -- along with women for that matter -- embracing fools like Bundy doesn't help and certainly will put us farther down the path of losing in 2016.

I've said it over the past five years, but it continues to fall on deaf ears: The Republican Party at all levels from political organizations to offices of members of Congress needs to do a better job hiring blacks. Not to do "black or minority outreach" but to do the same jobs your white staffers are doing.

Maybe if the GOP would stop treating blacks as "others" and really give us a seat at the table, it would stop acting like the stupid party and start winning presidential elections again.

But, sadly, I won't hold my breath.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2248 GMT (0648 HKT)
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2049 GMT (0449 HKT)
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT