The NRA doesn't care about Black people

By: Gabriela Grant

I'm sure you watched the NRA's latest ad and immediately had concerns about the racial undertones within it. It makes us go back to the original purpose of the NRA, and if its adamant support for gun rights matters applies to black people. 

 photo via  NRA

photo via NRA

 'The primary goal of the association would be to ‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,’ according to a magazine editorial written by Church.” Initially, when I read this statement in the “About Us” tab on the National Rifle Association website, I concluded this was an association that stood for the protection of this country’s second amendment right (I will admit, the word “scientific” threw me way off, what does that even mean?). I interpreted this “primary goal” to be non-discriminatory, meaning every single United States citizen’s (regardless of race, gender, sex, ethnic background, etc) 2nd Amendment right was protected to defend themselves in any circumstance where someone poses a threat.

However, once I watched a recent “advertisement” for the National Rifle Association, my thoughts were shifted to believe that the association’s intent in protecting citizen’s 2nd Amendment right, excludes black people. In fact, the association seemed to suggest the 2nd Amendment Right should be exercised against black people, specifically “the resistance movement” (aka Black Lives Matter Movement). So then what role does the National Rifle Association play in the Black Lives Matter Movement, and in the black community in general? Do they believe in protecting 2nd Amendment rights for everyone?

 The commercial repeatedly uses the pronouns “their” and “they”, establishing a very distinct division between the white and black race in this country. The white woman (check out her hoop earrings heavily associated with black culture) makes direct comments towards the “resistance” movement and how “they” cause nothing but chaos and violence over racism, sexism, etc., leaving the police no choice but to do their job. The commercial ends with the woman stating that we must “fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.” So what exactly does this mean for the National Rifle Association in regards to the black community?

Philando Castile, a black man from Minnesota, with legal gun rights, was shot and killed by an officer just seconds after letting the officer know he had his papers and rights to carry a gun. The NRA was remarkably silent. Clarence Daniels walked into a Walmart with a holstered, legal gun in his pants and was tackled down by a store-goer who assumed he was carrying the gun with malicious intent. 31-year-old Marisa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after sending a gunshot into a wall as a warning shot to protect herself from her husband. The NRA on these cases? Silent. It turns out, black skin which is automatically criminalized, doesn't quite work out with equality pertaining to gun rights (or anything in this country, for that matter). 

According to a study done by researchers Alexander Finlander and Noah J. Kaplan, titled Racial Resentment and Whites' Gun Policy Preferences in Contemporary America, their research showed, "the gun rights narrative is color-coded and evocative of racial resentment". As summarized by Mother Jones, "a recent study found that the most vocal supporters of gun rights tended to imagine criminals as black, while envisioning “law-abiding” citizens as white." Racism is so deeply engrained in every aspect of life, that black people can simply not expect to have fair treatment or consideration by corporations like the NRA. Last year, the NRA spent over $54,000,000 on lobbying to protect gun rights - except gun rights for black people, of course. 

I think many can agree it is very clear that the NRA do not stand by the side of the black community, their issues, nor their rights, especially not in the case of Black Lives Matter. Not only does their latest ad insinuate their refusal to stand with black people, but given their great power as an organization with much political influence, they do not believe in protecting black people’s 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

They genuinely believe that it is their duty to “fight” back the black community and their “resistance movement”. And again, being that this is the National Rifle Association, does that mean they are suggesting to fight back with weapons? Being that this is a commercial, an advertisement, what exactly are they advertising? To be completely honest, I have no idea what they are advertising. In fact, if this is in fact an “advertisement” what is being advertised is a war on the black community. Remember, the National Rifle Association believes they must fulfill their duty of fighting back with a “clenched fist of truth”.

The NRA's latest ad is just another reminder (in the words of Michael Jackson) : they don't really care about us.