Why Is Dinesh D’Souza Embraced by Conservatives?

Here’s his appraisal of the working lives of contemporary black Americans: “The slaves all worked while many modern urban planation dwellers don’t, nor do they aspire to do so in the normal, productive economy. To the extent they have jobs, those jobs are criminal assignments.”

At one point, D’Souza acknowledges that he is straying into controversial ground in his harsh assessment of the mentality of black Americans. “I have to tread carefully,” he says, and offers an analogy from Indian society to clarify his meaning while minimizing offense. The pathetic dependency of African Americans on Lyndon Johnson’s welfare state, D’Souza writes, reminds him of untouchables in his native India. “The untouchables too fell into a kind of collective stupor in which they could hardly imagine an escape from their degraded lot.”

Whites, by contrast, are described by D’Souza in admiring, almost heroic terms. “There is one group that the Democrats have not managed to enslave: working-class whites. … They were part of FDR’s labor coalition. But now they have broken loose … I call this group ‘holdouts.’ Trump is their hero, and this white working class is attracted to his populist American nationalism, both on economic and cultural grounds.”

“The white working class remains as ornery, rebellious, and independent-minded as it always was. It hasn’t given in; it hasn’t thrown in the towel.”

“[Working-class whites] are down, but they are not yet out. They may not have jobs, but they still have a work ethic. Their families and communities may be hurting, but they still what to pull them together.”

“Only whites—even whites undergoing economic hardship and plagued by cultural dysfunction—have so far resisted succumbing to the lure of the Democratic plantation.”

Perhaps the most striking reveal of D’Souza’s present attitudes is found in his 2017 book The Big Lie. There he references the Tulsa riot of 1921: “In that incident, supposedly in retaliation for an atrocious rape of a white woman by a black man, thousands of racist Democrats rampaged through black neighborhoods, burning homes, looting businesses, killing dozens of people, detaining hundreds, and leaving thousands of blacks homeless.”

It’s beyond strange that D’Souza would claim to know that all those anonymous rioters were Democrats, each and every one. Oklahoma in 1921 was, politically, a closely divided state. The state had a Democratic governor in 1921, but the mayor of Tulsa was a Republican, as were one of Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators and five of its nine U.S. representatives. The newspaper whose inflammatory coverage incited the riot had endorsed Warren G. Harding for president in 1920 and espoused a consistently pro-Republican editorial line.

Even stranger, though, is D’Souza’s account of the pretext for the riot: “Supposedly in retaliation for an atrocious rape of a white woman by a black man.” Historians concur that there was no such rape. The accused man—Dick Rowland was his name—and the purported victim, Sarah Page, were alone together in a busy office elevator for only a few minutes. Witnesses heard a woman’s scream, and then saw the young man run away. Tulsa police questioned both Rowland and Page the next day. Page declined to press charges. Rowland, who would survive the riot, was never prosecuted for any crime.

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