He seems to use the word “thug” as a synonym for “young black male.” In a letter he wrote from jail to his grandmother, Dunn said, “The Jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots when they're threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.”But I expect he mirrors the feelings a lot of white people have to the recent verdict in this case. And so its worth deconstructing what he has to say. Kaminsky levels his most virulent criticism at the response of Ta-Nehisi Coates - who provided this historical context.
In my opinion, stipulating that my information is limited, Dunn seems to be an angry racist who was looking for trouble.
I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson's genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings [sic], that George Washington's abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge. I insist that the G.I Bill's accolades are inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return.For Kaminsky, this reference to a few examples from our history is a dangerous and twisted view of the United States. Of course, he's the one doing the twisting when he says that Coates claims that Jefferson's treatment of Sally Hemmings is more important than his writing of "the single most important political document in human history." That's not what Coates said...he said the latter is "no more important" than the former. This might sound like I'm nit picking. But exaggerating someone's point is a typical tool used to try to discredit them.
Normally I'd try to avoid Godwin's Law in a situation like this. But Kaminsky goes there.
I wonder if Mr. Coates would say that no Jew should ever forgive Germany...At this point I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out. Nowhere does Coates address the issue of forgiveness. So I'm not sure how Kaminsky got there. But his analogy fails on a more important level. Conflating his ability to forgive individual Germans for the Holocaust to the African American experience of racism fails to take into consideration that most Americans don't even know the history Coates is referring to (lets have a contest to see how many people know about Oney Judge or how blacks were excluded from the benefits of the G.I. Bill). We've simply whitewashed it all. I have to wonder how much forgiveness Kaminsky would feel when confronting a German Holocaust denier?
As a Jew, I admit it hasn’t been easy, even though I was born two decades after the end of World War II, to consider each German I meet as an individual rather than just tar them with the brush of their country’s brutal (and relatively recent) history. But, especially when I was living in Europe and traveling to Germany for tourism or on business, I did just that and found most Germans to be like most people in any other western country.
But Mr. Coates gives me, a white guy, no such benefit of the doubt...
But for Coates to simply try to remind us of a few episodes from that history, Kaminsky calls him "a race hustler of the first order" and "dangerous, bordering on evil." In other words, its not slavery and Jim Crow that were evil, but Coates insistence that we face that part of our history.
When Paula Deen wants to have a "plantation-themed" wedding reception, Republicans keep suggesting that African Americans were better off during slavery, a Duck Dynasty star says he never saw an "unhappy Negro" during the Jim Crow era and even a Supreme Court Justice suggests that things were better for black people prior to the Civil Rights Movement, its clear that too many Americans are clueless about our history. And so I'd suggest to Mr. Kaminsky that when we can finally face all that - perhaps THEN we can start talking about forgiveness. Until that happens, he's just asking us to continue embracing the lie.