BLACKOUT by Candace Owens (Review)

In her book, BLACKOUT, Candace Owens tackles some of the black communities’ most pressing problems, leaving the faint of heart in the wake of her relentless pursuit for remedies. In no nonsense prose she shines a beacon of truth on those myths, and misconceptions that have contributed to undermining families, degrading education, and abandoning faith. She describes the struggle between victimhood and victor-hood in today’s black communities and assails the ever-increasing spate of the bigotry of lowered expectations.

Owens shares that in her formative years she had some rather shaky and less than desirable habits but credits her awakening to her grandfather, a sharecropper born in the Jim Crow South. She describes him as a man of integrity with a strong Judeo-Christian work ethic who left nothing to chance. His daily struggles allowed no room or time for debates about gender-pronouns, safe-spaces, and microaggressions.

As a strong believer in family, she explores the reasons why the institution of marriage is currently in full retreat. She discusses the devastating impact single parent families have had on society. She fully subscribes to what President Obama said in his 2008 Father’s Day speech, “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important.” And she heartedly agrees with his further observation, “And the foundations of our community are weaker because of [the deterioration of family]it.” Her suggestions as to how the mitigate the damage inflicted upon black and white communities may be disturbing to some, enlightening to others, and worth consideration and conversation by all.

Owens also tackles the hypocrisy that has found traction in both black and white communities in today’s highly charged political environment. For example, she criticizes those who turn a blind eye to Hollywood misogynists while decrying ‘toxic masculinity’. Another of her grievances is with what she calls ‘Overcivilization’.  She illustrates the term by contrasting the young men and boys who fought and died in World War II to those college students today who retreat to safe spaces to dodge the torture and anguish of opposing views.

Owens is against affirmative action but in  favor of school choice; her reasons will give even the most casual reader pause. However, her opinion on the impact the views of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had on society, as compared to those of Al Sharpton, will surprise no one.

According to Owens, striving for academic excellence is scorned by some in the black community as “acting white”. She regards that expression a racist characterization, one that has stunted the growth of too many. She maintains, striving for academic excellence should not be about pigment but about possibilities. She also believes that ‘welfare’ is a necessary safety net but one which should not be used to ensnare folks in a web of dependency.

Although there are many surprises in the book, one struck this reader as the ultimate irony. The hymn “Amazing Grace” a Negro spiritual that was originally sung on the plantations by black slaves was written by slave trader John Newton in the latter part of the eighteenth century. She shares other surprising but little-known facts about the rise and demise of slavery in the West, an institution which shamefully persists today in parts of Africa, India, and the Muslim world.

Candace Owens is a no holds barred, take no prisoners, champion of civil rights, civil disobedience, and civility. Although her resounding clarion call to action is clearly scored for the ears and hearts of black communities the lyrics need to be sung by all of us if the great symphony of our lives is to be played out in harmony.

About the Author
Since retiring from IBM as an IT Systems Analyst Steve Wenick has served as a freelance book reviewer for HarperCollins Publishing. His reviews have appeared in The Algemeiner as well as The Jewish Voice of Southern New Jersey and The Jewish Voice of Philadelphia. His articles on Jewish, Holocaust and Israel topics also have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Attitudes Magazine and Varied Voices. Steve and his wife are residents of Voorhees, New Jersey.
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