A fiery debate recently broke out on CNN after a black liberal claimed he was ashamed of a black conservative for not attacking President Trump and even questioned his African-American ancestry. Outraged, the black conservative shut him down.
Specifically, during a four-person panel interview on CNN’s “Newsroom” with host Brooke Baldwin earlier this week, Keith Boykin, a black Democratic strategist, told Paris Dennard, a black Republican political commentator and Trump supporter who served as White House Director of Black Outreach under President George W. Bush, “the reality is that President Trump has not done enough [to condemn racism] and I am ashamed that you as an African-American, Paris, will not say that.”
Boykin’s comments made Dennard understandably upset. “Well Keith, I don’t need you to try to pull my black card. I am well aware of my blackness and don’t need you to try to classify me as being one. I understand what racism is,” he replied.
“Are you?” asked Boykin, suggesting that Dennard isn’t a “true” black person because he is a Republican Trump supporter.
“Keith, do not go there. Do not go there. I know what it means to be a black man in this country. I know and I experience racism on a regular basis by being a Trump supporter and by being a proud American who happens to be a Republican,” retorted Dennard, noticeably angry.
“I get racist comments about my family. About my mother. About my girlfriend. About my character. Every single day and mostly coming from black people,” he continued, noting, “my family is from Georgia; we have members of my family that went missing because of the KKK taking them up. So don’t come to me and tell me what it means to be a black person in this country.”
In response, Boykin said, “I asked you a question, Paris. Calm down and answer the question.”
Unsurprisingly, his comment only further upset Dennard. “No, no, no. I won’t calm down because I won’t be attacked by you about my blackness because I happen to be a Republican,” he shot back.
“Paris, you’re really going off the rails here,” replied Boykin.
“I am going off the rails because you have no grounds and no respect to attack somebody like this,” explained Dennard.
Still, Boykin continued attacking Dennard. “Paris, you’re obviously very sensitive and defensive about this issue, Paris, because you have your own issues and demons to resolve,” he stated.
Furious, Dennard warned, “Keith, you better watch your mouth when you talk to me.” To Baldwin, he added, “get your guests under control. Get them under control because I will not come on this show and be disrespected, have my ethnicity attacked.”
But before she could regain control of the situation, Boykin, speaking to Dennard, said, “but you can disrespect African Americans every day when you come on this show?”
Livid, Dennard countered, “you don’t represent them at all. You don’t represent the 8% who voted for this president.”
Frustrated with the lack of civility, Baldwin jumped in to try and de-escalate the situation. “Guys, take that conversation and have it off camera. I would really like to have a substantive conversation about race,” she stated.
“[Then] he better watch how he talks about me,” reiterated Dennard.
Unfortunately, Boykin wasn’t finished being disrespectful. “Paris, shut up, please. For god’s sake!” he exclaimed.
Outraged, Dennard turned to Baldwin and asked, “so you’re going to let him tell me to shut up?” He added, “Ken Cuccinelli did that to Simone Sanders and there was a meltdown. Don’t tell me to shut up on this show. This is preposterous and you know it.”
At this point, Baldwin, who was clearly fed up with the lack of civility, brought Joseph Pinion, another black Trump supporter on the panel, into the conversation. In a calm and collected tone, he urged Dennard and Boykin to both work together to fix the issues plaguing the black community rather than attack each other. Specifically, he said, “regardless of what’s happening right now in this country, we have to find a way to fix these issues as brothers. Not tearing each other down, not engaging in black-on-black intellectual crime in prime time.”