Rick Ector gets LAID. As he should; it’s the name of his website (Legally Armed in Detroit). Rick Ector also gets the fact that the National Rifle Association is not his target demographic. And members of his site’s target demographic—African Americans seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights in a city that does a passable imitation of a war zone—are not likely to join to the NRA. So whyzzat then? Rick recently wrote his theory on the matter for ammoland.com, some of which I’ll share with you . . .
The first thing to note: Rick doesn’t use the “r” word. The NRA member’s post asks Is The National Rifle Association An Organization For Black People? As Will Smith might say, “Oh hell no.” As Rick said . . .
I will readily admit that the NRA has not made any significant progress or inroads towards increasing the number of black people in the organization and at its annual conventions. My attendance at the conference last week in St. Louis was my second NRA national convention. By my own personal accounting, I met twelve (12) black persons in attendance at the conference in St. Louis. I may have missed a few but not many.
Previously, I had attended the 2010 meeting in Charlotte. Sadly, I must report that both aforementioned events lacked significant participation by black people.
Now that’s what I call understatement. Twelve African Americans at a convention with over 73,700 attendees is as good an example of the RITZ (Round It To Zero) principle as you’re going to get (today). Rick reckons he knows why African Americans are staying away from the NRA in droves.
One frequently cited reason, given to me by a number of black firearm owners, is the perception that blacks feel that they would not be welcome . . .
Many black people can recount several instances in which they felt or experienced a trespass with racist roots. As such, many aren’t keen or apt to voluntarily place themselves in an environment in which they think that an attack would be inevitable. So, despite the fact that many black people who love guns and enjoy the right to own them live in the cities where the NRA holds its Annual Meetings, they don’t attend attend because of fear.
Blaming the victim? Absolutely.
Whether or not the NRA is guilty of institutional racism, I didn’t see the gun rights org making any attempt to welcome African Americans or other minorities to the convention. Their inner city plight is mentioned during speeches, but not by inner city blacks, Asians, Hispanics or other besieged minorities. How many of the NRA seminars are specifically aimed at people of color? None.
Get the picture? Rick offers another reason why the NRA’s OFWG (Old Fat White Guy) hoe-down is majorly monochromatic . . .
Another given reason why black folks don’t join the NRA or attend its conferences is that they do not know much about the organization and its history of empowering citizens with firearm ownership. Personally, I did not know much about the NRA until I sought out one of its credentialed Firearms Instructors for the prerequisite training for a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL).
And why, pray tell, hasn’t the NRA made an effort to tell African Americans about their work on their behalf (however laterally)? To that end, the NRA could lobby for and run rifle teams in inner city schools. They could work with, gulp, community organizers to help law-abiding African Americans get their concealed carry permits. They could generate NRA material with black faces on it.
Affirmative action as a legal concept? Not for me. Affirmative action to arm the most vulnerable members of our society? If Wayne’s mob does it, I’ll gladly wear a T-shirt that says I’m the NRA. On this, Rick and I agree:
The NRA will need to make it a conscious and overt goal to recruit significant numbers of black members into its organization. Once this decision is made, the necessary acts to support this decision will quickly fall into place. Obvious suggestions include but do not exclude the following: advertising in black media outlets, conduct boots-on-the-ground membership drives in major cities where blacks are concentrated, operate outreach activities in the black church, and sponsor educational exhibitions in selected markets.
A great opportunity awaits the NRA if they elect to embark upon this goal. Black gun owners are a growing segment of the gun community that no other organization is actively recruiting. I truly believe that if the NRA shows true and genuine interest in the black gun community, they will respond in droves.
If by chance, you want to join the NRA, use my NRA Recruiter’s link to get a $10 discount on a one year membership.
“If by chance . . . ” That says it all, doesn’t it? Other than this: if the NRA doesn’t reach out to the minority community, the gun rights organization will become increasingly irrelevant. Their credibility—and thus their future—depends on taking ownership of this blind spot.