Director Ava DuVernay offered a history lesson from her own documentary on Tuesday to call out conservative conspiracy theorist Candace Owens for falsely claiming that Republicans’ “Southern strategy” — used to cement white supremacy in the South and recruit Southern Democrats to the GOP — was a “myth.”
Testifying during a congressional hearing on the rise of white nationalism, Owens, a Fox News commentator and director of communications at Turning Point USA, insisted that the Southern strategy “never happened.”
In response, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker re-posted a clip from her 2016 documentary “13th,” a comprehensive examination of the ways white politicians — including President Donald Trump — have long used racism and the systematic disenfranchisement of black people as a political tool.
“Let me go ahead and leave this right here for folks confused about the uninformed mess that someone named Candace Owens is trying to pass off as truth,” DuVernay tweeted. “In fact, it’s just white nationalist revisionist garbage. The Southern Strategy goes as follows. And the marathon continues.”
The clip is a recording of veteran conservative political operative Lee Atwater describing how Republicans gradually employed veiled racist rhetoric and dog whistles to rally conservative voters, in tandem with making it difficult for black people to vote.
DuVernay added that Owens, “a black woman spouting revisionist history about pain suffered by black people,” was more evidence that “the Southern Strategy succeeded in many ways.”
Owens, who recently said Hitler would have been fine if he had simply remained a nationalist in Germany, spent much of Tuesday’s hearing claiming that white nationalism is not a real problem, and only a strategy for Democrats to win the 2020 election.
“The hearing today isn’t about white nationalism. It’s a preview of a Democrat 2020 election strategy, same as the 2016 election strategy,” Owens said. “If they were really concerned about white nationalism, they’d hold hearings on Antifa.”