ACLU says 2nd amendment is racist: ‘inflames white racial anxiety’

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Sunday that racism is “foundational” to the Second Amendment, and has since faced backlash online.

“Racism is foundational to the Second Amendment and its inclusion in the Bill of Rights,” the progressive legal nonprofit said in a tweet.

The tweet was intended to promote an episode of the “At Liberty” podcast titled “Do Black Americans Have the Right to Bear Arms?” The episode features Emory professors Carol Anderson and Charles Howard Candler, who teach African American Studies at the university.

A preview to the episode explains

“With 233 mass shootings so far this year, the issue of gun violence in the U.S. is all too familiar. Tragic events like the Pulse nightclub and Parkland shootings go from being media spectacles to quotidian events at an alarming rate in a country that often heralds the Second Amendment above meaningful safety for all its citizens,” the preview says.

“The vigilantism of widespread gun ownership puts Black Americans in an especially vulnerable position given the brutality and human cost of discriminatory policing,” the preview adds.

“The gun violence epidemic continues to spark debate about the Second Amendment and who has a right to bear arms. But often absent in these debates is the intrinsic anti-Blackness of the unequal enforcement of gun laws, and the relationship between appeals to gun rights and the justification of militia violence,” it continues.

“Throughout the history of this country, the rhetoric of gun rights has been selectively manipulated and utilized to inflame white racial anxiety and to frame Blackness as an inherent threat,” it concludes.

The ACLU was immediately met with criticism after posting the tweet, with critics saying the group has “lost the plot” and begun “waging a war on the Bill of Rights.”

“The ACLU is now waging war on the Bill of Rights,” Glenn Greenwald tweeted. “ACLU’s position on the Second Amendment has always been nuanced; it’s an important constitutional protection, but one that’s collective, not individual. Now they’re full on proclaiming parts of the Bill of Rights to be racist.”

“At this point, I will not be surprised if the ACLU soon takes the same position as the one explicitly advocated by the Diversity Sub-Committee of the Intercept’s Union and many other media outlets: free speech is in conflict with anti-racism work and thus must give way to it,” Greenwald wrote in a second tweet

“These institutions did not suddenly become enemies of the Bill of Rights,” Auron MacIntyre tweeted in response to Greenwald. “The ACLU has been deliberately misinterpreting the 1st amendment in order to wage war against religious liberty for decades.”

“So does the ACLU support the establishment of constitutional carry in every state of the Union?” Rin Aldrin wrote in a tweet. “So that we no longer have young black men arrested for carrying something protected by the constitution?” 

The ACLU has not yet responded to the backlash.