Far-right commentator and Donald Trump supporter Candace Owens recently said the British colonization of Africa “ended up being a net positive.” She also defended the royal family amid criticism over the monarch’s role in English imperialism.
During an episode of her podcast, “Candace,” she claimed there was an upside to colonialism in Africa. During the “Scramble for Africa” in the 1880s, Britain controlled an estimated 30 percent of the continent’s population, and in the process destroyed a number of African kingdoms, Newsweek reported.
Jason Campbell, a senior researcher for progressive media watchdog Media Matters, tweeted a clip of the podcast.
“The real truth of the reason why people hate the queen has nothing to do with — the colonization has nothing to do, which by the way, just to be clear, the Brits invading Africa actually represents, and this is going to get me in trouble, but it was, if you look at how forward it brought the African colonies, it ended up being a net positive,” Owens said in the clip.
The September 8 death of Queen Elizabeth II has stirred up a debate over British imperialism and the royals’ complicity. Critics have called out the royals for not returning “stolen” valuable jewels to former colonies.
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“What are your thoughts on the concerns people have with the British royal family and their history with colonization?” a viewer asked Owens.
Owens answered by saying the royal family doesn’t have any “real power.”
She added, “The real truth of the reason why people hate the Queen has nothing to do with colonization…. Which, by the way, just to be clear, the Brits invading Africa actually represents—and this is going to get me in trouble—but it was, if you look at how forward it brought the African colonies, it ended up being a net positive. “
Owens realized her remark would probably spark backlash, so the MAGA supporter added, “Now, this is of course—this is going to get me in trouble, because people somehow think Africans were living happily ever after and things were great and the horrible English, British descended upon and murdered everybody and the French suddenly murdered everybody, and that just isn’t the truth, obviously. African nations had slavery just like Europeans had slavery.”
According to Owens, it was Muslims who started the concept of slavery. She failed to note the difference between Old World slavery and race-based chattel slavery. “So it’s an evil that was not started, did not begin in Europe, actually,” she said. “It can actually be traced back to Muslim origins. And, for whatever reason, people have this fantastical rendition of history where they think that it was only white people that ever did anything bad when, in fact, the truth is that even in terms of our own history, American history, it was the Africans who were selling the Africans to the Europeans. And usually for things as basic as gin and mirrors.”
Kehinde Andrews, a professor of Black studies at Birmingham City University’s School of Social Sciences in the U.K., blasted Owens’ remarks, calling them “nonsensical.”
“Candace Owens has built a career out of being the Black face of white racism, so these comments are not a surprise,” Andrews, the author of the book “Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century,” told Newsweek.
“It is also ironic she accuses others of being ignorant when she displays a complete lack of knowledge on the topic she has inserted herself into,” he added.
“The truth is, the queen, along with the nation, derived her wealth from the enslavement of Africans and violent colonialism in the largest empire that the world has ever known,” Andrews pointed out. “She was a symbol of that brutal history—and continued exploitation—who paraded around in the jewels looted in the colonies.”
Conservative commentator Candace Owens speaks before a Donald Trump event at the White House, Oct. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) / The late Queen Elizabeth II leaves London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, Oct. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)