Elon Musk “African American of the Year”

So proclaims American Greatness.

So, via Memeorandum I allowed myself to be sucked into American Greatness‘ headline Elon Musk: African American of the Year.

Let’s start with the obvious. Yes, Musk is from South Africa and is now an American citizen. He is, therefore an “African American.” But there can be little doubt that by using a term that is typically associated with Black Americans that AG is trying to be provocative. Pretty clever, right?

But, come for the silly headline, stay for the overwrought rhetoric:

Remember when Elon Musk was the darling of the Left for his stylish electric cars and his devil-may-care attitude? It was less than a year ago, but in Joe Biden’s dystopian America it seems like an eternity.

I mean, “Joe Biden’s dystopian America” is almost LOL-worthy.

Better than that is this from the story’s sub-heading: “He has restored free speech, and with that, the hope of a free tomorrow.” “He” being out Lord and Free Speech Savior, Elon Musk.

I find this ongoing claim that whatever is, or is not, happening on Twitter to be the metric by which all free speech is judged to be plainly weird (if not more than a bit perverse) but it seems to be a pervasive talking point on the right. The basis of this claim is that Twitter didn’t allow the NY Post to promote a story on its platform. A story that, you know, the Post published for public consumption on paper and online. As a free press is wont to do.

The notion that “free speech” is to be understood, in any way, as having to do with Twitter is just incorrect on so many levels.

Beyond the general inaccuracies of this all, the classification of Musk as some savior figure is, well, more than a bit gross (and just so very, very overwrought).

It is also ironic given that the piece (and this, too, is a talking point I have heard) complains that the left no longer loves Elon as it did.

Elon Musk is under attack now by the same people who used to fawn over him and promote his cars because he is no longer their man. Musk has declared his independence, and in so doing has brought down the wrath of the media, the Left, and before long the Democratic Party and the White House. 

There is little doubt that Musk has become an increasingly polarizing figure and that the left loves him less, but it is also true that the right loves him more.

On the one hand, it is probably a bit silly that some people are making car-buying decisions based on partisan signifiers. But on the other, if Musk is such a Great God of Business Acumen, why is he shooting himself in the foot? After all, left-leaning types are a more fertile customer base than right-leaning types if we are talking about electric vehicles, yes?

The column is a bit of a mess. It is all over the place. It praises Musk, makes fun of libs, bemoans cancel culture, and extols the virtues of the Twitter files. I fear it is a mini preview of the 118th House majority.

In regards to the Twitter files:

The files on that laptop show how the younger Biden traded his father’s influential positions in government for foreign cash and that Joe Biden profited and was fully aware of what his son was doing. It’s all there. 

To the first part, there is no dispute that Hunter traded on his dad’s name. No one denies this, nor has the fact been hidden from the public (and I won’t even get into the deep irony of anyone who voted for Trump caring about such things). As has been noted repeatedly, that’s neither uncommon nor a crime.

In terms of the claim that Joe profited, no, it isn’t “all there”–because as far as I can tell, one e-mail referencing “the big guy” is hardly proof of anything. Indeed, if there is solid proof of corruption in “there” and we all don’t know about it, then the NY Post needs to hire better writers. Further, people like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss need to find new lines of work, because their reporting skills must be dreadful if there is, indeed, clear evidence of Joe’s corruption but they can’t manage to write a coherent Substack newsletter detailing the simple facts.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Students in Cracker’s “remedial” English class could have written a more coherent article back in the day.

    But they keep a’stirrin that horseshit in the stable, ’cause there must be a pony in there somewhere, right?

    Ermygahd, but the shit show that the 118th House promises to be. Reality TV had nothing on this fiasco.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, all due respect, but what the heck is “American Greatness” and why are you spending time reading it?

  3. CSK says:


    It’s the usual Trump-loving crackpot site. Their most notable writer is Victor Davis Hanson since he got bounced from National Review.

  4. @MarkedMan: It is a growing in influence right-wing “news” site in the same vein as the “Epoch Times” as best as I can tell. I followed a Memeorandum link over.

    Fret not, it is not part of my regular reading regimen.

  5. Kathy says:


    Steven, all due respect, but what the heck is “American Greatness” …

    I’m pretty sure it’s an ass-wipe with pictures and squiggles.

  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    I continue to respect Musk’s accomplishments with Tesla and SpaceX. I think he might have an interesting vision for Twitter, but I also think that his poor understanding of human beings, as opposed to technical and financial matters, is likely to get in the way.

    But this piece is not particularly valuable to me. I like reading conservatives, as it often brings new facts, or different ways of looking at things, to light. This piece, though, does not provide any such things.

  7. Richard Gardner says:

    There were similar discussions about Theresa Heinz Kerry in 2004, including at OTB We Americans have labels that mean different things to different people and are sometimes overly broad, or more specific than the root words. A Mayan-speaker from Guatemala is “Hispanic,” Asian doesn’t include Turkic people, folks of Japanese descent in South America are ???

  8. Tony W says:

    I am Musk’s perfect customer – on paper. I am highly environmentally conscious, I have enough assets to purchase whatever car I want to purchase, I have solar on my roof and excess power generation sufficient to supply a couple of my neighbors houses too.

    And I would never, ever, give a dime to the man – willingly. I would drive a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle before I would buy a Tesla.

    Meanwhile, fueled by the oil industry, outrage over electric vehicles is the current en vogue issue of the year on every website from Yahoo to AOL.

    I’m not sure what his brilliant marketing mind has figured, but it seems as smart, politically, as killing your own supporters with COVID from my perspective.

  9. JohnSF says:

    Tesla stock is currently looking a bit sickly, back where it was late 2020.
    As Alexander Clarkson says:

    Friendly reminder of the first rule of automotive politics:
    | ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄|
    | VW |
    | ALWAYS |
    | WINS |
    | ______|
    (\__/) ||
    (•ㅅ•) ||
    /   づ

  10. Slugger says:

    Some outfit none of us have heard of has given Musk an accolade. Good for you, Elon, your mother must be proud. I might buy some TSLA stock; my bid is $99 per share. This offer is only good for the next 72 hours.
    BTW, is there a offer for any specific action by Joe on Hunter’s laptop?

  11. Matt says:

    In terms of the claim that Joe profited, no, it isn’t “all there”–because as far as I can tell, one e-mail referencing “the big guy” is hardly proof of anything. Indeed, if there is solid proof of corruption in “there” and we all don’t know about it, then the NY Post needs to hire better writers.

    Proof is something those dumb liberals care about. Here in real America with real people we know what we feel and we feel for sure that Biden is the worst president ever and is destroying America!!

    Seriously though they don’t care about proof or even reality as they create their own reality on a whim. If they repeat the Biden thing enough they know eventually people will have it stuck somewhere in their brain. So the end result is the average American who barely pays any attention of this will think at some point “I vaguely remember President Biden doing something illegal on the laptop” and not “this is bullshit has always been bullshit and always will be bullshit”…

  12. Kylopod says:

    Referring to a white immigrant from Africa as “African American” is such an old, cringey, pre-4chan-tier dad joke–I remember VH1 doing this about Dave Matthews back in the ’90s.

  13. Kathy says:


    SNL did something along those lines when Charlize Theron hosted. It was in the monologue, but I forget what was said. I think it involved Tracy Morgan.

  14. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I think I recall Teresa Heinz Kerry saying it about herself in a speech before a black audience in 2004. It went over about as well as you’d expect.

  15. steve says:

    Useful source for when you hear about the FBI paying twitter to censor people.



  16. CSK says:


    I remember that, too.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    It’s a common thing on the right to bitch about how ambiguous racial definitions are. And it really is an issue if you’re trying to write affirmative action policies or track the effects of policy on ethnic minorities. But somehow the bigots never seem to be troubled by ambiguous definitions of who’s African American. And by their definition, Musk ain’t. And the rest of us wouldn’t have to worry about it if the bigots didn’t make it an issue.

  18. Gustopher says:

    It makes me wonder who their African-American of the Year was in previous years. Not enough to check, mind you.

    Anyway, it’s the childish games of Illinois Nazis, or people who have opted to be indistinguishable from Illinois Nazis. My liberal sensibilities are shocked and I have been owned, etc. I assure you, it’s not an eye roll, it’s an involuntary spasm at having the foundations of my entire cult-like personality kicked out from under me.

  19. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: @Gustopher: In some ways, and knowing full well some cringey liberals have told this “joke” as well over the years, it almost feels like a racial version of the attack helicopter. I can just sense the smug self-satisfaction oozing from this website as it announces this “award,” the belief that they’re owning the libs and annihilating their flakey delusions, and that it’s brilliantly clever and never gets old no matter how many times they tell it.

  20. Leo says:

    Trevor Noah called Elon Musk “African American” way before the author finally heard the joke. Lol

  21. Richard Gardner says:

    This is a very old trope, Theresa Heinz Kerry stated she’d be the first African-American First Lady ~ 2004. I guess you also believe Cleopatra was Black (vice Ptotolomy Greek) because all of Africa is black (not).