It is a sad commentary that the talking points being used by the Republican Party comes chock full of racial undertones at the expense of the black community and that age-old stereotype that blacks are lazy and want to live off the government. To echo the sentiments of NY Times columnist Charles Blow’s reference to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum’s characterizations of blacks living on welfare: “the antiblack rhetoric has taken center stage” and it shows no signs of abating, unless the black community speaks up in a united voice. What they have neglected to tell voters is that non-Hispanic whites are the largest group on welfare, not blacks and not Hispanics. So, why are blacks being marginalized and raked over the coals? The black bogeyman will prod white voters into action and to the polls in huge numbers for the “white knight” who will swoop in and save them. LOL. Yeah right.
This mindset that blacks have been dependent on whites since the day the first African slave landed in this country continues to rear its ugly head. As Michael Blow states, “ever since blacks first arrived on these shores in chains, they have been perceived as lazy and dependent on whites — first as slaves, and then as “entitled” citizens.” Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum continue to play on this fabricated dependency.
The preface of the “Encyclopedia of Black Folklore and Humor” tells a story about the first black captives arriving in the New World and one slave “muttering angrily to himself.” The captain of the boat says to him, “What’s the matter with you? You’ve been in this country for only five minutes and already you’re complaining!”
Folklore or fact, this is the way many have viewed blacks in this country throughout history and even now: with scolding disdain and shocking blindness. In 1935, W.E.B. DuBois’s “Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880” pointed out that one of the major themes that American children were being taught in textbooks about that period was that “all Negroes were lazy, dishonest and extravagant.”
One textbook theme excerpted by DuBois stated that “legislatures were often at the mercy of Negroes, childishly ignorant, who sold their votes openly, and whose ‘loyalty’ was gained by allowing them to eat, drink and clothe themselves at the state’s expense.”Another stated that “assistance led many freed men to believe that they need no longer work.” Source: NY Times
I absolutely detest the image Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are trying to paint of blacks in America. As a black professional, I have never been on welfare nor have I ever received any other type of entitlement programs. I come from a family with a long history of achievement through hard work and a determination to succeed on one’s own merit, not by government assistance. There are many more black families like mine and they should be hopping mad about what the Republicans are trying to do. There are unsavory elements in every race, so singling out the black community is just plain wrong.
Racial politics has always been pushed by the Republican Party. Why do you think there is no conscious effort by the GOP to attract black voters? No, it’s easier to marginalize the black community by playing on the fears of white Americans. This is evident from the fact that Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich finished second, third and fourth in the Iowa caucus and to keep referring to President Obama as the “food stamp president.” That’s code word for “black president.”