As I watch the Republicans run in the four-year sham designed to make Americans believe they live in a representative democracy rather than a bourgeois democracy, I keep wondering why they keep talking about Black people.
I mean isn’t the country going through a recession, well at least of sorts? Isn’t “real” unemployment high, that is way past the official nine-10 percent that continues to be reported? Aren’t jobs scarce, and isn’t it well known that instead of hiring and investing in American workers corporations are squirreling away their money and taking their jobs overseas? Aren’t people still ticked about the foreclosure crisis?
A recent article on Florida homeowners (or former homeowners) captured what I think is the primary mood of the country. The title suggested that Florida voters didn’t think any of the candidates from any of the parties had any real answers on how they were going to create jobs and help them save their homes. And aren’t folks still miffed at Wall Street for ripping off our homes and forcing us to pay for their bailout? And aren’t Black folks just a percentage of the population?
So why all the talk about race? Why when the vast majority of folks receiving food stamps are White are they alluding to Black folks as being on food stamps?
Rick Santorum talked about not giving Black folks other people’s money out of the sky blue, while talking to an all-White audience in Iowa. Newt Gingrich wants to go in front of the NAACP and encourage the organization to tell African Americans to rely on getting a job and not food stamps?
No doubt some silly Negroes agree with Gingrich, but the problem with insinuating that Black folks prefer food stamps than work is that it doesn’t jibe with the truth. And it doesn’t take into account the struggle of Black folks to attain employment and when employed to get equal pay and equal treatment.
It’s likely that the conservatives’ well-paid Negro piñata Juan Williams would agree with Newt even after taking a few for the conservative team in South Carolina. When Williams tried to stand up for Black folks just a little, he got put in his place by Gingrich. And he did it in such a way that he almost said, “How dare you, Negro, challenge me in front of White folks.”
Someone said the past is not even the past; they were indeed prophetic. This is the real American legacy because it’s definitely not justice, fairness or equity as the Iraqis and prisoners on Guantanamo can attest. And in Minnesota citizens, of Somali origin can’t send money home because of a fake terrorism scare.
They are serving up deep dishes of racist ideology and racist images because it’s the only card they have left. In hard times, the government can either choose to do something about it or find scapegoats. In this case it’s not quite the government, but rather those who have been connected to government in one capacity or another, which makes this even more pernicious.
Some of the folks making these statements have been a part of government as national elected officials. So their words are given more credence than if they were spoken by simply a working-class racist.
If I didn’t know any better, I would say that it appears that the Republicans aren’t even trying to win. In fact, their response to Whites and their economic struggle was articulated by Mitt Romney, who said they ought to be quiet about it.
So if you haven’t watched any of the Republican debates you haven’t missed much, ’cause they sure aren’t talking about issues, or at least not the issues that most folks are concerned about. No, all they really have to offer are deep dishes of division. And the Democrats aren’t off the hook either. They have been relatively silent in the face of this not-so-subtle attempt to divide the electorate.
Most White Americans won’t buy the racist rhetoric, but in their efforts to keep our eyes off the real prize (justice and economic fairness), just diverting a small percentage of the population is worth the continuance of the racist diatribes.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.