Race and the Republican candidates | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Race and the Republican candidates

Posted By on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 6:50 AM

OLD THEME: Still in play in GOP field.
  • OLD THEME: Updated by GOP field and supporters.
Race-baiting in the Republican presidential campaign has drawn increasing attention in recent days thanks to some comments from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ("food stamp president"). Charles Blow of the New York Times takes note.

Never mind inconvenient facts — food stamp participation rose in the Bush years, too; the majority of food stamp recipients are white; the biggest number of food stamp recipients are the young and old unable to work. Says Blow:

But race is usually less about facts than historical mythology, which evokes the black bogyman, who saps the money from the whites who earn it. 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.

It is the Shackles-to-Bootstraps Doctrine of Self-Defeat that disavows any and all structural inhibitors to success.

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.

This historic bigotry has served the Republican Party well for decades and modern-day candidates still play the tune. (I know, President Obama's race had NOTHING to do with the revulsion with which Arkansas voters held him and the Democratic Party in 2010.)

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