Friday, January 13, 2012


Gary Younge's Decoder Ring Is Working

My first reaction to Mr. Younge's piece in the Nation titled: The GOP's Blatant Racism was to read it again looking harder for the promised examples of blatant racism. Then I wanted to send Mr. Younge a definition of the word 'blatant' (I know he may not have written the headline of his piece). But on third thought, that act, implying a black man did not know the definition of a word would be just another subtle example of racism on my part, at least in his eyes and in the eyes of the sort that routinely reads the Nation.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that a subset of Americans harbor a rarely expressed racial animus against fellow Americans of different race, but it is impossible for me to believe, as I have a solid grounding in history, such animus exists only or even primarily in the anti-slavery party. It is a nasty smear made none the less nasty by the fact that many Democrats embrace it merely for political advantage rather than actual belief, the main political advantage being keeping African-Americans on the Democratic plantation. Oh, no, there I go again with the code. Let's look at Younge's "blatant" examples.

Rick Perry's father, a Democrat, did indeed buy a property in the 80s (not precisely a current example) which was known as "Niggerhead" but whether that's evidence of the elder Perry's racial animus is in some doubt (as he did not name it that) but, even if so, it certainly is not evidence of Republican racism.

Here's his first recent example from Rick Santorum:

"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

“Right,” said one audience member, as another woman nodded.

“And provide for themselves and their families,” Santorum added, to applause. “The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again.”

Mr. Younge points out that where Mr. Santorum was speaking the black population was 2.9 %. OK, but Santorum is running for national office and certainly his words are not meant to apply only to the place he is talking, but nation wide. Santorum probably should have used the word 'poor' instead of 'black' but my strong suspicion is that Mr. Younge would have still accused him of racism while using code had he done that.

His next example, under the same criteria:

Just a few days later, in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich told a crowd, “I will go to the NAACP convention and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks…[instead of] food stamps.” African-Americans make up 0.8 percent of Plymouth’s population. Food stamp use in Grafton County is 6 percent—a 48 percent increase since 2007.
Again, Newt is running a national campaign and referred to the national NAACP convention not the branch in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Who actually cares where he says it in his attempt to become the president of our entire nation by talking about things of national interest?

After two outstanding uses of apophasis, Mr. Young points out that: "According to the Agriculture Department, more whites use food stamps than blacks and Latinos combined." True that. But of course both blacks and Latinos are minorities in this nation, with 12.8% and 16.3% of the population respectively. Whites are 72.4%. One would expect white use to be more than other minorities combined. Is that the end of the inquiry?

According to the 2000 Census (Sup Survey PUMS Data set) white use of food stamps was 3.7% while blacks use was 15.3% and Hispanic use was 10.6% (Food stamp use has gone up a lot since then both under President Bush and President Obama so those percentages are certainly higher now but I don't know the specific ones now. Sorry I could not find current info).

Back to the smear of Republicans. Next example of current racism:

Oh, there is none. Mr. Younge talks about an old Ron Paul newsletter and trots out the smears of the past--Nixon's southern strategy to Willie Horton-- and then has this weird statement:
Today it seems as though Republicans who might be put off by racist rhetoric are in short supply, as though the presence of a black president has left them blind to their own sophism.


Just as counter-examples, here are some actual blatant racist statements from non-Republicans. Perhaps you'll recognize some of the sources and catch the racism without having to use dog ears or a decoder ring:

The Negro is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.

Che Guevara

Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)

I turned the fire hoses on those niggers.

Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor

Anyone see the difference between those examples and the serial smears of Mr. Younge? Anyone think Mr. Younge can see it?

Anyone else wholly underwhelmed by Younge's examples of recent "blatant" Republican racism?


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