I keep thinking that somebody ought to tell Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum that racism is…not presidential.
Both gentlemen fared well in the Iowa caucuses, and both seem to have a hunger for the nation’s highest office.
But Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum, can we talk?
Just a couple of days ago, Rick Santorum said that he “didn’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.” He was speaking to a group of white people, and I guess…well, I guess he was comfortable and he knew what they’d want to hear.
In the name of God, some white folks just think black folks ought to just …shape up, right?
He later on said that he didn’t recall making the statement, but that’s only after he said, in an earlier statement, that he had probably been thinking about what he saw in the movie “Waiting for Superman,” which focuses on black kids trying to get into charter schools…
Santorum said to Sean Hannity on the latter’s television program that, well, he doesn’t make racial distinctions, and, by golly, he has some black friends! Yep, sure does. Michael Steele and J.C. Watts, both black, are his friends.
Never mind that neither of those gentlemen seem to relate to the real plight of many African Americans.
And then there’s Mr. Paul, who, back in the day, had newsletters written under his name. Now, he says he didn’t read any of “that stuff,” but the fact is that “that stuff” appeared in these newsletters and he did not disavow any of it.
What didn’t he disavow, you ask? Well, for one, his statement, “If you’ve ever been robbed by a teen-aged male, you know how fleet-footed they can be.” (italics mine) In that same newsletter, published in 1992, he said that “we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males (in Washington D.C.) are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” He was the only member of Congress that opposed giving a Medal of Honor to Rosa Parks and opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mr. Paul said he is not a racist; in a 2008 CNN interview, he said that he’s the one who protects blacks in the inner city. He says that the statements show the tendency of the media to take things out of context.
That’s fair. The media does have a tendency to take things out of context.
He said in the 2008 interview that he repudiates all of the statements in the newsletters, and that is good. He said he has never read the stuff written under his name.
He said that the real issue is the drug laws that so unfairly impact black people, and he’s right on that.
But it’s the little things, the little tongue-in-cheek things that are said that help keep racial tensions alive, and keep marginalized people feeling, well, marginalized. It is a myth that most of the people on welfare are African American; though proportionately, the poverty rate for African Americans is higher than that for whites, statistics show that more white than black people are on welfare.
One of these presidential politicians ought to say that, don’t you think?
I know it is the job of a politician to get elected, and politicians will say anything to get elected. Ironically, I think of the words of the Apostle Paul, who said in 1 Cor. 9: “Though I am free, and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (9:19) Later he says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.” (9:24) I chuckled as I read that entire passage of scripture and wondered if Paul, in addition to fiercely loving Jesus the Christ was not also a politician?
It seems to me, though, that a good politician ought to have the adjectives “honest” and “sensitive” somewhere in his or her resume. Mr. Santorum and Mr. Paul need to “fess up” to saying, or allowing to be said in their names, some pretty racist stuff. It happens. This is America, and it is no secret that many to most white people have grown up with disparaging views and opinions about black people. How great it would be to hear a white politician just “own up” and admit they’d said some things that reflected how they grew up and were taught?
When we admit our goofs, we can begin to fix them.
And fixing their apparently racist ways of looking at black people is a must, in my view, for anyone who is striving to get to the White House. The American government has not been a friend to black (or brown) people, or to women or other oppressed groups. The American government turned its head to the injustices suffered by black people and would not, did not, protect its black citizens.
The country has suffered as a result of that.
Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum would do themselves and their campaigns a favor if they would just have a “come to Jesus” meeting with Jesus, and ask Jesus to change their thoughts and beliefs when it comes to black people, black life and black culture.
Because the country is not a lily-white place, gentlemen, and the country cannot be as great as it has the potential for, if all of its people are not treated having been created equal.
A candid observation.
© 2012 Candid Observations
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