Paul R. Lehman, Santorum’s comments on blacks show ignorance and biasJanuary 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, blacks, equality, Ethnicity in America, fairness, justice, minority, Race in America, whites | 2 Comments
Tags: African Americans, European Americans, Obama and American Bigotry, politicans, president, presidential candidates, race, Rick Santorum, welfare
If we listen to or read carefully what people say, we can gain insight into their thought process. For example, Presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently made a statement that was brief in length, but covered a considerable distant in interpretation. At a recent political gathering Santorum was talking about welfare and Medicaid to a predominantly European American audience when he said “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.” On the surface, this statement seems simply enough, but under closer examination, we find a world of information that tells us something about Santorum that he probably did not want us to know.
First, we learn that Santorum is not current on his social awareness regarding race and ethnicity. We know this by his reference to “black people.” The problem with using that term is no one knows if he meant it as a racial identity or an ethnic identity. Either one would be an incorrect usage because color does not indicate race or ethnicity. If his intent was to single out African Americans, then he should have used that term. In any event, the reference to black people suggests he possible conceives of black people as a monolith that he can control as President. That concept of thought lacks a basis in the reality of America today.
Next, Santorum’s statement suggests that black people, African Americans, are making their lives better by using someone else’s money, and he wants to put a stop to that. Why would he assume that all African Americans in America do nothing but wait around for someone (read as European Americans) to hand to them their hard-earned money? The suggestion in that statement is that all African Americans are on welfare and Medicaid, entities supposedly supported exclusively by European American money. That being the case, he wants to put a stop to that unfair treatment of hard-working European Americans. Santorum as well as the rest of the country know that slanting language that creates images of African Americans taking advantage of hard-working European American citizens is a form of bigotry. The fact of the matter is that European Americans represent the majority of welfare and Medicaid recipients in America. In addition, all the African Americans represent only 12% of the total population and certainly not all are receiving welfare and Medicaid assistance. So, we can see the purpose of the statement was to create an unfavorable image of African Americans or as he sees them, black people, serving as an enemy of working Americans.
Since African Americans presently do not work to earn their money, according to Santorum, his goal is to give them an opportunity to do just that—“go out and earn the money.”One wonders what world is Santorum living in these days where a significant number of so-called black people are given money for just being black—not having to work for it. If we follow Santorum’s line of thinking that is what he suggests is happening now. He wants to provide them (the black people)the opportunity to work and earn their money. We might suggest that he stop for a moment and look to see who is the President, Attorney General, the President’s Assistant, to identify a few African Americans who are very visible and who are earning their money. The picture he paints is one of all African Americans standing with their hands out waiting for the European American citizens to place their hard-earned money in them. In addition, Santorum’s statement suggests that many jobs are available, but the African Americans do not want the opportunity to earn their money when it will be given to them. To purposefully create such a false image is not only biased but deceitful as well.
Whether it was his intention are not to create such an unchristian, undemocratic, and unjust picture of so-called black people taking advantage of European Americans the results were the same—creating animosity for African Americans for taking something that is not rightfully theirs. Why would someone believe that he must create an enemy to fight in order to win the favor and support of certain voters? Would that ploy qualify as race-baiting or would it be accepted as politics as usual? Evidently, when some politicians are in an audience of look-alike people, they seem to feel comfortable and safe enough to test the waters of bigotry to gather folks to their side. Would not the issues do the same thing? If a candidate is offering the voters something they need and/ or want, chances are they will come to his support, at least that what common sense suggests.
We in America are not experiencing a time when common sense dictates our political actions when the head of the Republican party in the Senate, shortly after President Obama’s election, made the statement that his first priority was to make Obama a one-term president. In other words, regardless of what the President did, the only important thing was to defeat him at all cost. Following that statement and all the actions by Congress to make it a reality, we find the comments of Santorum to be in keeping with the Republican Party’s leadership. If the country can be made to view African Americans as the enemy, then the changes of Obama winning a second term would be slim to none. The elements of character, integrity, honesty, and decency are no longer necessary or expected from a candidate for President; he just has to belong to the right party or be the right color. Wow! What a sensible concept; just what we want to teach our children.