|Displaced New Orleans residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.|
I'd like to give a shout out to The Field Negro, who wrote a great post about the backpedaling Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, please read about it here. Santorum isn't the first Republican to play the race card. Former Republican front runner Newt Gingrich has jumped on the race-baiting band wagon too.
After a lackluster showing in the Iowa Caucuses, Gingrich is hoping some of that Santorum magic will rub off on him in New Hampshire. He told a group in New Hampshire that he plans to go the NAACP Convention and tell black people why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. I guess it's open season on black folks now for Republican politicians slumming for votes.
Given their predominantly white audiences, both Santorum and Gingrich are pandering to the widely held belief that most poor people and welfare recipients are black. It doesn't matter if this is true but it always seems to get applause and buy in from white people who believe black people are undeserving of welfare and responsible for their own poverty. I mean Newt said it himself, he's going to tell black people at the NAACP Convention that they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. Too bad the black people Newt wants to reach can't even afford to attend an NAACP meeting so his harsh words are likely to fall upon deaf ears.
When did Newt Gingrich become so concerned about the lives of black people? The truth is, he isn't and this is just another trick up his sleeve to gain attention of a certain white electorate. I don't think that's it at all, he's just looking to score some easy political points at the expense of black people. According to a study by Joe Soss of American University, poor African Americans are over emphasized in media representations of the poor. The black people have become synonymous with welfare and during periods when welfare and other government programs are under scrutiny and when their is black president, programs like these come under greater scrutiny. I call that the reparation effect. How many times have you heard that Obama care is reparations or that welfare is a form of reparations to black people. As ridiculous as these both sound, some people believe this to be an honest truth.
Furthermore, the news media portrays black people are unsympathetically when it comes to stories about welfare fraud and you only need to tune into your local evening news to hear about these stories. Remember the images from Hurricane Katrina a few years ago? You got the sense from the news media that black people there deserved what they were getting, when you saw them stealing food or basic necessities, it was called looting but when white people were doing the same thing, they were stealing food to feed their families. There was no great outreach to help these people because the common perception was that they were responsible for their own misfortune.
It's the same thing with welfare, most white black people are undeserving of welfare and are responsible for their own poverty. However the reality is quite different when it comes to the actual recipients of public assistance, white people account for more than 38.% of the recipients while blacks account for 37% .Since whites comprise the largest part of the population and that large number only makes sense but that doesn't stop the perception that most whites have that Black people are lazy, untrustworthy, less intelligent and more violent and these are certainly not the people you want getting checks from the government. Just ask Newt, he's going to the NAACP Convention in July this year to straighten black folks out but I'm just wondering who his audience will be. Good luck with Newt.