News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Newt plays the hate card

My previous post on the racially-divisive politics of a desperate GOP was barely a day old when Newt Gingrich stepped up to validate my theory. In this instance, Mr. Gingrich is working the other side of the street: race baiting in the Old South. And the ugly, shopworn stereotypes Gingrich invoked are an indication of how far some Republicans may go to pander votes from many in the Non-Hispanic White electorate who are terrified of a future when they will become a minority.

This exchange from the Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina exposes the thinly-veiled bigotry that lurks below the surface of many GOP supporters.

Juan Williams:  Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also say poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can’t you see that this is viewed as at a minimum as insulting to all Americans but particularly to black Americans? 
Newt Gingrich: No, I don’t see that (applause).
Gingrich's comments (and the thunderous applause they received from the South Carolina audience) reek of willful ignorance and exploitation. 

First, there are more Non-Hispanic Whites on welfare than all other minorities combined. Second, Mr. Gingrich supports putting a janitor out of work who very likely supports a family and replacing that person with low paid child labor. It's the GOP trifecta: union busting, cheaper labor and docile minorities. 

Is Gingrich really this much of a bigot or is he simply pandering to an audience in South Carolina where his message clearly resonated? It doesn't really matter. Regardless of what Gingrich really thinks, the fact remains that the GOP's demographic death spiral will lead the party into the sordid depths of racial politics.  Unfortunately, this paroxysm of hate will not be the last. The Republican contenders  haven't even touched immigration yet in South Carolina. 

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

No comments: