Being Black In The Eyes Of Some Conservatives
The racism blatantly displayed by so many of the conservative politicians vying for the White House is alarming and gives a firsthand example of just how little this country has changed from its days of government tolerated racial discrimination. When a politician can say that black people need to want to get off food stamps and earn a paycheck, when a politician says that people in the urban poor neighborhoods don’t have a work ethic unless it is associated with some kind of criminal activity, when a politician indicates that he doesn’t want to help black people by giving them other people’s money, we have all the signs necessary to see that race is indeed a factor in our social fabric. People like to say that black people like to play the race card. It’s pretty obvious that these politicians are using ugly racial prejudices as a tool to win political favor from their conservative minded political audience.
When a politician says something racially derogatory such as poor black people don’t have a work ethic or that black people need to get off food stamps it feeds a racial stereotype that supports the small minded thinking that black people are different and that difference makes black people’s character inferior. For example, the belief that no one with a good work ethic can come from certain neighborhoods might mean that for some of us it’s acceptable to discard employment applications and/or resumes from people with certain address and/or zip code. When people say that black people don’t know how to earn a living and that they don’t know how to show up for work on a regular basis, somebody will eventually think it’s okay to disqualify black candidates because you think you know how black people are based on nothing more than the constant slander and liable against black people. The insinuation that black people do nothing legal to earn a living gives police and other authorities carte blanche to use heavy handed and often illegal tactics in their encounters with black people.
Point to the racial prejudice that is being displayed out in the open and people rally to protect it. These people will say something rather dumb like people are just trying to make conservatives politically correct or something even stupider like black people are just as racist because black people only point the finger at conservatives who are only speaking truth. The truth is that there are more white people on welfare than any other race of people here in this country. The truth is that there are people in poor neighborhoods who go to work each and every day who work hard to earn a living and do their best to stay off of government assistance because if anyone knows anything about government assistance it is that it is a sorry substitute for a paycheck and it is temporary, if you can get it. And when you do get it, be prepared to jump through regulations bureaucratic hoops that are mandated by government agencies that want you off that assistance as soon as possible and are designed to inspire people to do just that.
It was a black conservative politician that brazenly said black people are brainwashed to be ignorant of anything and anyone that comes from the Republican Party. Does one really have to wonder why black people would avoid the conservative party like the plague with all the baseless, racist, anti-black rhetoric emanating from the Republican Party?
If anything, conservatives continue to give the black community the equivalent of a political middle finger. The people in the black community are the whipping boy for the conservatives at a time when people need somebody convenient to blame for the condition of the economy. People actually believe that it’s all the government spending on the black community that makes us weak as a nation. The fact that we can’t lower taxes enough so that we can help people with deep financial resources can gain even more wealth on promises of giving a little something to the rest of us. It’s better to cut the government programs that are designed to offer everybody a safety net so that that we can all benefit from the good fortune that comes from being part of the American dream no matter how bad things get. The way to our country’s success is for government to step out of the way and tells everybody to just go for it and let the best man or woman continue to win and let the lesser of us drop out of the fight, tuck our tails between our legs, and go hope for a job from one of the bigger dogs hoping something might fall our way from the scraps left from the winnings.
In the conservative’s capitalism based political model, the resulting utopia would be an economy operating so well that the people who are able to donate more to organizations with charity operations that would step into the void vacated by the government funded social programs that are believed to be so inefficient and useless. We can then pick and chose exactly who we want to help and who we don’t want to help because they are just looking for a handout. And if such a model of operation was actually put into practice in the United States, we all know that nothing good comes from the black community because black people could do better if they wanted to. Black people are too busy committing crimes and don’t have a good enough work ethic. Black people don’t need help. They just need to get off their collective ass and work for a living like everyone else.
But to add insult to the injury coming down this conservative pipe, let the black person try to get a job in such an economic system driven by this conservative an ideology. Black people don’t work hard, don’t show up for work, and are not honest. What kind of hoops does the black person looking for an opportunity must to go through to prove that he or she is the best candidate for the job? Before being taken as a true competitor, the black person has to prove that they are anything but the stereotypes people believe define black people? If we are lucky and we work hard we might get a shot at an interview and thirty minutes to convince a gatekeeper that we have what it takes to be a contender while the non-black person can focus on sealing the deal because they already are believed to be a contender.
Not every conservative feels this way. Some people just like the idea of cutting taxes to the bone because they know they can make it no matter what. People think their jobs are safe or their business is immune from hard times. But hard times can happen to anyone. And while some people have the resources or the social support to handle the big bumps they might hit impact their life, not everybody is so fortunate. And while it’s true that a lot of black people don’t have the resources to handle bumps like the rest of us might, a lot of us are just a bump or two away from being stranded without a sufficient bootstrap. You might find a charity that can help you weather a crisis. But with the shape of the economy at the moment, and how long it might take to put things right again, it might be a while before that help comes.
People shouldn’t be so quick to rely on the racist rhetoric to drive their decisions about our collective political future. Don’t believe the hype that black people are the problem and vote for the guy that promises to give corporate America all the tools necessary to earn as much wealth as possible while the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves. Being a member of the United States should mean much more than just more money in our pockets. We should have a more balanced perspective that encompasses our entire social makeup for everyone. The focus on money is a big mistake. The focus on gutting social programs just to keep black people in their place might backfire on us all.