Republican debate explores race issues

By Tom Quiner

It started with Juan Williams.

The likable and liberal Fox News contributor asked Newt Gingrich about his comment that black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. Williams wondered if the former Speaker of the House could be viewed …

“at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans.”

Gingrich responded quickly and concisely:

“No.” I don’t see that.”

He talked about how his daughter got her first job as a janitor. He made the case that there is dignity in work. He brought the house down when he stated that only elites despise giving people opportunities to earn money.

Williams pressed him further on the issue, and Gingrich responded that:

“the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”

Gingrich scored points with white, conservative voters. I’m not sure he helped his cause with African-American voters with that remark. I may be wrong.

Later, in post-debate comments, he expanded on his views by stating that a job, any job no matter how lowly, is fundamental training to get your next job, one that will be better than the first.

The first job, he says, teaches you how to be responsible, how to get to work on time, how to work with other people. It builds self-esteem, and more importantly, self-respect.

I think his post-debate comments WILL resonate with people of all races.

The African American community has been hit hard by the Obama economy. The last increase in the minimum wage sent already high black teenage unemployment rates even higher. When kids can’t find work, they’re more susceptible to the lures and pressures of gang membership.

I’ve suggested it before at this blog: we should suspend the minimum wage until the national unemployment rate falls below five percent. Let us free up workers and allow them to own their labor and sell it on the open market for what it’s worth. I agree with Mr. Gingrich on the dignity that we find in work. Let’s remove the government-imposed impediments that have hit the African American community the hardest.

Another racially-tinged subject came up from Ron Paul.

“I’m the only one up here . . . that understands true racism in this country is in the judicial system. They [blacks] get the death penalty way disproportionately.”

Mr. Paul’s remarks feeds into the liberal perception that our judicial system is woefully racist.

But is it really true? We’ve got to be careful at how we look at the numbers. Did you know that 99% of people who receive the death penalty are male?

Does this mean that the judicial system is sexist, or does it mean that men commit more capital offenses than women?

The latter.

I am anti-death penalty. An anti-death penalty group, Death Penalty Information Center, looked at the number of murders from 1976 to now. Fifty-two percent of the murders were committed by blacks.

This means that to avoid discrimination, 52% of the executions should be carried out on the convicted African-American murderers. Right?

That’s not what happened. Only 35% of the executions were carried out on blacks even though they committed a disproportionate percentage of America’s homicides in that time frame, while 55% of the executions were carried out on whites.

Ron Paul fans the flames of American hatred with his misstatement on this deeply sensitive subject.

The African-American community would be wise to look more closely at the attractiveness of the conservative economic model, as espoused by Newt Gingrich. Prosperity does not flow from government. But government can sure impede it.

And they should be wary of liberal politicians of both parties, including Ron Paul on this issue, who nurture a cult of victimhood with statements that just aren’t so.

1 Comment

  1. Rhonda on January 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    African/ Americans aren’t the only minority race in the U.S. yet it appears they consistantly play the race card more than any other. Why do we not hear about other minorities being discriminated against?
    Frankly, the racist label can be slapped just as easily on Blacks. Try pulling off starting the United Caucasian college fund or holding aa Miss White America padgent and then stand back and watch it hit the fan! I am sick of people too lazy to get an education or a job while they play the victim card. Juan was baiting Newt and to Newts credit he put him in his place telling like it is!