"Dear American Blacks:
Sometimes the very best act of friendship I could do is tell you that the person you think is your best friend actually works against you behind your back, laughing at you, mocking your hardships, secure in the knowledge that you need him too much to ever leave him.
Sometimes — no, actually always — the true friend is the one who tells you what you don’t want to hear. The one who does not indulge you, the one who will neither promise you nor give you candy and other bennies. Instead he tells you to sit down and eat your green beans and spinach — and if you want that nice car, then quit whining, get an education, earn a good job, and earn that nice car.
The really ironic thing is that the slick, good-time “friend” will tell you what a jerk your true friend is. And you will believe him. You will believe him, that is, until you grow up, or until your good-time friend sells you up the river so far that your life is wrecked, and your future is ruined. Your wisdom will have been gained at a steep price.
But your true friend will still be there. And eating your green beans, securing an education, and working hard are still the path to success.
So while the Democrats toss your children’s hopes and dreams aside, secure in the knowledge that you’ll always vote for them, remember that your true friend is still here.
I ask you to consider, why is it that you hate Republicans so much? [...]
Republicans do not know how to approach you. Democrats and the Democrat-dominated press have misled you and stoked up your wrath to the point that you will not listen to us.
So I propose this: how about listening? How about listening to what Republicans have to say, instead of what the Democrats say we say? How about listening to what we have to say before booing us out of the building?
You may find that we make sense, not just for rich white people, but for everybody. To wit:
- Republicans stand, as much as anything, for equality of freedom, equality of opportunity. We do NOT stand for equality of outcome. Hard work is rewarded, laziness is not.
- Want a good job? Get an education.
- Want special treatment? Tough.
- Want the opportunity to escape poverty, crime, and poor schools? Then quit voting for the Democrats that put you there.
- Tired of 15% unemployment in your areas? Then quit supporting the Democrats who raise taxes and force increase regulations on employers. [oh yeah, the Democrats call them the 'rich', but when was the last time a poor man gave you a job?]
Eat your green beans! Do the thing that frees you!
It’s tough love, but I assure you, friend, it’s love. That’s why we fought like hell to restore the DC School Vouchers. That’s why we fought like hell to lower taxes on businesses, so employers could hire more people and create more success for everybody.
We received not one ounce of gratitude from you, but we did it anyway. And we will continue to do what is right for America, for whites, for blacks, for Latinos, for Republicans, for Democrats, for today, and for the future."
At the urging of this letter, we will now listen to what the Republicans say and consider some of their actions regarding race. So, a list!
- Republicans invented and successfully implemented the Southern Strategy.
- Republicans (along with many Dixiecrats who would later join the GOP) opposed the Civil Rights Act and other civil rights measures.
- Republicans invented the concept of the "welfare queen" and successfully achieved the demonization of welfare recipients (who were always portrayed as black and often portrayed as female).
- Willie Horton anyone?
- Republicans are the party of strong anti-immigration sentiments.
- Republicans have led the way in anti-muslim rhetoric.
- Republicans have created many code words (states' rights, etc.) to talk about race without actually talking about race.
- There's Trent Lott's entire existence.
- Jesse Helms' entire existence (that was a good ad, you know, the one with the hands?).
- Of course there's Rush Limbaugh.
- Then there's Michael Savage.
- And Bill O'Reilly.
- And how could we forget Fox News?
- Republicans were slow to act and quick to blame the victim in Hurricane Katrina.
- The 2008 election found conservatives using anti-muslim, "suspicious foreigner," and generally racist language and imagery to describe Barack Obama.
- Republican politician Chip Saltsman distributed copies of the song Barack the Magic Negro to members of the Republican National Committee.
- Conservatives believe that lending to minorities caused the subprime crisis.
- Recently several conservatives have stated that Obama is purposefully hurting the economy to justify "forced reparations."
- There's the recent rise of segregationist Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (current ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee).
- Many conservatives have made racist statements about swine flu and Mexicans (or immigrants in general).
- And most recently, conservative author Byron York wrote that the opinions of black people shouldn't be included when measuring Obama's popularity.
So now that we've taken a look at some of what conservatives and Republicans have to say about race, I'm sure that all Americans concerned with racial justice can agree that the GOP really is the party that has the best interest of american minorities in mind. I expect that as the letter-writer urges, black Americans will now turn to the GOP in droves. I mean, now that it's clear who's really a friend of whom.
6/2/09: I'd like to update this post with a quote I saw quite some time ago but could not locate when it came time to put together this list. The quote is important enough to warrant a slight amendment. Here's Republican strategist Lee Atwater (in 1980!) discussing racist code words in the Republican agenda. If a Republican admits that even cutting taxes is a racist code word, what part of the contemporary Republican platform is not tied up in racism? Maybe global warming denial? Here's the quote:
Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964… and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster...
Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps...?
Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”