by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
There is no mystery to what Mitt Romney was trying to say, in his incompetent way, at the Boca Raton fundraiser. Romney was performing the standard anti-Black “entitlement” and “dependency” speech, but then threw other demographics in the mix. “The result: Romney ‘niggerized’ almost half of America – which is what all the furor is about.”
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“By mixing up his message, Romney has polluted the white watering hole, and endangered the entire corporate project.”
Pundits poured over Mitt Romney’s private pitch to his fellow super-rich, last spring, in Boca Raton, Florida, in search of underlying facts and hidden meanings – or, at least, what he meant to say. Who are the 47 (or 48 or 49) percent that will vote for Obama “no matter what?”
CNN’s John King believes the GOP presidential candidate simply got his demographic cohorts confused, mashing up the 47 percent or so of Americans who don’t pay net income taxes with a similarly-sized group that Republican pollsters have identified as deeply Obamite: African Americans, Latinos and other minorities, and white female college graduates. Given Romney’s amazing capacity to strip clarity from human speech, John King is probably on to something. However, there should be no doubt as to who was at the center of Romney’s give-me-money appeal: Black voters. These are the only Americans who are totally absent from the pro-Romney column, and will actually “vote for this president [Obama] no matter what.”
Finding race at the heart of a Republican speech is like finding lust at a nudie bar. As veteran Black politico Kevin Alexander Gray so often reminds us, race has been at the center of everything the GOP has done since Nixon’s 1968 southern strategy. For decades, the Right has been writing and ranting about something they call the Politics of Victimization, which compels Black people to feel that America “owes” them something for slavery and past discrimination. “Liberals” have fed this “pathology,” which has led to a “culture of dependency” and “entitlement” among African Americans, according to the Right’s script.
“Blacks are the only Americans who are totally absent from the pro-Romney column.”
This fundamentally racist construction is embedded in the American political conversation, transforming “entitlement” – a term to describe benefits provided by legislation to eligible populations – into a racial code word. The cohorts that avail themselves of such government programs, in Romney’s words, “believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement.”
But, of course, if all the people that are entitled to “you-name-it” from government voted for Democrats, the margin for Republican majorities would be so slim, the Party would disappear. If 47 percent of voters really were pre-programmed against Romney, there would be no sense in his begging other fat cats in Florida to throw money into an electoral black hole; the math would be insurmountable. Therefore, Romney could not have meant what he said, literally. He just got sloppy, mixing the obligatory anti-Black code-speech with statistics handed to him about other problem constituencies. The result: Romney “niggerized” almost half of America – which is what all the furor is about.
White people do not like to be niggerized, to be placed at the ass-end of their own racist reasoning.
When Romney talks of people that consider themselves “victims,” he is referencing what John McWhorter, a Black reactionary at the Manhattan Institute, calls
“…the Cult of Victimology, under which it has become a keystone of cultural blackness to treat victimhood not as a problem to be solved but as an identity to be nurtured. Only naiveté could lead anyone to suppose that racism does not still exist, or that there are not still problems to be solved. However, the grip of the Cult of Victimology encourages the black American from birth to fixate upon remnants of racism and resolutely downplay all signs of its demise.”
In truth, white people do a lot more moaning and crying about their condition, and for totally imaginary reasons. A 2011 study by Tufts University and Harvard Business School shows “whites believe that anti-white racism has increased and is now a bigger problem than anti-black racism.”
“White people do not like to be niggerized, to be placed at the ass-end of their own racist reasoning.”
The Republicans’ job is to keep whites thinking that way, not reminding them that Euro-Americans make up the vast bulk of folks that are “dependent” on “entitlements” of various kinds. By mixing up his message, Romney has polluted the white watering hole, and endangered the entire corporate project. Fortunately for the fat cats, they have plenty of friends in Democratic circles. President Obama, who seldom fumbles his messages, set out on the campaign trail, in 2007, telling a congregation in Selma, Alabama, that Blacks had already come “90 percent of the way” to equality - signaling to whites that the curtain would soon be brought down on all this Black complaining. As president, Obama repeatedly and pointedly insisted that he would reserve housing aid for those homeowners that were truly “deserving” – and wound up helping only a very few, leaving it up to the banks to handle the crisis on their own terms. Obama served notice, two weeks before his inauguration, that all “entitlements” – Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. – would be “on the table” for chopping. Last year, he matched the Republicans dollar-for-dollar, offering $4 trillion in cuts over ten years. And, the president’s belief in Black (male) cultural pathology has been made quite clear in Fathers’ Day and other remarks that were directed at least as much to white constituencies as at Blacks.
So, Romney’s presidential dreams may go poof!! as a result of his mass niggerization gaffe – but his racist view of the world is alive and thriving.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].