The Republican Candidates' Race Card Strategy

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Romney says Obama is "in over his head" as president and "doesn't understand anything" about the economy. Romney hasn't questioned "competence" of his Republican opponents, all of whom are White males.

[Black Star News Editorial]

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and front-runner Mitt Romney have all played the race-card to varying degrees in this election cycle, while Ron Paul's campaign is weighed down by the race baggage from his past.

Playing the race card speaks less about the national electorate and more about the unsuitability of these candidates for the nation's highest office.

The Civil Rights Movement and the legislation subsequently enacted --in the face of strong resistance from those who wanted to maintain the status quo--  transformed the nation's socio-economic and political landscape.

Still, for decades some White politicians have continued playing the race card, appealing to the sentiments of some White folk fearful of the transformative changes and those unwilling to yield privileges once guaranteed by skin color. Such politicians used code words such as "questionable competence" to try and undermine Black political candidates.

Such discredited tactics are still used today, in addition to demonization of Black people generally. These candidates want to somehow show that they would be best-placed to "put Black people in their place" and punish them for the problems they've caused. This is of course an ugly slander.

Romney has repeatedly said Barack Obama is "in over his head" as president of the United States and "doesn't understand anything" about the economy. It's very telling that Romney has not questioned the "competence" of any of his Republican opponents, all of whom are White males.

Romney is clearly playing the "competence" and race card even though President Obama is avenues ahead of him when it comes to natural-endowed intelligence and competence. What's more, the president has a far much more impressive personal story: He worked his way from the bottom when he could have easily been weighed down, having been abandoned by his father, and struggling with poverty and identity crises as a young man.

Romney has eaten from a golden spoon all his life. As an adult he made his millions by laying off working Americans.

New Gingrich, who is 68 years old belongs to the past. Race relations have evolved while Gingrich's mentality clearly reflects his age and the era in which he grew up. He has famously said Black people should reject food stamps and demand for paychecks.

He is a crazed elderly statesman.

Statistics show that on average White people are 34% of the food stamp recipients while Black people are 24% of those who need this help to supplement groceries; Latinos are about 17% of food stamp recipients and other groups comprise the difference.

Millions of Americans --officially almost 14 million-- remain unemployed. While unemployment has dipped to 8.5% the figures are much worse in the Black community, above 16%, as they traditionally have been due to historical discrimination. So for Gingrich to speak as if Black people could just walk into corporate America and get jobs is callous and insulting.

Most recently, rather than urging his friends in corporate America to invest in low-income areas and provide job training, Gingrich proposed that young Black people be trained to clean toilets. Perhaps that's the only "ideal" position Gingrich envisions for Black people. In that case, he must find it extremely galling that a Black man sits in the White House and maybe that's the only reason why Gingrich is running for office.

Rick Santorum is reckless and despicable when it comes to race matters. He claims Obama is introducing fascism in the United States by creating a welfare state where Black people are dependent on handouts such as medicaid instead of working hard like his grandfather who fled the clouds of tyranny in Italy in 1925.

Ron Paul is weighed by the baggage of his past. His newsletters, which once earned him millions of dollars, attacked Black people as criminals, lazy, riotous and resentful of White people. The national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which Ron Paul himself personally opposed, was characterized in one newsletter as "Hate Whitey Day."

With an improving national economy, it's unlikely that independent voters who generally determine the outcome of the general election, will find much appeal in race-baiting strategies that yearn for the bad old days.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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