Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum stepped into it with his alleged statement of wanting to help black people earn their way without taking other people’s money through entitlements while speaking to a group of white people in Iowa. Even Karl Rove on the O’Reilly Factor said Mr. Santorum needs to watch his words since Iowa’s black population is only 11% and 90% of food stamps recipients in Iowa are white.
I got a lot of “Now tell me again those Republicans aren’t a bunch of racists!” That comment coupled along with Newt Gingrich’s comment about making children from poor ghetto families work in school libraries and the most egregious… cleaning toilets had folks in my family/friend circle going off the deep end on why they will never go Republican and firmly supporting Barack Obama.
There has been much negative reaction to Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich on urban talk radio and even on a gospel music station that ask for comments on various political and cultural issues. I feel the former PA Senator and House Speaker meant well, but fed negative stereotypes of black folks. I hear people say that there is truth in stereotypes. I say there is some truth, but not complete truth. It is more like painting with a broad brush.
I grew up in a working class neighborhood that some would call a ghetto that went just about exclusively black before I got out of elementary school. My father worked for the government as an engineering technician. My mother worked as a clerical worker/secretary on and off. During the off times, she was a housewife. Some of my neighborhood friends hardly saw their fathers, because they worked 2 and 3 jobs.
Some evenings when I left late after 11 plus hours at the child care center, I took the commuter train and then a cab from the train station to my home. When I told cab drivers (all white) the home destination was on the other side of the parking lot of a well-known local Catholic church, a couple of times they took me to the subsidized apartments that were really behind the rectory. Other times when they got it right, I would get, “you live there!” I just responded in the affirmative, but saying to myself, “Black folks can’t live on a nice block!” I think they would be surprised to see blacks living in all the houses on blocks of $4/500,00 homes in and right outside of Philly.
Rick Santorum did try to explain and his campaign spokespeople choose not to respond to reporters about the controversy. I admit these Santorum/Gingrich racial controversies are a bit troublesome, but I still would vote for either one over Barack Obama. Nobody is perfect and we will continue to see flaws in our candidates. I continue to like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. And in listening to more of what Rick Santorum said, maybe he did say blah people instead of black people.