A year ago South Carolina’s lieutenant governor caused quite a ruckus when he suggested that welfare recipients who fail drug tests or refuse to attend parent-teacher conferences should lose their benefits.
Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who was raised in a working-class family, quoted his grandmother: "My grandmother was not a highly-educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem. If you give an animal or a person ample food supply, they will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that, and so what you gotta do is you gotta curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
It’s important to note that Bauer never said anything about whites on welfare, or Indians on welfare, or blacks on welfare. He was only talking about the problem of welfare dependency and irresponsible behavior in general.
Even though Bauer’s comments had nothing to do with race, they were immediately denounced by the Greenville, S.C., chapter of the NAACP, which said there was no need for him to apologize. The only acceptable action on his part would be to withdraw from the governor’s race. Why? What does welfare have to do with the NAACP?
In Flint and Detroit, Mich., the NAACP protested a five-year limit on welfare payments. Other NAACP chapters have denounced efforts to limit welfare payments.
When Valerie Jarrett spoke at the Martin Luther King memorial service at Ebenezer Baptist Church she politicized the event by criticizing Republicans for not supporting President Obama’s proposal to spend federal tax dollars to hire local policemen, firefighters and teachers. The congregants went wild.
The fact is, of course, that not so much as one cent of federal money is ever supposed to be spent hiring local police, firefighters or teachers. These people are hired only through state and local taxes, not federal oppression. And yet Ms. Jarrett and the wildly cheering Ebenezer congregants have attempted to turn this purely political difference into a black-white issue.
When a white politician tries to address this, he is suddenly branded a racist. Newt Gingrich dared to say that the NAACP should tell blacks they need paychecks, not welfare checks. A bunch of blacks acted insulted, but they shouldn’t be. It’s their own chapters that have promoted welfare.
Newt said there were families and even neighborhoods where children were never exposed to honest work, and that the only role models they had were drug dealers. Racist, racist, racist! Or so the politically correct crowd roared. Anyone who thinks this is racist needs to read about the infamous Cabrini-Green project in Chicago, where a survey found that 29 percent of residents were employed full time and another 11 percent were employed part time. What the survey showed was that most residents were single mothers not working. The only work their kids saw anyone doing was the dealing of drugs. It’s just a fact, and it’s not racist to point it out.
Most of Cabrini-Green has been torn down, with the last building coming down last year. And that’s a good thing! But there are other projects out there that are just as bad. And it should be noted that there are areas of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia where a culture of sloth, drug use and immorality have also taken hold of very substantial portions of the white community. It’s a problem, and if a black person wants to take note of the fact that it is a problem I offer them only thanks, not name-calling.
There are dysfunctional pockets of poverty in this country. In urban areas the residents tend to be black. In rural areas outside the South the residents tend to be white. Frequently the behavior of these people perpetuates their poverty. That’s just a fact.
If, as a society, we can’t even mention the fact that we have a problem we certainly aren’t going to begin to solve it. I will admit conservatives could sometimes use a little more tact in discussing these things, but I’d much rather support a candidate who talks about finding a solution to our nation’s problems than one who talks about how to be tactful about it.