New York Times Columnist Charles M. Blow took umbrage this morning with Governor Bush’s remarks, calling them “paternalistic.” Mr. Blow contends they “echo the trope about ‘lazy welfare queens.’” He further asserts that the problem is disproportionate incarceration of Black men and – yeah, you guessed it – “structural White racism.”
I make allowances for Mr. Blow’s views since he is Black, but this time he’s way off base. First of all, Jeb Bush’s remarks were anything but paternalistic. His reference to “free stuff” was not, as Mr. Blow seems to think, a cheap shot at Blacks. It was rather a shot at the traditional (since Lyndon Johnson) Democrat solution to the problem of Black poverty. He was saying, “Look, we’ve tried Democrat paternalism for fifty years, and it ain’t working. Black poverty is worse today than it was when the “War on Poverty” started.
And Bush’s statement, “you can achieve earned success” was prefaced with “[our message] is not one of division.” This was intended as a further indictment of the “Democrat Plantation” (not my nomenclature, but that coined by a Black woman – Starr Parker). Far from being a Black putdown, Governor Bush’s words were an invitation to Blacks to join the White rat race. “Come on, guys. You want to live like White folks, get in the game and learn what it takes to have two car payments, a mortgage, and college tuition payments – plus taxes to pay.”
Mr. Blows perception of the “trope about lazy welfare queens” in Governor Bush’s remarks can be dismissed as an obvious instance of paranoid self-delusion – the perception of an insult that doesn’t exist. But his condemnation of disproportionate incarceration of Black men demands a rebuttal. Black men, Mr Blow, are disproportionately incarcerated because they disproportionately break the law. 85 % of interracial crimes are committed by the less than 13 % of the Black population, and 98 % of murders of Black people are committed by other Black people, according to FBI data for 2013.
And “structural” White racism is an anachronism. George Wallace has been dead for l7 years, and Orval Faubus has been dead for 21 years, and the mind set they represented has been dead even longer.. You’re beating a dead horse, Mr. Blow. White racism died with the 1960s. We’re two generations down the road from what you’re talking about. The only racism still existent in America today is the commercial racism of Al Sharpton and other Black leeches.
Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Jeb Bush and I would have to hold my nose to vote for him, but he deserves to be defended against unwarranted attacks. Disclaimer No. 2: I like Charles Blow. I enjoy his articles and welcome his viewpoint as a Black man raising two children by himself, but he needs to be told when he’s overreacting.