May I ask you a question? Do you know of any lazy Negroes? Apparently, the Republican Party knows a lot of lazy black people. These people are a hott topic on the campaign trail nowadays. How about Iowa Caucus surprise runner-up Rick Santorum:
“He added: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”
“And provide for themselves and their families,” Santorum added, to applause. “The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again.”
I side completely with Chauncey DeVega on this one:
“First, poverty in America is racialized. The image in the public imagination is of black welfare queens, or illegal aliens birthing “anchor babies” who live off of the government tit, profiting from food stamps and the generosity of the American people. The white poor rarely, if ever, enter the picture. Second, black people are parasites of white people (Santorum’s “someone” else). Here it is implied that black people are also “lazy,” and a dependent class, unable to take care of their families except for the generosity and benevolence of white people.”
Black means poor and lazy and bodily and sexual promiscuous and angry and emotional; white continues to mean pure and virginal and virtuous and hard-working and American and middle-class. It does not matter if historically whites have benefitted from social welfare programs–remember that Social Security was established during legal segregation, and the tax dollars of African Americans were used to pay for the retirement funds for many of their racist oppressors. Who’s the racist? Who’s doing the class warfare? It’s the rich, the privileged, the status quo, that’s who!
If indeed politics is about the creation of imagined communities, as DeVega correctly argues in Iowa and Beyond: for the Tea Party GOP the road is paved by lazy blacks, then the racial imagination is quite essential to politics, particularly to conservative white folk who claim not to see color. The Tea Party and the Rest of the GOP may as well just join the movie, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “Be Our Guest!”
No matter the contributions by people of color, the message will always be the same: you still owe us whites, therefore, shut up and mop our floors. Right,Newt Gingrich? Even sadly, Ron Paul’s racist rants against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 goes to show just how perverted the racial imagination of many conservatives are. Now, honestly, I think that liberals and conservatives can be equally racist; political ideology is not the point. My point is that the practices within the conservative movement, the pointing to the poor racial minority as lazy, require a particular racial imagination that is unhealthy; in a word–