Pat Buchanan: Let Them Have Food Stamps

Had Marie Antoinette been alive today, she would have read Pat Buchanan’s brain-liquefying piece on the lack of gratitude from the black community and said, “See?  He get’s it.”

Nicole Belle has the offending passage up at Crooks & Liars:

What is wrong with Barack’s prognosis and Barack’s cure?
Only this. It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, “everybody but the rioters themselves.”[..]
Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.
Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.
This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.
Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

But it’s Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings that includes the topper:

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Indeed, it reminds me of a piece that Michael Medved did a while back where he tried to make the absurd claim that slavery wasn’t all that bad.

Neither of these men actually get it.  In fact, the whole concept that many people put forth that slavery ended generations ago, and it shouldn’t be our problem is completely false.  It is this idea that no one alive today could possibly be complicit in the kind of racial animosity that continues to exist that in part prevents us from honestly and constructively addressing the racial divide that continues to plague us.

Let us put aside the groups that still exist today, the followers of the 14 words, and the KKK, and simply engage in a slight history lesson.

Simply put, mistreatment of African Americans in this country hardly ended with the Civil War and the end of antebellum slavery.  Indeed, an illuminating segment on NPR today discussed an eighty year era of post antebellum slavery that was in many ways worse than what it replaced.

While the slavery era that we are all familiar with was indeed a nightmare and a black spot on America’s soul, simple market principles resulted in a certain standard.  Because slaves were expensive, there was incentive to keep them at the bare minimum properly fed.  Procreation was also key as it essentially equated to free slaves that could be used to replace their parents or be sold to other slave owners.

Following the Civil War, what many states in the South did was enact a structure of laws that not only made it virtually illegal to be black, but also created a situation where a much darker form of slavery was possible.

An example of this was the Anti-Vagrancy laws which meant that at any time a person could be challenged to provide proof of employment and income.  This was, of course, primarily enforced among blacks.  There were also laws that prevented black people from quitting their jobs, or moving to other employment without express written permission of the employer.

In this post antebellum period, Black labor went from being expensive when they were deemed as true slaves, to being incredibly cheap now that they were “free men.”  With blacks not having the capability to unionize, go on strike, or even quit a job based upon the grounds of inhumane working conditions, employers little more than slave owners were free to run them into the ground.  Whereas slaves were at least maintained to a minimum standard of health because replacing them was expensive, under this new netting of laws, employers often worked them straight to death.

For black females the situation was even worse considering they also had to suffer sexual aggression on top of the grievances that the men had to suffer.

Then we get into Jim Crow laws and segregation which continued on until the 1960’s.  Indeed, some schools remained segregated in some areas until the 1980’s.  One such county is here in Virginia.

Even discounting hate groups and conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories, might I add, that become more reasonable when we take into account instances such as the Tuskagee experiment, what we have in America is a long history of accrued grievances against African Americans that have never adequately been addressed.

Also, it is important to note that these grievances simply didn’t just go away when the civil war was fought, or when segregation in schools was made illegal, or when slavery was outlawed or when the Civil Rights act of 1964 was signed.  Even after the actions themselves went away, in as much as they ever did, they were not without a ripple effect.

As Obama deftly pointed out in his speech on race:

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

And here is where Pat gets it wrong.  The history of African Americans in America is one that left deep and lasting wounds, wounds that have been passed on from one generation to the next, and the transgressions are not all necessarily the sins of our fathers.  Some of it simply can’t be fixed no matter what we do; time will have to heal these wounds.

But to sound off a laundry list of entitlement programs and indignantly ask, “Isn’t this enough?” is an insult.  Of course it’s not enough, and it is the responsibility of all Americans to help heal these wounds.  This is not a guilt thing, this is not an instance where White America must help fix the problems of Black America because we started the mess.

It is a matter of helping to heal these wounds and address these grievances not out of guilt, but out of a sense of duty that the black community is as much apart of the vast American family as the white community.  We aren’t supposed to do this because we are paying the price for what our forefathers did, we must address the issue because it is the right thing to do.

2 Responses to “Pat Buchanan: Let Them Have Food Stamps”

  1. Lyn says:

    Pat Buchanan is 100% right. Blacks don’t understand gratitude. All that blacks understand is contempt for America in general and White people in particular.

    As for race relations and responsibility – it is not Whites’ responsibility. Slavery ended more than 140 years ago. Get over it.

    White America is in no way responsible for blacks’ problems. Blacks have had decades of generosity and assistance from all levels of government, and they have wasted it. Blacks owe Whites – for black-on-White crime, for the decay of some of our largest cities, and for the poor academic performance of what used to be real school systems. Whites owe blacks nothing.

  2. You didn’t read a damn thing I wrote did you?


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