Friday, September 25, 2015

Free Stuff, Yeah, Right

I have a feeling that -- with the Pope's visit, Boehner's resignation, and whatever blather comes out of Donald Trump's mouth -- there won't be much notice of the abhorrent thing Jeb Bush said yesterday. Basically, he said that Republicans have to appeal to black voters with aspiration, rather than the "free stuff" that Democrats promise to give them.

This is just another version of Romney's 47 percent speech, of course, and the story the Republicans tell themselves about why black people hardly ever vote for them.

The folks who did notice Bush's stupidity, at least on Twitter, are prominent black intellectuals. Jelani Cobb, history professor and writer for the New Yorker, went on a tear that's worth quoting in full:

Jeb Bush plans to win black votes by not offering us "free stuff" — you mean like the 246 years of uncompensated labor we gave you all?

Or the uncompensated sharecropping and convict labor we gave after slavery technically ended?

Or by "free" were you referring to the federal housing subsidies that this country gave to whites for decades while excluding us entirely?

Or the intergenerational equity that home ownership gave white people to the exclusion of black people?

How about that beautiful GI Bill, structured to minimize black participation while created a college-educated class of white Americans?

It's the logic of stealing from someone and then saying that if you paid them back it would be a giveaway that ruined their work ethic.

Nothing you could give us would be free, Jeb. You're already too deep in our debt.

Slave labor, convict labor, sharecrop labor. #freestuff

A multi-century regime of plunder and theft then condescends to those whom it has robbed, accuses them of wanting "free stuff."
And Ta-Nehisi Coates had a few pithy points as well:
You don't invite somebody in by implicitly claiming they've been conning the rest of society.

FHA loans and redlining = Hard work. Obamacare = free stuff for blacks.

GOP outreach to African-Americans is mostly just outreach to white Americans who don't like being called racist.

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