This afternoon, I heard someone on my local NPR station refer to “outrageous” racial comments made by Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has become famous for a dispute with the Bureau of Land Management. “What did he say that was so outrageous?” I wondered. Then, the speaker read this quote;
“And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?”
Based on these words alone, it’s not clear to me that the man has said anything objectionable.
I spent much of my childhood in Charleston, South Carolina. There I saw first hand what statistics can only begin to convey. In South Carolina, where nearly 30% of the population is black, poverty is a condition that does not effect all races equally. While only 16% of white children live in poverty, 44% of black children fall below the poverty line.
Aside from just being broke, most black kids come from a broken home and many will get their criminal record going before they even graduate from high school. That is, IF they graduate from high school. In SC, 30% of black kids won’t even make it that far.
I am most familiar with South Carolina, but the story is the same all over the country. Blacks in New York, Chicago, and California are generally living in poorer conditions than their white peers.
It makes you wonder, how much progress has been made for the black community? Are they really better off now, filling our prisons and living on table scraps from the government? When you consider that Bundy might be expressing sympathy rather than hate, his words take on a new meaning. Especially when you hear his next sentence, omitted in the NPR story;
“They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
The Wall Street Journal published a similar smear titled Cliven Bundy’s outrageous comments about ‘the Negro’. This piece, by Jonathan Capehart, scolds Bundy for his backwards views and even tries to disparage a few politicians by association.
I don’t actually know much about this Bundy character. Its entirely possible that he’s a giant prick. My concern, and the exigence for my first blog entry, is the lack of accountability in media. Don’t let the media paint your perception of people with adjectives that have no basis. Don’t simply take on the opinions of journalists without justification.