Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, is facing allegations of racism after saying he wanted to go to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and tell African-Americans to “demand paychecks, not food stamps.”
Gingrich would go on to white-wash his statements by saying that he was citing the number of unemployed people who are forced to go on food stamps under the current Obama administration, and that African-Americans comprise the majority of food stamp recipients. Gingrich went on to prove this by pointing out 43 percent of African-American teens are unemployed in the US.
Gingrich’s comments, however, underline a more important and disturbing implication: that food stamps are the domain of the colored community.
I won’t cover up the statistics that show a lot of African-Americans living in poverty. Add the fact that food stamps are designed to help feed those living in poverty and you will notice that it is dangerously easy to make hasty assumptions here.
What I do not like here is that he singles out African-Americans along with the way he paints the food stamp program as a “free meal ticket for the unemployed“.
The food stamp program is meant as a lifeline for those who have most recently lost their jobs and do not see the need to resort to crime just to put something in their belly – not just African-Americans.
Gingrich said that people don’t realize that he’s a “Republican who cares enough that he’s wiling to go and talk to one of the most left-wing organizations in America about how to help the people they represent.”
Pardon me for getting a bit political here: let me remind him that it was a Republican president that allowed the recession to take place, that it was an African-American Democrat who was elected to fix that mess, and that the food stamp program is a universal lifeline for all Americans in great financial distress – regardless of color.