Members of the GOP seem to be increasingly more comfortable making outlandish and racially charged statements followed by indignant apologies. These statements have garnered an outcry from the public; yet have received little to no condemnation from within the party.
Last weekend, Minnesota Representative Pat Garofalo tweeted “Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime [sic].”
Rep. Garofalo denied any racist intent, and declared “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Furthermore, he was confused at how attributing crime specifically to an organization composed of 81% minorities, which already carry a stereotype of criminality, could be construed as racist stating, “ I really don’t understand how being critical of a culture of pro athletes has anything to do with race.”
Paul Ryan expressed a similar sentiment on Bill Bennett’s radio show stating, “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.” Most agree inner city translates to black and Hispanic communities. Ryan even went as far to cite Charles Murphy, author and social scientist, who openly suggests that African-Americans are less intelligent than white Americans due to genetic differences.
The list continues.
Arizona Congressional candidate Jim Brown, arguing against entitlements, stated “Basically slave owners took pretty good care of their slaves and livestock and this kept business rolling along.”
A YouTube video was found of Nevada assemblyman Jim Wheeler in which he stated he would reinstate slavery “if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me.”
Senator Phil Jensen proposed a bill to allow South Dakota businesses to refuse service to customers based on sexual orientation. He wishes to reinstate discriminatory laws and let the free market determine its future. His “logic” being “If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them.”
It seems these are the GOP’s efforts to dog whistle to their core constituents. The July 2012 census predicts the White majority will be gone nationwide by 2043. Currently, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Texas are majority-minority States with Florida, Nevada, Maryland, and Georgia following close behind. The GOP needs to maintain its strength and control even after they lose their numbers and creating racial polarity could do just that. The foundation for this polarity is being created by heralding figures such as George Zimmerman as a celebrity, painting images of minorities as thugs and lazy, and fear mongering. As the demographic shift occurs the GOP’s hateful and insensitive rhetoric will increase in efforts to solidify their base.
Chariese is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.