What Don Young's Racial Slur Reveals About Republicans

Coinciding with the Republican party's public attempts to attract minorities into their fold, Alaskan Rep. Don Young used a racial slur that reminded many of why they jumped ship in the first place, writes New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow.

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Don Young at a press conference in Washington, D.C., in 2001 (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This week was rough for Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who used the racial slur "wetback" while trying to identify with the working class, writes New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. 

The question must be asked: Why do so many insensitive comments come from these Republicans?

One reason may well be their proximity problem.

Too many House Republican districts are isolated in naturally homogeneous areas or gerrymandered ghettos, so elected officials there rarely hear — or see — the great and growing diversity of this country and the infusion of energy and ideas and art with which it enriches us. These districts produce representatives unaccountable to the confluence. And this will likely be the case for the next decade.

For instance, according to the Census Bureau, about 6 percent of Alaska’s population is Hispanic and just 3 percent is black. And Alaska is among the most Republican states in the union, according to a Gallup report issued last year.

Too many House Republicans have districts dominated by narrow, single-note, ideology-driven constituencies that see an ever expanding “them” threatening the heritage of a slowly shrinking “us.”

Read Charles M. Blow's entire piece at the New York Times.

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