Gingrich's Fantasy NAACP Speech
Update: CBS News reports that NAACP President Benjamin Jealous responded to Newt Gingrich's comments by saying, "It is a shame that the former speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country. The majority of people using food stamps are not African American, and most people using food stamps have a job," and noting that when Gingrich was speaker of the House of Representatives, he declined several invitations by the NAACP to speak.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said yesterday that if he were invited to an NAACP convention, he would talk about "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps," the Associated Press reports.
The NAACP had no immediate comment on Gingrich's remarks, but National Urban League President Marc H. Morial has noted that 70 percent of people on food stamps are white (the Agriculture Department doesn't analyze food-stamp-participation rates by race).
Gingrich's campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said that the candidate believes "any Republican should always accept an invitation to speak to the NAACP on any topic." But given the choice of "any topic," it seems his preference would be to address an issue that affects only a segment of the black community, and to condescendingly oversimplify the issue by suggeting that the individuals to whom he is referring are "satisfied."
Well, at least Gingrich is honest about his assessment of African Americans as a monolithic group that is first and foremost poverty-stricken and complacent. His comments follow those by rival candidate Rick Santorum, who said Sunday that he did not want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," but is now backing off from the statement, insisting that he was just stuttering.
Something tells us that both of these guys are well aware that they're really talking to white Republican-primary voters when they say these things. We don't expect either to be firing up the NAACP with a stereotype-laden keynote address anytime soon.
Read more at the Associated Press.