Newt the Historian Should See 'Red Tails'
Because GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich frequently denigrates African-American accomplishments, USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham suggests that he see Red Tails to watch black U.S. military heroes in action.
ORLANDO -- By the time Newt Gingrich claimed victory in the South Carolina primary, I was in a crowded theater watching the movie about a kind of untold "American exceptionalism" that the Republican candidate seems to dismiss, if not disdain.
The newly released Red Tails tells the story of the black pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group, who before facing Hitler's Luftwaffe had to overcome their countrymen's implacable and groundless belief that they lacked the intelligence and courage to be fighter pilots during World War II. Overcoming an obstacle no white trainee faced, the pilots of the 332nd dealt the Luftwaffe a blow that once again underscored the vital contributions of blacks to America's greatness.
This is not what Gingrich the historian seems to have in mind when he speaks of "returning to the America we love." If you listen to the former Georgia congressman's campaign rhetoric, he makes subtle but unmistakable references to race, whether labeling the nation's first black president a "food-stamp president" or insinuating that African Americans don't have a work ethic. His solution? Let urban school children be in-house janitors. But of course.
Ahhh, the good ol' days, when whites had job security and white picket fences and couldn't be bossed around by uppity blacks, and African Americans had to suffer gross indignities in order to put their lives on the line to defend their country. Gingrich doesn't say this, but he doesn't have to. A not-too-distant history, as seen in Red Tails, takes us back to that time. We don't need Gingrich's help.
Read DeWayne Wickham's entire column at USA Today.