Rick Tyler, Newt Gingrich’s former communications director, was on a roll last night during his appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, when he attacked the show’s titular host for noting the racial coding behind the former House Speaker’s recent rhetoric. As Maddow pointed out, Gingrich’s attacks on Obama for being an “entertainer” and a “food stamp president” evoke negative beliefs about the “place” of blacks in American society, as well as their willingness to work and contribute to society.
Rather than address the charge—which has been made in detail by observers across the political spectrum—Tyler defends the Republican Party as the “real” party of civil rights (and pretends as if the last sixty years of political history never happened), and presents the Democratic Party as the chief impediment to black advancement. See for yourself:
It actually gets much worse than this, to wit:
The Democrats have failed in the public schools with the African-Americans, they abort their babies, they’ve nothing to lift them out of poverty, and you know what, I hear all the time that the Democrats have these great intentions, but their policies fail.… Maybe we should try our policies that put people back to work, and not give them a handout, tell them to live in public housing, shut up, collect a check and vote for Democrats.
This was all punctuated by an assertion that mediocre films like Red Tails are necessary because black children don’t have any positive role models in their lives. (Which, I imagine, would come as a surprise to many black people, myself included.)
With rare exceptions, this country has never been able to talk about the position of African-Americans with any amount of maturity, nor has it tried to understand black people as individuals who make choices and respond to their environment. Instead, African-Americans are either pathologized—problems of poverty, for example, become “black problems” and culture failures—or treated as a passive, collective mass.