Friday, February 17, 2012

Republican Racism Example #20: African Americans and Latinos Don't "Understand The Future"

Newt Gingrich's hand-written speech in which he says blacks and Latinos don't "understand the future."  (Photo from the Huffington Post at

Throughout his political career, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has brandished racial stereotypes – linking African Americans with food stamps and welfare dependency, undocumented workers with crime, and so on – in order to promote his agenda of Social Darwinism  The race baiting came long before his failing 2012 presidential bid.  Back in 1993, he suggested that black people in particular were too stupid to understand that creating jobs in their communities was essential to their economic future.

"For poor minorities, entrepreneurship in small business is the key to future wealth," Gingrich wrote by hand in a speech obtained by The Huffington Post. "This is understood thoroughly by most of the Asians, partially by Latinos, and to a tragically small degree by much of the American black community."
This love of entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system comes from a man who spent 20 years of his adult life as a member of the U.S. House.  In any case, it relies on a trifecta of demeaning generalizations – that Asians are tireless, super-smart worker bees who will leave Caucasians in the dust if we don’t watch out, and that Latinos and African Americans aren’t as smart as whites and Asians, don’t comprehend the value of hard work, and won’t learn how to survive in the big, bad world unless schooled by smart whites like Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich imagines himself a world-class thinker but offers instead stereotypes of African Americans and Latinos you can hear from any drunk white guy in a neighborhood bar.  ( Photo from

 In Gingrich’s fantasy world there are no ambitious blacks and Latinos who are unable to raise capital for businesses because of the racism of white-owned backs, none who are redlined by real estate companies, and none who fail to get promotions because of their color.  No black or Latino American, according to Gingrich, falls behind economically in spite of  endless toil because they are paidn poverty wages, unlike retired House Speakers.

The handwritten 1993 speech, by the way, was part of a 1,000-page cache of papers gathered as part of a House ethics investigation of Gingrich adjudicated in 1997.  You can read more about this at the Huffington Post at

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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