It has long been a problem that African Americans have been called racist anytime when we express our own truth. But, the problem lies in defining “racist” and “prejudice.” Lesson 101, conservatives! Racists are people who express their prejudice with the benefit of power and/or privilege to alter the opportunities of those that they are prejudiced against. Prejudice is simply that. A person has “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Now! Which one of these definitions is best associated with African Americans?
Ding ding ding ding ding! We don’t have the power nor the privilege of white America to ever be considered racist. And what this economist, Dr. Walter Williams, who is also a known conservative, is doing during his interview with Fox’s John Stossel, was expressing his opinion on the welfare system and how he believes it dismantled the black family all for the sake of resources.
He said if there were no welfare system, one would simply get a job. Ok! You’re going a bit too far here Williams, but then Stossel brought up the fact that the U.S. welfare system encouraged men to stay away or “she would lose her check.” Anyone seen Claudine? Go out and rent a copy if you haven’t. It gives a great glimpse into the family life of black families of the 1970s being tarnished by welfare. Not broken as Williams suggests.
The other thing that places Williams comments more in context is the fact that he brought up that Sweden was nearly the prototype for welfare and their rate of “illegitimacy” is directly attributed to welfare at 54 percent. Of course Williams is in error to attribute the complete dismantling of black families in the U.S. to welfare because most of us are not receiving the “benefits” of the program.
But, when MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, who is a friend of ours, tried to make the case that Williams remarks were racist because he mentioned that welfare did what slavery could not do to black people. He would’ve been more accurate to point the finger at the racists that built a program that would subject all families to inhumane treatment and/or practices like cutting down or off resources to families that had men in the home. Now, that the system is hanging on by a thread, the treatment has gotten a little more discriminatory and insensitive to the people who need it.
The welfare state is a tricky conversation and Williams made some statements that were definitely in error, but not racist. His conclusions are purely his opinion; misguided as it may be. Check out the video that Ed Schultz used on MSNBC of what Williams said, then view Williams visit to Stossel’s show in its entirety. You make the call.