Nevada rancher and racism grenade Cliven Bundy has Republicans and conservatives scrambling to deal with his remarks on the state of “the Negro,” and the BLM bugaboo is not making their job easier. In an interview with Tom Woods Thursday morning, Bundy was asked about the charges of racism being leveled against him, and he responded by doubling down on those remarks.
Woods, filling in for The Peter Schiff Show‘s Peter Schiff, asked Bundy to respond to accusations of racism because of his remarks about black people maybe being better off under slavery.
Bundy doubled down, telling Woods “That’s exactly what I said, I’m wondering if they’re better off under government subsidy, their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail, and their older women and children are standing out on the cee-ment porch with nothing to do, you know, I’m wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves, and they was able to have their family structure together, and chickens and garden, and the people had something to do?”
“And so, in my mind,” Bundy continued, “I’m wondering are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. The statement is right. I am wondering.”
Here’s audio of Bundy’s remarks:
The premise of Bundy’s followup is actually a popular one among conservatives and Republicans, and aside from it’s prima facie absurdity, that “family structure” garbage is also complete horseshit.
During the 2012 campaign, Michele Bachmann allied herself with an organization promoting this myth. She signed an (anti-gay marriage) marriage pledgewhich contained a bit of not-so-fine print that made the same stomach-churning comparison between the era of slavery and the presidency of Barack Obama. To be fair, there was a lot to hate in The Marriage Vow, but right at the top of page one was the paragraph that insisted that black children born into slavery had a better shot at two-parent glory than those born under President Obama’s watch: (asterisk mine)
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household* than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.
*except the ones that were whipped to death by their parents’ owners
Yes, how sad! Can’t you just wait to see how The Family Leader came to that conclusion? The study that they cited was published in 2005, which means that any comparison to slavery must be made, not with our first black president, but with our 43rd white one. Furthermore, the data in the study only dates back to 1880, which means they not only had to stretch their pretzel to include Barack Obama, but also to conflate the data with slavery. They appear to be basing their conclusion on these two points from the study:
…in 1880 and 1910 about 56.3 percent of Black and 66.9 percent of White households were nuclear households…(page 8)
According to the latest data, only 35 percent of Black children live with married parents whereas 76 percent of White children do. (page 9)
Any nuclear households in 1880 would have contained exactly zero children “born into slavery in 1860,” or out of slavery, because they would all have been 20 years old by then. This is important, because it demonstrates a specific intent, not just to make a revoltingly stupid comparison between the slave era and the present day (black homelessness was probably lower in slave states, too), but to tie that comparison to our first black president.
If The Family Leader had actually bothered to look at marriage during slavery, who knows how they would have felt about those pro-marriage slave owners:
Most slave-owners encouraged their slaves to marry because they believed that married men were less likely to rebel or run away. Others hoped to increase the size of their slave populations by urging (or, as the case may be, forcing) their slaves to marry and have children. By age twenty, female slaves were expected to have given birth to at least four or five children. To expedite the reproductive process, some plantation owners promised to free female slaves after they had produced fifteen children.
Although many slaves did want to get married, several men confided in their autobiographies that they were reluctant to marry women from the same plantation. For example, as former slave John Anderson explained, “I did not want to marry a girl belonging to my own place, because I knew I could not bear to see her ill-treated.” Moses Grandy agreed when he wrote that, “No colored man wishes to live at the house where his wife lives, for he has to endure the continual misery of seeing her flogged and abused without daring to say a word in her defense.”
Furthermore, as the excerpts below attest, one of the biggest dangers that married couples faced as slaves was the possibility of being separated from one another. Because the American legal system did not recognize slaves’ marriage or family ties, slave owners were free to sell husbands from wives, children from parents, and sisters from brothers. According to a study of records kept by the Freedmen’s Bureau, over 32% of slave marriages were destroyed in this way.
Republicans can walk, run, or skip away from Cliven Bundy all they want, but his view of race, and distorted view of history, is nothing new for them.