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Race-Based Romney-Speak

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

There is no mystery to what Mitt Romney was trying to say, in his incompetent way, at the Boca Raton fundraiser. Romney was performing the standard anti-Black "entitlement" and "dependency" speech, but then threw other demographics in the mix. "The result: Romney "niggerized' almost half of America -- which is what all the furor is about."

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Race-Based Romney-Speak

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

" By mixing up his message, Romney has polluted the white watering hole, and endangered the entire corporate project."

Pundits poured over Mitt Romney's private pitch to his fellow super-rich, last spring, in Boca Raton, Florida, in search of underlying facts and hidden meanings -- or, at least, what he meant to say. Who are the 47 (or 48 or 49) percent that will vote for Obama "no matter what?"

CNN's John King believes the GOP presidential candidate simply got his demographic cohorts confused, mashing up the 47 percent or so of Americans who don't pay net income taxes with a similarly-sized group that Republican pollsters have identified as deeply Obamite: African Americans, Latinos and other minorities, and white female college graduates. Given Romney's amazing capacity to strip clarity from human speech, John King is probably on to something. However, there should be no doubt as to who was at the center of Romney's give-me-money appeal: Black voters. These are the only Americans who are totally absent from the pro-Romney column, and will actually "vote for this president [Obama] no matter what."

Finding race at the heart of a Republican speech is like finding lust at a nudie bar. As veteran Black politico Kevin Alexander Gray so often reminds us, race has been at the center of everything the GOP has done since Nixon's 1968 southern strategy. For decades, the Right has been writing and ranting about something they call the Politics of Victimization, which compels Black people to feel that America "owes" them something for slavery and past discrimination. "Liberals" have fed this "pathology," which has led to a "culture of dependency" and "entitlement" among African Americans, according to the Right's script.

" Blacks are the only Americans who are totally absent from the pro-Romney column."

This fundamentally racist construction is embedded in the American political conversation, transforming "entitlement" -- a term to describe benefits provided by legislation to eligible populations -- into a racial code word. The cohorts that avail themselves of such government programs, in Romney's words, "believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement."

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But, of course, if all the people that are entitled to "you-name-it" from government voted for Democrats, the margin for Republican majorities would be so slim, the Party would disappear. If 47 percent of voters really were pre-programmed against Romney, there would be no sense in his begging other fat cats in Florida to throw money into an electoral black hole; the math would be insurmountable. Therefore, Romney could not have meant what he said, literally. He just got sloppy, mixing the obligatory anti-Black code-speech with statistics handed to him about other problem constituencies. The result: Romney "niggerized" almost half of America -- which is what all the furor is about.

White people do not like to be niggerized, to be placed at the ass-end of their own racist reasoning.

When Romney talks of people that consider themselves "victims," he is referencing what John McWhorter, a Black reactionary at the Manhattan Institute, calls

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Glen Ford is aveteran of Black radio, television, print and Internet news and commentary. He is executive editor of and was co-founder of

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