Gingrich Plans To "Explain" To NAACP Why African-Americans Should Get Off Food Stamps

January 05, 2012 12:04 pm ET — Kate Conway

Newt Gingrich

According to Talking Points Memo, while speaking at a town hall in New Hampshire today Newt Gingrich said he planned to educate the African-American community about why they should get off food stamps:

Campaigning in New Hampshire today, Newt promised potential voters at a town hall that he would personally pay a visit to the NAACP and explain to the organization why African Americans need to ditch food stamps.

"I will go to the NAACP convention, and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps," said Gingrich.

How nice. Newt Gingrich will deign to go explain to the African-American community (via a long-existing and much-respected organization) about how to work instead of living off the dole.

Gingrich's conflation of food stamps with race is a symptom of his own biases and assumptions — not an accurate reflection of reality. Food stamps are used by people across a full spectrum of racial categories: In 2008, 30 percent of food stamp recipients were white, while only 23 percent were black. 15 percent were Hispanic, 3 percent were Asian, and 4 percent were Native American.

Gingrich has a history of condescension towards to poor and of making comments that can, at best, be described as racially awkward. Earlier in his campaign, Gingrich suggested that children born into poverty don't acquire the "habits" of success because they don't see any examples of hard, honest work — a claim he's been repeating since 1995. In 2007, he said that bilingual education would teach children "the language of living in a ghetto." And he's called President Obama the "food stamp president" — take that as you will.

Print