Western New York Congressional candidate Jack Davis (pictured) said some things in recent meetings that made even his fellow Republicans flinch.
As a solution to the black unemployment problem, Davis suggested shipping inner-city black youth out to farms, while simultaneously deporting the illegal immigrants who are working there.
The comments were confirmed by several sources who attended a Feb. 20th endorsement interview with Davis:
"We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work."
Republican leadership has now endorsed Davis' rival, Jane L. Corwin, and said they were shocked by his remarks:
"I was thunderstruck," said Amherst GOP Chairman Marshall Wood. "Maybe in 1860 that might have been seen by some as an appropriate comment, but not now."
The comments by Jack Davis are interesting for a number of reasons. First, he is committing a political taboo by even mentioning race during his campaign. President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and no one else from the Obama Administration has mentioned race in public in any significant way for at least a year.
Politicians seem to feel that race is a volatile, uncomfortable topic that should simply be avoided at all costs.
For example, rather than discussing their ongoing advocacy for the mass incarceration of African-American males, Republicans get away with arguing that those "evil" prison inmates deserve few, if any, human rights. This allows Republicans to pursue racially divisive and oppressive political strategies without appearing to sound racist.
Second, one must at least give Davis credit for addressing black teen unemployment, which has been as high as 48 percent over the past several months. The numbers are typically double that of white teen unemployment.
By even discussing the issue, Davis appears more willing to confront the black unemployment problem than even our black president, but by advocating that black teens be shipped to farms to replace illegal immigrants, Davis shows a degree of condescension in his remarks, which indicates that he feels that black teens are simply meant to be farm workers and not much more.
Finally, by pushing for the deportation of illegal immigrants, Davis' remarks have an unpopular protectionist appeal that makes him sound like a racist old man pushing for class warfare among minority groups.
Not much is to be gained when blacks become angry at illegal immigrants for allegedly stealing their jobs. The truth is that we should all be pushing for paths to legalization and a sustainable living wage for all workers within our borders.
As it stands, American corporations have been allowed to pillage the American worker, strip him/her of significant bargaining power and keep wages lower than they need to be. Also, by using illegal immigrant labor, corporations are undermining the existing labor market and making it all too difficult for people to make an honest living. At the end of the day, something has got to give, and American corporate behavior must be readily confronted.
Do I consider Jack Davis to be a racist? Not any more than his Republican colleagues. The truth is that he's an old candidate who simply says what's on his mind, which is a no-no in American politics.
I also can't help but wonder if Republican leadership just happened to reveal his remarks to the public because they were pushing for a different candidate. The truth is that someone in our government needs to help address the black unemployment problem, and although his remarks were tasteless and misguided, I give Jack Davis credit for trying.
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Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.