In an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said that the Democratic Party has kept African-Americans on a “21st-century plantation,” with liberal black politicians being like the “overseers” who would rule over the slaves — and likened himself to Harriet Tubman, the most famous member of the Underground Railroad movement, who helped over 70 slaves escape to freedom and inspired many others by her example.
West discussed President Obama’s current bus tour, with guest host Laura Ingraham.
“Well I think, Laura, when you look at what is happening, the laughable hypocrisy is that the big black bus is not going into the black community,” said West. “When you had unemployment in the black community, 16.3 percent in July, and it dropped down to 15.9 percent for the month of August, that’s not in the right direction. [Note: 15.9% unemployment for a demographic group certainly is bad — but isn’t even a slight drop a move in the right direction?]
“So, you have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there, where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted. And you have established certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset, because they have been disregarded, disrespected, and their concerns are not cared about.
“So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”
An amused Ingraham asked: “Now, you’re saying [California Democratic Congresswoman] Maxine Waters is the plantation boss at this point?
“Well, absolutely,” West said. “Because what you end up having — and you know, I’m gonna be brutally honest — is that white liberals have turned over to certain leaders, quote-unquote ‘perceivably innocent’ in the black community like, a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or a Maxine Waters or Barbara Lee, and said you know, pacify and keep the black community firmly behind us, regardless of the failures of our social welfare policies. You look at the devastation in the black communities. You look at what has happened to the inner cities of, say, Chicago or Detroit. You look at the riots and the things that happening already in Philadelphia.”
He also added: “That’s the absence of this quote-unquote ‘leadership’ in the black community, which as I say are nothing more than overseers of this 21st-century plantation.
“So the Republican Party has not done very well in reaching out. And I think that that’s where we have opportunity to show that the conservative principles and values, that really are the corner stone and bedrock of the black community — individual responsibility and accountability, faith and family, hard work ethic — those are the type of things we can reconnect to the black community, and once again get a thriving economic community within our inner cities.”
Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.