[tabi] Re: article by Leonard Pitts

  • From: "Barbara Lineberry" <bkblpp@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 19:05:37 -0500

I highly recommend, along with Chip, this column.  He understands, he "gets 
it".  Also, something I didn't know was that Leonard Pitts had won a Pulizer 
Prize for commentary - a body of work.  The most famous of these is what he 
wrote on September 12, 2001.  If you haven't read it, check it out.  I don't 
have the link, but look up Leonard Pitts and then the date, September 12, 2001. 
 This piece literally went around the world.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 4:22 PM
  Subject: [tabi] article by Leonard Pitts

  I hope everyone will read the article below, and understand that all of the 
points Leonard Pitts makes about "the poor" can be said of the "blind" as well. 
 He's absolutely right when he speaks of our own issues dividing us, so that we 
argue with one another rather than with those who are not in our situation.

  It's not only the analogy which is so pertinent here, most blind people are 
also poor, and so this article speaks to them on multiple levels.  I hope you 
find his writing as moving as I did.



  Leonard Pitts: S. Carolina candidate breeding contempt for the poor
  8:42 PM Friday, January 29, 2010

  If he'd said it of Jews, he would still be apologizing.
  If he'd said it of blacks, he'd be on BET, begging absolution.
  If he'd said it of women, the National Organization for Women would have his 
  turning slowly on a spit over an open flame.
  But he said it of the poor, so he got away with it.
  "He" is South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, running for governor on the GOP 
  Speaking of those who receive public assistance, he recently told an 
audience, "My
  grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child 
  quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're 
  the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will 
  especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what 
you've got
  to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any 
  You read that right. The would-be governor of one of the poorest states there 
  likens the poor to stray animals.
  And though it drew some newspaper notice, a riposte from "The Daily Show" and 
  from Bauer's opponents, it never quite rose to the level of national 
  as it would've had Bauer compared, say, women or Jews to the dogs one feeds 
at one's
  back door.
  The relative silence stands as eloquent testimony to the powerlessness and 
  of the American poor.
  One is reminded how earnestly shocked news media were at the poverty they saw 
  years ago when New Orleans drowned. "Why didn't they get out?" observers kept 
  - as if everyone has a car in the driveway and a wallet full of plastic.
  The poor fare little better on television. The Evanses of "Good Times" and 
the Conners
  from "Roseanne" aside, television has been heavily weighted toward 
  middle- and upper-class families for 60 years.
  Politicians? They'll elbow one another aside to pledge allegiance to the 
middle class;
  they are conspicuously less eager to align with those still trying to reach 
  Who, then, speaks for the poor? Who raises a voice when they are scapegoated 
  marginalized? Who cries out when they are abused by police and failed by 
  Who takes a stand when they are exploited by employers and turned away by 
  As near as I can tell, no one does.
  Unfortunately, poor people have never learned to think of and conduct 
  as a voting bloc; historically, they have proved too readily divisible, 
usually by
  As Martin Luther King once observed: "If it may be said of the slavery era 
that the
  white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the 
  era that the Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the "poor" white 
man Jim
  Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty 
  could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that 
no matter
  how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man."
  It takes some helluva psychology to get two men stuck in the same leaking 
boat to
  fight one another. You'd think their priority would be to come together, if 
  long enough to bail water.
  But the moneyed interests in this country have somehow been able to con the 
  into doing just that, fighting tooth and nail when they ought to be standing 
  to shoulder.
  One hopes Andre Bauer's words will provide a wakeup call - in South Carolina 
  elsewhere - for people who have been down too long and fooled too often, that 
  will encourage them to organize their votes, raise their voices, push their 
  into the public discourse.
  In America, one is invisible and powerless only so long as one chooses to be.
  And the Bauers of this world need to know: sometimes stray animals bite.
  Leonard Pitts Jr. writes for the Miami Herald. E-mail address: 

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