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By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

Newt Gingrich reduces poor children to a subclass way of life and in doing so unintentionally paints a not so flattering picture of rich children. But painting with such broad brush strokes does little to instruct and enhance race relations, when candidates choose to play to racial stereotypes. Tragedy and the travesty of resorting to using distorted, divisive and derogatory languages and images to describe a whole group of people have untold, and unfortunately, lasting consequences.

Republican Nominee Newt Gingrich’s description of poor kids is one of those travesties that are tragic. Gingrich said lately, really poor children, in extremely poor neighborhoods have nobody and have no structure that work. So they literally don’t have any custom of showing up on Monday. Gingrich says they have no habit of staying all day, they have no custom of I do this and you give me cash unless it’s illegal.

At the end of the column, I offer Mr. Gingrich a depiction of rich children. It would be great to hear his response. Who does Mr. Gingrich believe the characterization describe?

No, in his description of poor children, Gingrich did not use the words black children or Hispanic children. But as you read or listen to his comment, did poor white kids immediately come to mind?

When pundits, and scholars, politicians generally talk about the poor in America, who are they talking about?

But the damage does not cease there. Gingrich would have you to believe that ALL people that are poor are idle; no one works in neighborhood after area; and the ones that do just sell drugs? He, in one statement, dismisses the working poor adults, many of them working two jobs to support their families as well as doing what they can to give their children a good future.

Has he ever discovered of white, the working poor black, Hispanics, and other ethnicities? He doesn’t have to look quite much into the backgrounds of black leaders from his own party. Does he know anything? How about the parents of Herman Cain?

Many blacks who earned a great living being laborers, janitors, garbage workers, etc. and who constructed middle class lives, came from poor families, poor neighborhoods. Grads from school, who become engineers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and politicians, have more often than not come from poor neighborhoods and families.

altGingrich reduces poor children to a subclass and also forgot that the vast bulk of poor folks in this nation are white. So is he also calling poor whites, with children who never see them go to work unless it’s to sell drugs to work?

An informed electorate is a strong electorate. The general public should not let Newt Gingrich or any candidate paint an excellent picture of the American population with a false broad brush that is divisive.

Yes, many poor children of blacks, whites, Hispanics, and others have parents who do not have a great schooling or full time jobs. But the reasons go far beyond them choosing to live the Life and happening to be poor. Living in poor areas with poor housing, poor schools, high-crime rates isn’t just a life of luxury.

I assume Mr. Gingrich will additionally say that American history, policies of wanton racism and discrimination had nothing to do with breeding and perpetuating the plight of the poor. Even worst, Mr. Gingrich appears to believe that he, if he were to become President, the government nor its policies should have anything to do with making it better.

What would Mr. Gingrich think of a comment like this to describe all wealthy kids?

Extremely affluent kids, in areas that are extremely rich have no customs of working hard and genuinely have nobody around them who have made their money without using, gouging, and cheating others. So literally, they may be insensitive to the plight of working class and the middle class. Poor white children have a feeling of entitlement in regards to getting the finest jobs or getting into the best schools whether qualified or not. They have no sense of pulling and working themselves up by their boot straps because they were born with silver spoons, all the boots, clothes, and cars they want, afforded them by the exploitation of others.

What do you think, Mr. Gingrich, is that an accurate description of rich kids? It sounds quite similar to your characterization of kids that are poor. Just affluent children have gotten the better end of the deal.

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.

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