THE BLOG

Bill Bennett, White Savior

I wonder how apparent it was to everyone who saw Bill Bennett's appearance on Hannity and Colmes on Thursday that the way he delivered his over-aggressive auto-apologia only served to confirm his reputation as a racist. If you've spent enough time around closet racists, you know their codes. When they refer to "these black kids" or call blacks, "these people," as Bennett did (video here), they are at the very least suggesting that black people are all alike, and assuming the person they are addressing agrees with them. When they use such phrases while boasting of their own generosity, they are positing themselves as white saviors rushing to rescue black people from themselves.

The white savior archetype is inspired by the religious missionaries who washed up on the shores of Africa and the New World in the 17th century, so perhaps it's no wonder Bennett invoked his wife's inner-city abstinence promotion program to clothe himself in their pious garb:

BENNETT: Let me just tell you, when it comes to abortion, my wife's program, Best Friends, has kept more young women from having abortions because they don't get pregnant because they take her good counsel...

HANNITY: Let me...

BENNETT: Than the entire black caucus. She has done more for inner city black girls than the entire black caucus. So I will not bow my head to any of these people.

"These people" have been the first two words of countless racist statements. And as those who like to use it know, the consequences of uttering such a phrase in public, as Ross Perot did before the NAACP in 1992 (with a slight variation: "You people...") can be devastating. But Bennett is unreconstructed. He is the same character who, in a 1996 book co-authored by former White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatiatives Director John Diiulio and current Bush drug czar John Walters, dubbed adolescent black males "superpredators." He is a racist at the helm of a movement galvanized by its resentment of minority aspirations.

I also found it odd that Bennett boasted to Hannity of "raising the price and lowering the purity" of cocaine when he was drug czar. All that means is he made life more miserable for coke users and helped turn poverty-stricken drug addicts from powder cocaine towards cheaper, more dangerous alternatives like crack and meth. Meth is now all the rage among whites in middle America. So even if Bennett's supposedly hypothetical proposition to end crime by aborting all black babies were fulfilled, this country would still be left with its rapidly increasing hordes of middle American meth addicts and, of course, the lot of corporate crooks running it.