Racist dog whistles are some of the most frequently employed political tools of the Republican Party. Donald Trump reified their efficacy when he employed them repeatedly in 2016 to win the White House and now those who hope to one day follow in his footsteps see them as their most reliable method for appealing to those bigoted GOP voters who see the otherization and marginalization of nonwhite people as one of their primary voting issues.
One of the most popular ways to blow a dog whistle in 2021 is to attack Black Lives Matter, a movement aimed at ending the campaign of police brutality waged against people of color on a daily basis in this country. Republican officials often refer to BLM as a “terrorist organization,” a naked rhetorical attempt to dehumanize those fighting for racial equality and appeal to white voters who see BLM as a threat to their societal hegemony.
Today, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) stood up on the floor of the House and launched a truly despicable attack on Black Lives Matter by saying that “it’s a group that doesn’t like the old fashioned family.” In this case, the racist dog whistle was more like a racist bullhorn.
Grothman’s implication that Black communities don’t believe in the family is a longstanding stereotype peddled by right-wingers. The federal government waged war on these communities through a needless and failed drug war, the expansion of overmilitarized policing, and the establishment and expansion of for-profit prisons.
Now, Republicans want to blame the victims of these policies for the consequences of those policies. 64% of Black children are in single-parent families not because they don’t believe in “old fashioned family,” but because the government has systematically targeted and imprisoned people in these communities. You cant have a two-parent home when one of your parents has been thrown in prison for some minor, victimless crime.
Thankfully, Grothman’s atrocious remarks didn’t go unchallenged. Democrat Stacey Plaskett, a Congressional delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, immediately called him out by urging him to stay and listen to her rebuttal.
“I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time as he’s talked about Black Lives Matter. How dare you? How dare you say that Black Lives Matter, Black people, do not understand old-fashioned families?” said Plaskett.
“Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward, that I’ve heard out of your mouth in the Oversight Committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over four hundred years,” she went on. “And the assault on our families to not have Black lives, or not even have Black families. How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the Black community? That is outrageous. That should be stricken down.”
Watch the impassioned response below.
Stacey Plaskett goes after Grothman for his weird comments about Black Lives Matter supporters not supporting traditional families pic.twitter.com/KlGsrbeJJL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 10, 2021
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