Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Steve King Isn't Racist, Just Ignorant

Steve King is getting some heat for referring to then-Senator Obama as a "very, very urban senator" on the floor of the House today, in reference to a farm bill Obama introduced that would correct discrimination against black farmers. Bloggers saw racism in the "very, very urban" comment, but King defends himself in National Review:
For his part, King is flabbergasted. “I had hard time figuring out what they meant,” he tells National Review Online. “If you’re determined to be offended, I can guess you are determined to find offense in anything.”

What did he really mean? “If Barack Obama had been a rural senator, within a state that had a significant amount of black farmers, he would have introduced this bill,” King explains. “But it’s pretty obvious to me that he didn’t have a legislative interest in this that could have been rooted in his Illinois constituency."

Ever been to Illinois? Get outside of Chicago and its suburbs, and it is thousands of square miles of the flattest farmland you have ever seen. It's boring. It makes Nebraska look charming. It's an agricultural state -- and ag interests were thus part of Obama's portfolio when he went to the Senate. There is no senator from just Chicago, after all.

Steve King is from neighboring Iowa. He surely knows all of this. His defense is that he's not racist, but that he's completely ignorant of his own region. That doesn't seem like a good defense.

I wouldn't bother with this. Fights over ambiguous references to race aren't usually fruitful. But man, Steve King's defense just is so insulting to the intelligence. I couldn't let it go.

1 comment:

KhabaLox said...

FWIW, the four counties around Chicago account for about 60% of the state's population.