Let me introduce the political Right and the Republican party to a simple concept about Americans of color: we're not stupid. Try as Romney might to blame President Obama for the economic hardships of communities of color, we have seen the Republican party and its policies wrecking our communities, tearing apart our families, and scapegoating us for the social and economic woes of their real base: the racist, white voters. We are keenly aware that Romney didn't appear before the NAACP to learn about the concerns of people of color but to placate swing white voters who are concerned by the openly racist nature of the current Republican party.
People of color aren't stupid, and to us, health care isn't a political football.
Let's take health care. The Affordable Care Act isn't just the broadest reaching social justice legislation we have since since Medicare, and it won't just result in the most comprehensive protections for health care consumers or the largest expansion of coverage since. It is also the most promising law in generations to address and reduce health insurance coverage disparities that exist in communities of color. Wanna know what that looks like?
People of color aren't stupid. Much higher percentage of African Americans and Hispanics depend on public health insurance coverage than whites, and much higher proportion of minorities remain uninsured than whites. Taking away health reform isn't an academic exercise for people of color. It would be taking away the best chance in a century to obtain health care coverage and the security that comes with it - whether through Medicaid or in the private market - for minority populations and to close that wallowing coverage gap. Mitt Romney was standing at the NAACP podium and telling the audience that he prefers to maintain that gap rather than to provide health security for all Americans
People of color aren't stupid.
Mitt Romney represents a political party that not only is demographically behind the times, but in terms of policy, too. Mr. Romney calls education the civil rights issue of our time, and yet, governors in his party are doing their level best to cut jobs of public school teachers. Mitt Romney and his party boasts the rhetoric of small government and government close to the people, yet one of Mitt Romney's favorite Republicans (who might end up as his running mate), Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, usurped the power of local government by, at his whim alone, appointing "emergency managers." And once the law was in place, Snyder proceeded to appoint these dictators to predominantly African American cities.
People of color aren't stupid, and we're watching.
Mitt Romney says he wants to solve immigration and these days goes around touting how he would put in place a comprehensive solution to immigration rather than the patchwork that the President has had to use administratively. But what he would do, he won't say. Or more accurately, what he would do, he won't say anymore. But we aren't stupid. We didn't forget his open contempt for immigrants during the Republican primaries. We didn't forget his claim that he would so force undocumented immigrants to "self-deport." And we certainly didn't forget this:
Just because Mitt Romney doesn't want people to know his position now that the DREAM Act and he president's decision not to deport people who were brought here as children are wildly popular, doesn't mean that we've forgotten. Mitt Romney can run from his own rejection and contempt of young people who are in all respects Americans but one (on paper), but we aren't stupid.
We're not stupid, and our votes count.
Mitt Romney today represents a party that loudly and proudly is looking reduce the opportunity for people of color to participate in our democracy. They are a party brazenly committed to blocking our vote (while Democrats are actively committed to protecting it), by purging voter lists and instituting voter ID laws that disproportionately burden students and minorities. Mitt Romney is in full support of these voter suppression laws that may this November end up taking away the right to vote from 1 in 4 African Americans.
Don't think that minorities aren't sick and tired of this game. Don't think for a second that we don't know what's going on. We get it. We know our value to the Republican party: as scapegoats, as useful idiots (see Allen West), and as "those people" who shouldn't be allowed to dilute the vote of the white people.
We're not stupid, and we understand the economy better than Mitt Romney thinks.
But what about the economy, you say. Why isn't Romney's message of economic growth resonating with people of color? Are immigration and health care and pesky things like access to the voting booth all we care about?
Perhaps because minorities suffer both economic and social ills at a far greater rate than our white counterparts, we intrinsically understand the linkage between the two. We know that health care is not simply a moral imperative but an economic one. People of color know that without health care, we are vulnerable to missing work more often, losing a job in a health care emergency, and being thrown out on the streets thanks to a simple act of nature. People of color know from the inside that we can't leave dead end jobs and start a business if we have no health care security for us and our families. People of color when a single mom can't take her sick daughter to the doctor, she is prone both to missing work, and even at work, not being able to give her all as she worries about the sick child.
Health care is a jobs issue. It's an economic issue. And people of color aren't stupid.
We know that young people who are Americans in all respects but on paper have the same American dream as everyone else. We know that given the opportunity, they could start the next Microsoft, or the next Google, or the next Facebook. We know that opportunities for us has to mean opportunities for those young people too, because we are Americans. We know that these young people are as much a part of the American fabric as the rest of us, and our sense of justice is offended when we are told that they don't deserve the same economic opportunities and treatment as the rest of us.
But most of all, we aren't stupid enough to think that Mitt Romney and his party for a split second has our best economic interests at heart.
Mitt Romney and his party stringently opposed Wall Street reform, after the big banks targeted the poor and minorities to sell sub prime mortgages. Mitt Romney just recently announced plans to bring those big banks back as the middle man between taxpayers and our investment in students. The only conceivable purpose of this is to reduce pell grants and student assistance that help minorities gain an equal footing and instead to waste billions of dollars each year in giveaways to banks. Mitt Romney's tax plan would give away trillions to the uber rich, at the price of raising taxes on the poor - including 2.2 million African Americans.
These are just the recent specifics. Consider in addition the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare and Medicaid, severely cut assistance for the poor, students and the needy, and to literally take away food from 236 hungry children and families to fund their massive tax giveaways to the average millionaire in America.
We know what's going on here. Mitt Romney wants to piss down our backs and tell us it's raining. He wants to take away our ability to buy a pair of shoes and then tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We're just not stupid enough to buy it.