Most likely you are familiar with Cliven Bundy and his views on race. Just is case you're not here are his comments on "the negro" from the New York Times article.
"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do.
I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Yeah, ill informed and just plain wrong. Racist, if you will.
But today Talking Points Memo has a story about comments he made about Mexicans and the comments are surprisingly sympathetic. He said,
"I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders," he says.
"But they're here and they're people. I worked side-by-side a lot of them. Don't tell me they don't work, and don't tell me they don't pay taxes. And don't tell me they don't have better family structures than most of us white people.
When you see those Mexican families, they're together. They picnic together. They're spending their time together," he said. "I'll tell you, in my way of thinking, they're awful nice people. We need to have those people join us and be with us."
You really couldn't ask for a better example of how prejudice works when you look at these two statements. His take on African Americans is solely based on driving through a neighborhood in North Las Vegas. He witnesses life in a lower income area in the city. He sees people loitering, which you often do in a depressed neighborhood. He makes incorrect assumptions because he has no real knowledge of what life is like for the people in this neighborhood he is hurrying through. To him they aren't people, to him they are a problem that needs a solution and his solution comes from ignorance.
His take on Mexican immigrants is a complete 180. He sees them as human and sympathizes with their situation. Why? Because he works, eats and lives with them. They become more than a problem created by the 24 hour news cycle.
It's such a simple lesson here, so obvious. What is unfortunate is that these disconnects like he displays with his backwards ideas about African Americans are probably getting worse overall in our country. Our cities are more divided between the haves and have nots than they have been in a long time. There is a push to re-segregate schools and a move away from affirmative action. As we get further apart attitudes like Clive Bundy's will only become more common.