Home 2013 races Sen. McEachin, Del. Herring Rip EW Jackson for Saying Great Society Programs...

Sen. McEachin, Del. Herring Rip EW Jackson for Saying Great Society Programs Worse than Slavery


According to EW Jackson, “slavery did not destroy the black family,” but “the programs that began in the 60s…that’s when the black family began to deteriorate…it was government that did that, trying to solve problems that only god can solve and that only we as human beings can solve.”

Other than being completely nonsensical (e.g., only god can solve AND only human beings can solve? pick one!), Jackson’s comments have been widely ridiculed for being both wildly insensitive and…well, completely nuts. Just a few minutes ago on a conference call, Senator Donald McEachin and DPVA Chair Charniele Herring yet again denounced Jackson for his lunacy. According to Sen. McEachin, “comparing welfare to slavery is…an irrational comparison,” and to “exploit” the struggle against slavery “in the name of an extreme ideological agenda” has “no place in Virginia politics.”

Unfortunately, as Del. Herring pointed out, it’s not just EW Jackson: “earlier this year, Ken Cuccinelli drew widespread condemnation for comparing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion to slavery, a comparison that Jackson publicly defended after he joined the ticket…” More broadly, in Herring’s view, what Jackson and Cuccinelli are doing is “smack[ing] everybody in the face who’s had a difficult time in life…to suggest that anybody who takes welfare to put food on their child’s table…to compare that to slavery…I’m sorry, I’m beyond words…those government programs have actually helped children, they saved lives, they made sure that children had  a fighting chance…it’s a government program that allowed me to get to college.”

Finally, Del. Herring made an important point, that this isn’t just about African Americans: “it’s not a matter of race, it’s a matter of economic circumstance…we are giving [people of all races] a hand up so they can live free, be able to prosper, have jobs and get their children educated.” Well said by Charniele Herring; are you listening, Bishop Jackson?!?

Meanwhile, I’m curious which of the Great Society programs EW Jackson thinks are comparable to slavery. The Civil Rights Act of 1964? The Voting Rights Act of 1965? Head Start (1965)? Medicare and Medicaid (1965)? The Higher Education Act of 1965? The Child Nutrition Act of 1966? The National School Lunch Act of 1968? Which of these programs, specifically, were worse than slavery, and why?

Another question for EW Jackson: given that the Atlantic slave trade resulted in the deaths of millions of Africans, as well as the tearing apart of innumerable African families (and entire villages, for that matter), how specifically was the National School Lunch Act of 1968 worse than that? And given that African slaves could be (and were!) bought and sold at the whim of their “masters,” tearing families apart on a daily basis, how specifically was Head Start worse than that?!? We’re all ears…can’t wait to hear EW Jackson’s response (yeah, right)!

  • A few key findings of the report are almost the polar opposite of what EW Jackson is saying.

    1. “While drug addiction and drug-related crime and violence are highly destructive to individuals, families, and communities, the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug-related offenses has clearly contributed to the labor market struggles of black men and the continuing decline of traditional nuclear families in the black community, with the attendant negative consequences for childrenthe War on Drugs has taken an enormous toll on black men and families…” Note that the “War on Drugs” is a big favorite of “tough on crime” Republicans. Also note that Jim Webb and others have looked extensively at this subject, and found that our criminal “justice” system is wildly flawed, discriminatory (e.g., if you’re black, you are much more likely to be arrested, sentenced, etc. for the same crime as a white person). Anyway, you certainly can’t blame liberals or the Great Society programs for this one!

    2. “Residential segregation and concentrated poverty disproportionately limit the economic opportunities of blacks.…Discrimination, information gaps, stereotypes and fears, and disparities in purchasing power all work together to perpetuate segregation, even though many Americans-minority and white-say they want to live in more diverse neighborhoods.” Again, you can’t blame government, liberals, or the Great Society for this one!

    3. “Although blacks have closed the gap in high school graduation with whites, they still lag behind whites in college completion. Policymakers perpetually decry failing schools and promote a wide variety of potential reforms, from more accountability to smaller class sizes to charter schools and vouchers. While there is no consensus on the best way to reform education, intensive programs that

    engage parents before their children are even ready to start school and support those children through high school, such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, illustrate the type of effort that may increase the educational and future economic opportunities for black children.” Again, not sure how you blame liberals or the Great Society for lack of investment in educational opportunities in this country!

    4. “Although the level of overt discrimination in the United States has diminished markedly since the 1960s, race remains a factor in determining economic opportunities and outcomes.”  Ditto to the previous three points; can’t blame LBJ or government for this one either!

    In other words, EW Jackson is just ranting and raving; there’s no evidence for anything he says, and in fact quite the opposite – if anything, it’s conservative Republican policies like the misguided “War on Drugs” (which throws huge numbers of black men in jail) that have harmed black families in this country, not Dead Start, Medicare and Medicaid, the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, the National School Lunch Act of 1968, etc. If anything, we need a lot MORE of the latter (progressive policies), a lot LESS of the former (harsh, conservative policies).