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Nevada Rancher Drawing Criticism For Suggesting Blacks Better Off During Slavery

ClivenBundyAfter drawing the admiration of conservatives across the nation for his stand against the federal government over grazing fees, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy made it a bit dicier for some folks to continue their support when he pondered during an interview whether “the Negro” was better off during slavery.

Bundy told reporters over the weekend that when he drove by a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, he saw “at least a half-dozen (Black) people sitting on the porch, they didn’t have nothing to do.”

“Because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he added in comments first reported by the New York Times and later seen on video. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.

“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.”

The statements caused some politicians to back off from their support of Bundy — Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who previously called Bundy and the militiamen protecting him “patriots,” said the statements were “racist.” Fox News television host Sean Hannity, previously a vociferous Bundy supporter, said they were “ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments.”

But Bundy gave another interview with CNN during which he didn’t back down.

“I don’t think I’m wrong,” Bundy told CNN’s Bill Weir on Thursday night. “I think I’m right.”

Bundy said he’d been simply “wondering whether (Blacks) are that much better off in the situation we’re in now.”

He said he “didn’t really mean it to compare (African-Americans’ current plight) with slavery. I meant to compare it with maybe life on the farm or life in the South, where they had some chickens and the gardens, and they had something to do.”

But Bundy stood by his general premise that Blacks once had better lives, saying right now: “They don’t have nothing to do with their children, their family unit is ruined … That’s what I was referring to, I don’t think they have the life that they should have” because of the government.

He was asked by Weir how he arrived at these generalizations.

“I feel that, because I see that,” Bundy explained.

For two decades, Bundy’s cattle have fed off of government-owned land without paying grazing fees like thousands of other ranchers. The government says he owes $1 million to the feds and armed federal agents moved to oversee the roundup of hundreds of Bundy’s cattle across half-a-million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management. But a ragtag group of armed men flocked to his ranch from around the country, drawn by his stand against the federal government. The federal government released his cattle back onto public land and the militia are still protecting him.

Bundy’s wife, Carol, on Thursday tried to defend her husband, telling the Los Angeles Times, “What he was saying is that there are lots of different forms of slavery. Welfare is one kind. It’s just another way to suppress people.”

“His statements were not a criticism of Blacks. They criticized the federal government,” Brandon Rapolla, a concrete mixer from Oregon who spent eight days at the ranch, told the Times. “I’ve met the Bundys, and that’s not who they are.”

Meanwhile, television host Stephen Colbert delivered a stinging comic diatribe against Bundy and Hannity on Comedy Central, saying the two men “go together like Ku and Klux.”

When CNN’s Weir challenged the Nevada rancher about whether he was any more or less a “welfare queen” as those who get entitlement checks—since his cattle have been feeding off the government, literally, by eating grass on public land—Bundy said, “I might be a welfare queen. But I’ll tell you I’m producing something for America and using a resource that nobody else would use or could use. I’m putting red meat on the table.”

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2 thoughts on “Nevada Rancher Drawing Criticism For Suggesting Blacks Better Off During Slavery

  1. Yes indeed. What this racist really, really, wanted to say, is, if blacks were still, or back in slavery they (whites) would be better off. Let's face it, working the African people for no pay. And he also wanted to say, it certainly would keep the country from collapsing as predicted. I say all the time, most whites sit around and glorify those good old days, and they want to hold us in slavery again, I will say this as long as I can utter a word.

  2. This racist is too stupid. Sure he must know there were nothing for the Africans to do, but work, no schools, no books, they couldn't read, they did not allow them to do anything, but work. His racist statement calls to mind, they use to talk about African people and how they smelled, not considering they did not have the nessities to take a bath or deodorants, and on top of that, they were too tired to take a bath. Think about this, African people had to sleep on dirt floors, on dry grass. On cold nights they stood around in huddles, and slept, the ground would be too cold to sleep on, after becoming overwhelmed with exhaustion, and sleep, they just felled to the cold ground, and slept on the cold ground. You think this is horrible, it was worse than that. Working in those hot fields with chains on you neck, hooks on your neck, muzzles on you mouth to keep you from eating the food that was gathered. Black people need to stop using the phrase "Off the chain", and "Off the hook", it comes from African people working in chains, and hooks, in those hot fields all day long, from sun up to sun down. There is more to it than that.

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