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Importance of Vote 2018: GOP Congressman says Black folks have ‘entitlement mentality’ and see themselves as victims

Minnesota

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 7/23/2018, 2:21 p.m.
This is the kind of rhetoric that some Republicans openly spit, and it is...

This is the kind of rhetoric that some Republicans openly spit, and it is a viewpoint that fuels racism. Republican Rep. Jason Lewis has a long history of racist rhetoric about African-Americans, pushing claims of a “racial war” by Blacks on whites and arguing that violence regularly occurs at Black gatherings. He also frequently claims that Black people have an “entitlement mentality” and view themselves as victims, reports ABC News. Lewis made those comments on “The Jason Lewis Show,” a syndicated radio program he hosted from 2009 until 2014 with the tagline “America’s Mr. Right.” CNN’s KFile obtained five months of audio from Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Brodkorb, who is currently a columnist for the MinnPost and works in public affairs, initially reported on several comments from Lewis in 2016. KFile contacted Brodkorb to request the raw audio files of Lewis’ show, which he provided. CNN's KFile reported on Wednesday (July 18) that Lewis made a large number of deeply misogynistic comments on the show, including one monologue in which he lamented not being able to call women “sluts” anymore. Narrowly elected to represent Minnesota’s 2nd District in 2016, Lewis is now considered one of the most endangered House Republicans in the midterm election. CNN rates the race as a “toss up,” the most competitive designation. In a statement to CNN on Friday, Lewis’ office said highlighting the congressman’s past statements amounted to “an orchestrated attempt at making anyone who supports reducing illegitimacy or crime in minority communities, Voter ID laws and work requirements for public assistance back off their public policy positions.” On his radio show in 2012, Lewis, who has described himself as libertarian Republican, regularly expressed a belief that African-Americans had an “entitlement mentality,” leading to violence in the community. “"There's a cultural problem in the African-American community that is leading to this. The entitlement mentality,” Lewis said in December 2012. “You're a victim. It’s OK to hate women, beat up women. It’s OK to hate gays. All this, we’re just sort of feeding this to people who are very lost because of the breakdown of society to begin with.” That same month, Lewis added the welfare state has in some ways been worse for the Black community than Jim Crow, calling Black people “addicted” to government programs. There are people like Lewis running for re-election and first-time election all across the country. And keeping these kind of people away from governing is a prime example of why it’s important to vote and make your voice matter.