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August 14, 2014 12:00 PM “Color-Blind” or Blinded by Race?

By Ed Kilgore

As events continue to unfold in Ferguson, some very telling reactions are emerging. One of particular importance (via Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch) is from the uninhibited Rep. Steve King of Iowa, which speaks volumes about conservative claims of being “color-blind:”

Rep. Steve King appeared on Newsmax TV yesterday, where host J.D. Hayworth asked him about the rising tensions in Ferguson, Missouri and the call by members of the Congressional Black Caucus for the Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation because of concerns about a history of racial profiling by the local police department.
King, of course, saw no need for such an investigation, claiming that these members of the CBC are basically “saying don’t enforce the law,” linking the issue to the sporadic looting and vandalism that has taken place by asserting that there is no need to racially profile those responsible for those actions because they are all black.
“This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”

And here’s the inevitable kicker:

“I just reject race-based politics, identity politics” King concluded. “I think we’re all God’s children. We all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior.”

So if certain of “God’s children” happen to prone to behaviors that annoy people like King, then they’re getting what’s coming to them, right? Race has nothing to do with it.

Before anyone objects to me singling out Steve King as an isolated crank, let’s remember this man is vastly influential in the U.S. House of Representatives and the nationally powerful Iowa Republican Party. Would-be presidents regularly and eagerly seek him out and figuratively kiss his ring. I’d love to hear Rand Paul—you know, the Republican leader engaged in all that wonderful African-American “outreach”—asked about King’s comments on Ferguson

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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