CommunityPam's House Blend

Little Ricky is afraid of those urban darkies

“You know you wouldn’t send your child into parts of east Wilmington at 11 o’clock at night alone if they’re 5 years old. But when you sit a child down at a computer chat room, you’re doing pretty much the same thing to their mind. It’s a very dangerous place. Many parents don’t realize that.”

— Rick Santorum, comparing a black neighborhood in Delaware to the dangers of the “internets”

Over at Attytood, a sharp eye caught Little Ricky making an ass of himself again. Man-on-Dog family man revealed his worry about those other folks, the darkies — who, by the way, probably all look alike to him too — since they must all be perpetrating violent crimes (as if none are the victims). I’m lifting a lot of the post, because it’s great, but check out the rest.

…no, no one would let their 5-year-old outside either a) at 11 o’ clock or b) in a bad neighborhood. Duh… it’s not safe to let a 5-year-old cross a suburban street at noon. We don’t know any parents who let their 5-year-olds on the Internet, either.

But that first sentence…the way he said it. We’re not experts on the lay of the land in Wilmington, but it didn’t take too much Googling to confirm that East Wilmington is, ahem, the black neighborhood. And so he tells his audience that “you” wouldn’t send “your” kid there at night. Apparently, he felt pretty confident that no one in his audience, perish the thought, might actually be trying to raise his or her own child there.

Like so many of his ilk, Santorum seems to live in a world where “you” and “yours” are white suburbanites who can afford a fast computer and an Internet provider.

And so there’s nothing worse, apparently, than the idea that their Dell PC might be making their suburban sanctuary as dangerous as some neighborhoods already are, not just at 11 p.m. but when school lets out in the afternoon, and when bullets have been known to fly.

Rick Santorum isn’t the senator for East Wilmington. But he does represent dozens of neighborhoods much like it, from Mantua or Fairhill here in Philly to dozens of other communities like them across Pennsylvania. And it’s true that he drops by from time to time, to talk up “compassionate conservatism” or rarely, to dole out small federal grants through a small network of GOP black ministers and the like. But he just doesn’t sound as worried about their kids, ducking bullets, as “your” kids in chat rooms.

Because each night it’s back to his more-than $757,000 home in the bedroom community of Leesburg, Va., where he looks out at his wealthy neighbors and ponders social problems — not the problems of people like us, but the problems of people like “you.”

Thanks to House Blender oddjob for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding