In comments made to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi State Representative Gene Alday said he opposed additional school funding because he feels blacks in the state already get too much help from the government and “they don’t work.” He also claimed the state, which ranks last in education, “isn’t hurting” when it comes to its schools. Alday, a Republican from the small town of Walls, opposes funding of a literacy program that will help third-grade children and hopefully improve Mississippi’s nation-worst literacy rate.
The Republican Governor of the state, Phil Bryant, has proposed bringing in more literacy coaches to the schools and setting test score standards that third-graders would need to pass before they could move on to the next grade. The governor’s proposal would lead to 40% of third-graders being held back. Democrats and school officials want the implementation of the tests to be delayed a year so they can better prepare students and teachers. Also, administrators want more funding than is being proposed so they can provide tutoring services and reading camps to assist children.
While Democrats, administrators and the Governor try to come to agreement on the best methods of helping the state’s young children learn to read, Alday just thinks this is another handout to lazy black people. He sees no reason to give more money to the state’s school system because blacks just go around shooting each other.
State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, doesn’t believe any more funding is needed. “I don’t see any schools hurting,” he said.
But then he went on to say that Mississippi “has a lot of bad school districts. The people are electing superintendents that don’t know anything about education.”
The former mayor of Walls (population 1,248) went on to say, “I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.”
He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”
After Alday’s comments were published in the Clarion-Ledger Sunday, the paper immediately released an editorial calling for the lawmaker’s resignation, calling his comments “reprehensible” and “racist.” The paper also advised voters to remember to send Alday packing in either August (the GOP primary) or November if Alday refuses to step down. The Clarion-Ledger also demanded Alday publicly apologize for his remarks.
Alday is essentially pushing the “welfare queen” myth that President Ronald Reagan promoted decades ago. He is using the tried and true method of racializing social programs such as food stamps in order to appeal to white conservatives, justifying their stereotypical views of African-Americans. It is even more disgusting and reprehensible now than when Reagan did it, considering that we as a society should have moved on from such race-baiting rhetoric, especially from elected leaders. This is your party, GOP. This is what you fostered in your efforts to delegitimatize the current President of the United States.