Pelosi's Questionable Take on the Census Citizenship Question

By Dan Cadman on July 11, 2019

Sometimes you just can't make things up that sound as goofy as what actually comes out of the mouths of presumably seasoned politicians.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the presidency and long-time politician with decades of service in the California congressional delegation to the House of Representatives, said at an event in San Francisco the other day that the only reason President Trump wants to insert a question in the decennial census asking about citizenship is because his goal is to "make America white again". 

In case you missed it, Pelosi is white, exceedingly wealthy, and lives in a tony gated (and walled) community in San Francisco that not just any deplorable off the street can gain access to. And, of course, as a member of Congress (not to mention being Speaker), she lives a life of professional as well as personal privilege: permanently assigned police security, chauffeurs, a large staff, elevators and dining rooms and other Congressional facilities for "members only"—you name it.

One suspects that this outburst of "wokism" is because she's getting hammered from the left wing of her party's congressional caucus after cutting a deal on a border funding bill that wasn't to their liking. She's been engaged in some fairly sharp snarking back and forth with the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ever since the border bill vote and it seems clear, at least to me, that she's trying desperately to reestablish her progressive bonafides, onion-skin thin though they may be.

But, however ironic her comments are, given her elitist lifestyle bubble—the one that protects her from personally having to deal with the multiple problems that stem from many progressive ideas and policies (including most especially this notion that uncontrolled illegal immigration isn't a problem with decades-spanning consequences)—the most offensive thing about the remark is what it implies.

Pelosi is somehow suggesting that Americans of all hues somehow don't have any interest in knowing, well, exactly how many Americans live in the United States of America.  

That seems like a no-brainer to me. Black Americans, and Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans: all of them also have an equal stake in the future of our country. Why wouldn't they want to know, empirically, what the breakdown of citizens and aliens in our society is?  

Turns out that they would, according to a Harvard University Center for American Political Studies/Harris poll, which found that two-thirds of all voters, regardless of party or color or ethnic background, support the question. 

Remember when some people used to say that African Americans, or Hispanic Americans, or Asian Americans wouldn't want to be law enforcement officers? Looking back on it, that sounds pretty patronizing doesn't it? It's exactly the same kind of tone deafness that the Speaker has exhibited in speaking for others' attitudes toward the census citizenship question.

Pelosi's comment looks increasingly not only like a gaffe, but one with some questionable and patronizing attitudes toward race and ethnicity of its own.  


Topics: Politics