Rafael Cruz: The ‘average black’ doesn’t understand why the minimum wage is bad
Conservative activist Rafael Cruz argued that African-Americans need to be “educated” to oppose minimum wage laws, citing the work of a Black conservative member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Buzzfeed reported.
“Jason Riley said in an interview, Did you know before we had minimum wage laws, Black unemployment and white unemployment were the same? If we increase the minimum wage, Black unemployment will skyrocket,” Cruz said during a speech to the Western Williamson County Republican Club in Texas last month. “See, he understands it, but the average Black does not.”
Riley and other conservatives have argued for years that minimum wage laws disproportionately affect the Black community. In 2011, Riley wrote that they “remain politically popular, especially among liberals enamored of wealth redistribution schemes.”
More recently, Riley criticized Attorney General Eric Holder in connection to the federal investigation into the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last month, saying Holder should tell people protesting against police there to “pull up their pants and finish school.”
After repeating a common conservative misrepresentation of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s views, Cruz recounted a conversation he had with a Black pastor in Bakersfield, California, during which he mentioned that Republicans favored the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“I said, as a matter of fact, ‘Did you know that civil rights legislation was passed by Republicans? It was passed by a Republican Senate under the threat of a filibuster by the Democrats,'” Cruz told the audience. “[He said] ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.’ And then I said, ‘Did you know that every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South?’ ‘Oh I didn’t know that.’ You know, they need to be educated.”
Cruz did not mention that one Democratic senator who opposed the bill, Strom Thurmond, switched sides and became a longtime Republican. Cruz also failed to mention that, according to an analysis by Harry J. Enten in The Guardian last year, no southern Republicans voted for the bill, while Democratic opposition to it was concentrated in party members from former Confederate states.
“It seems to me that minorities have a pretty good idea of what they are doing when joining the Democratic party,” Enten wrote. “They recognize that the Democratic party of today looks and sounds a lot more like the Democratic party of the North that with near unity passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 than the southern Democrats of the era who blocked it, and today would, like Strom Thurmond, likely be Republicans.”
Cruz’s speech, as posted online, can be seen in its entirety below.