ThinkProgress reports on a Maryland Republican doing his best Jim Welker impersonation:
Appearing at a town hall meeting Wednesday night, Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) argued that Washington, D.C. should not be a state because its residents make “irresponsible decisions.” District residents have been engaged in a decades-long fight for statehood in order to gain representation in Congress and full local control of their government.
In a confrontation with marijuana legalization activist Adam Eidinger, Harris told Eidinger that he did not “think [D.C.] ought to be a state because they make irresponsible decisions like legalizing marijuana when the African-American unemployment rate is 40 percent and the African-American graduation rate from high school is 12 percent.” [Pols emphasis]
Just one small problem, Rep. Harris:
The actual unemployment rate for African Americans in Washington, D.C. is 13.6 percent. The high school graduation rate for African American students in Washington, D.C. is 59.7 percent.
In other words, not just a little wrong, but so wrong it’s ridiculous–and that’s before you get to the racial presumptions lurking just beneath. Longtime Colorado political observers will remember state Rep. Jim Welker of Loveland, whose emailed missives about “black moral poverty” earned him an early retirement from the legislature back when Republicans still enforced something like a minimal standard for public conduct. Ever since Sen. Vicki Marble survived her monologue about the public health consequences of African Americans eating so much damned chicken, nothing’s shocking anymore.
There is no credible evidence linking marijuana legalization with lower graduation rates. After legalizing marijuana, Colorado saw its unemployment rate drop.
Bottom line: never let the facts get in the way of a good racist story.