Ted Nugent clearly does not shy away from broaching potentially inflammatory racial topics.
In a Feb. 20 column written for ultra-conservative WorldNetDaily, the controversial conservative activist and proud National Rifle Association board member claims that, while he himself "honors blacks" every day, President Obama and his Democratic party are engineering the destruction of black America:
With February being Black History Month, historians looking back at this timeframe studying black Americans will judge it as a complete and total disaster. And they won’t blame President Bush.
Barack Obama, the guy who received roughly 93 percent of black American votes, is the clear and present engineer of the destruction of black America.
Black Americans, Nugent also writes, need to realize that "dirty Democrat politicians are their true enemy, not their salvation."
Nugent backs up his argument with a series of statistics on what he insists are the president's destructive "economic and social policies": The unemployment rate for adult black Americans, he writes, is twice that of white Americans; teenage black unemployment is 40 percent; the high school dropout rate for black Americans in some inner cities is above 50 percent. He also cites the "epidemic" of black-on-black violence and claims that "75 percent of black kids are now raised in a single-parent household."
As Nugent does not provide sources for his facts, its difficult to evaluate some of them. The stats about unemployment are correct, according to 2011 figures from the Labor Department. But sources differ on single-parent numbers, with The Annie E. Casey Foundation citing 69 percent. While Nugent does not state which cities' dropout rates he's referring to, the U.S. Department of Education claimed that 40 percent of black students dropped out nationwide during the 2010-2011 academic year.
MSNBC's Morgan Whitaker points out that, although Nugent may have at least some of his facts straight, "there’s ample evidence" to support the idea that President Obama has helped black America, rather than hurt it.
"The president has recently announced a series of proposals designed to help minority communities, including expanding access to pre-school and making higher education more affordable," writes Whitaker. "He’s also pushing to increase pay for those earning a minimum wage, of which African-Americans are a disproportionately large group. Don’t forget Obama’s support for the Voting Rights Act, which Republicans are actively trying to dismantle."
Nugent has recently been on something of a tear, in terms of offending the African-American community. Last April, he described himself as a "black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally." A few months later, he mused whether the South should have won the Civil War after all. Then, in January, he compared gun owners to Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks.
Apparently not yet ready or willing to curb his offensive, racially charged statements, the musician ends his Feb. 20 op-ed by promoting his new tour, bewilderingly named "Ted Nugent Black Power 2013." He had also teased this name last week for his more than 162,000 Twitter followers:
SoulMusic lovers celebrate the TedNugent BlackPower rockout 2013! FunkBrothers live!
— Ted Nugent (@TedNugent) February 16, 2013