09/26/2013 05:47 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2013

'You Know What Ah Miss? Ah Miss That Soft, Sweet Singin"

When I was a student in college, I had the good fortune to study with Professor Clarence Walker, teacher of American History and African-American Religion. Professor Walker had a memorable cartoon on his office door: Two white southern gentlemen in plantation garb, recline on a porch while dark colored futuristic robots pick cotton. One gentleman turns to the other and says, "You know what Ah miss? Ah miss the soft, sweet, singin'."

How else to explain the behavior of many House Republicans (and some Democrats these last few years? It seems that many in Congress yearn for the good ol' days of the Southern caste system -- a small wealthy plutocracy that rules over a vast white peasantry, holding on to their power by stoking the anger of the white working class by demonizing and belittling African-Americans. The so-called New South of innovation, technology and education lasted for one presidential term -- that of Jimmy Carter. With the age of Ronald Reagan, we enjoyed the joyful redemption of blood soaked Philadelphia, Miss; the stories of "young bucks buying T-bone steaks," and "welfare queens driving Cadillacs."

How else to explain the decision by the House to eliminate billions from SNAP, even as poverty and hunger are increasing in America? The perception that SNAP mostly assists Black Americans is wrong -- we know that the majority of recipients are elderly, young, or single Whites. Yet it is the perception that lazy Blacks are the primary recipients is driving this Age of Southern Regression. Witness the chutzpah of one Republican Southern congressman who had the temerity to cite the Book of Genesis as his rationale for cutting food stamps for the poor. The Garden of Eden story, said ironically named Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla) was meant to teach us of the "blessing of hard work" and therefore helping the starving is preventing them from enjoying that God- given blessing.

I understand that Rep Southerland and his colleagues yearn for the good old days --but keep your cotton pickin' hands off MY Bible.