"I grew up probably in the same situation as you guys," Rick Scott said yesterday while addressing a group of state legislators. "I started school in public housing. My dad had a sixth-grade education."
That would have been fine if he was speaking in front of a group of lawmakers who started school in public housing and had fathers with sixth-grade educations, but instead he was speaking to a group of black legislators. The inference that all African-Americans grew up poor understandably has some upset.
"He assumed that everyone [in the room] was poor and that can only be because you're black," Rep. Betty Reed of Tampa told the Times/Herald.
"Some of us might be from the projects, but we come from all spectrums of life," said Rep. Joe Gibbons of Hallandale Beach.
Perhaps Scott's choice of words might have been excused had he not taken every opportunity in the rest of the meeting to disagree with the black caucus.
The Times/Herald reports Scott refused to compromise on his plans to "end state support for two historically black colleges, to abolish a state office that helps minority-owned businesses get state contracts and to lower unemployment benefits and health care funding for the poor."
He also refused to appoint more minority judges and officials, saying, "If you think I'm going to pick someone who's different from my judicial philosophy, it's not going to happen."
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Perhaps Scott thought his comments wouldn't be so controversial considering author Toni Morrison deemed President Bill Clinton America's first black President, writing that Clinton was "blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas."
Perhaps Scott thinks he's Florida's first black governor, who knows?
Of course, Morrison was a bit premature in her appraisal, but at least Clinton actually made it a point to appoint black leaders, and listen to and compromise with the community.