A new, unedited version of comments by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has emerged, and it sheds some light on the context of his remarks, universally condemned on Thursday as horrifically racist.
The 67-year-old Bundy, battling the U.S. government after federal agents stormed his ranch to confiscate his cattle in a dispute over grazing fees, said far more than what appeared in the New York Times and most other news accounts. While his grammar is pretty bad -- and his use of "negro" and "colored" considered politically incorrect (although they were both once preferred terms chosen by blacks) -- he actually was making a larger point, not simply deriding blacks.
In a YouTube video, he is filmed already in mid-sentence.
... and so what I've testified to you -- I was in the Watts riot, I seen the beginning fire and I seen that last fire. What I seen is civil disturbance. People are not happy, people are thinking they don't have their freedoms, they didn't have these things, and they didn't have them.
We've progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don't want to go back. We sure don't want the colored people to go back to that point. We sure don't want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference right now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies, and do it in a peaceful way.
Those comments appear to change the context of the next section, which was quoted in the New York Times. One clear point the rancher made: America has progressed since the 1965 race riots and "we sure don't want to go back."
Here are the heavily quoted comments from Bundy that followed the above section edited out by most news organizations.
Let me tell, talk to you about the Mexicans, and these are just things I know about the negroes. I want to tell you one more thing I know about the negro. When I go, went, go to Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and I would see these little government houses, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids -- and there's always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch. They didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
And because they were basically on government subsidy -- so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never, they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered are they were better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things? Or are they better off under government subsidy?
You know they didn’t get more freedom, they got less freedom -- they got less family life, and their happiness -- you could see it in their faces -- they wasn't happy sitting on that concrete sidewalk. Down there they was probably growing their turnips -- so that’s all government, that’s not freedom.
But Bundy went on after saying that -- and again, his comments were edited out of most reports.
Now, let me talk about the Spanish people. You know, I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders. But they’re here and they’re people -- and I’ve worked side by side a lot of them.
Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes. And don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people. When you see those Mexican families, they’re together, they picnic together, they’re spending their time together, and I’ll tell you in my way of thinking they’re awful nice people. And we need to have those people join us and be with us not, not come to our party.
So, Bundy thinks Hispanics are hard-working family people, and laments the current plight of American blacks under the federal welfare system while saying there has been much progress and that "we sure don't want to go back." As always, there's more to the story than what the New York Times says.