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Karen Finney

“Left unchecked or unchallenged our biases, bigotry or stereotypes take over our better judgment. People – in Trayvon Martin’s case a teenager walking home from the store – are dehumanized into some form of ‘other’ unworthy of respect, and it’s justified as a way to make people some kind of separate and unequal status.

So, when Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that, quote, “really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. They have no habit of I do this and you give me cash, unless it’s illegal,” or Rick Santorum says, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives easier,” or Rush Limbaugh calls a presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama a magic negro, or Mitt Romney says nothing at all, the effect is dangerous, because they reinforce and validate old stereotypes that associate the poor and welfare as criminal behavior with African-Americans and people of color, calling us lazy, undeserving recipients of public assistance. In the case of Trayvon, those festering stereotypes had lethal consequence.”