Bush not so good with the whole diversity thing these days

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Not that we expect former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to spend his presidential politickin' days headlining Black Lives Matter rallies and marching for equal pay, but he's definitely been asserting his tendency toward (how shall we put this?) ethnocentricity in recent days.

In an interview that will air Friday on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel 124, according to ABC News, Bush told an interviewer he doesn't think the Washington Redskins should change their name, despite the derogatory connotations of the team name.

"I don’t find it offensive," he said. "Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”

That's funny. We can recall one or two (or a few thousand) people of Native American descent who find the mascot "deeply offensive," as the Washington Post put it, and have held petition drives, telephone campaigns and protest rallies over the matter in the past year.

Last week, Bush called multiculturalism the "wrong approach" for the U.S. Admittedly, his comment was more nuanced than it sounds. He meant "multiculturalism" in a more academic sense — not the manner in which we colloquially employ the term, he later explained, adding he has no problem with pluralism (say, someone from Thailand or India or Mexico maintaining aspects of their culture in the U.S.), and stressed the U.S. needs to "embrace a set of shared values," whatever those are.

Still, given how things politicians say are carved apart and served up to the general public, it might have been wise to phrase that a little differently.

Then there were a few comments on black people and "free stuff" that might be, well, a tad off-putting to some.

Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore took Bush to task on those remarks Monday night.

Bush was asked how he would get African-Americans to vote for him.

"Our message is one of hope and aspiration," he said. "It isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff."

"What?" Wilmore said. "Black people vote so they can get free stuff? The only time black people would have voted for free stuff would have been for Abraham Lincoln, when the stuff they wanted to be free was themselves."

Bush subsequently "doubled down," as Wilmore put it, in a Fox news interview in which he re-espoused his association of black voters with handouts (an association that has been debunked multiple times).

"We need to make our case to African-American voters, and all voters, that an aspirational message fixing a few complex things will allow people to rise up," Bush said. "That's what people want. They don't want free stuff."

Wilmore seemed astonished.

"This guy has a lot of nerve accusing black voters of wanting free stuff when this country was built on the backs of free black labor, right? And if memory serves, white Southerners had quite an appetite for free stuff, too."

Bush comment's could have been off the cuff or taken out of context, Wilmore said, had Bush not addressed the issue of race (and gender, and sexual orientation) rather insensitively in his 1996 book, Profiles in Character

"Since the 1960s, the politics of victimization has steadily intensified. Being a victim gives rise to certain entitlements, benefits and preferences in society. Many of the modern victim movements — the gay rights movement, the feminist movement, the black empowerment movement — have attempted to get people to view themselves viewed as a smaller group deserving of something from society."

"This is not a gaffe," WIlmore said. "This is how Jeb Bush really feels. He things the systemic oppression of black people by white America is a black strategy."

This all could be bad for Bush, but it is only primary season, a time in which such comments actually appeal to the set of voters he's targeting.

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