Can inanimate objects be racist? According to the Biden administration, yes. Roads and highways can be racists and must be removed if they are.
On Monday, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg clearly said that some of our roads are indeed racist. In a news conference to discuss the infrastructure bill, one reporter asked Buttigieg about the racism in American roadways and what was going to be done about it.
“And also, can you give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into the roadways as you talked to The Grio earlier when you broke that information with us? Can you talk to us about how that could be deconstructed?” the reporter asked.
The secretary of transportation confirmed that the roads are indeed racist and that the solution will be to tear them down.
“I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a black neighborhood or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach or it would’ve been in New York was designed too low for it to pass by,” Buttigieg said.
This comment was a reference to Robert Caro’s book, “The Power Broker,” about Robert Moses (who designed and built most of New York City’s highways) in which Caro mentioned that Moses instructed that some of the overpasses on the route to a Long Island beach should be made too low for buses to go under.
This would have meant that the lower classes at the time, who didn’t own cars, would have had a more difficult time getting to the beach, thus it was labeled as a racist move on Moses’ part. According to Caro, Moses was trying to restrict black Americans and Hispanics from going to the beach.
However, as The Washington Post reported, this claim has been disputed.
“Caro is wrong. Arnold Vollmer, the landscape architect who was in charge of design for the bridges, said the height was due to cost,” one historian from Columbia University explained to the Post. “Also, you can still get to Jones Beach by train and bus, as you always could.”
As the Post pointed out, Buttigieg really should have checked his facts before he went and made the sweeping claim that roads are racist.
But regardless of the facts, Buttigieg seems to be committed to the idea of eliminating racism in our roadways. How? By tearing them down. Roads can’t be racist if they don’t exist anymore.
“I don’t think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality, and I think we have everything to gain by acknowledging it and then dealing with it, which is why the reconnecting communities, that billion dollars, is something we want to get to work right away putting to work,” he said.
When Buttigieg says that they are “reconnecting communities” with a billion dollars laid out in Biden’s infrastructure bill, that “reconnection” means tearing down.
This sort of planning has already been underway in Syracuse, New York, where a large portion of I-81 may be torn out and replaced with an “urban boulevard,” according to Freight Waves. Why? It’s because I-81 is supposedly racist, The Guardian noted.
In April, the Department of Transportation invoked the Civil Rights Act to halt the widening of Interstate 45 near Houston. Politico reported that the DOT paused the project after activists argued that the construction would displace black and Hispanic communities “including schools, places of worship and more than 1,000 homes and businesses.”
Buttigieg, unsurprisingly, faced a barrage of social media criticism after his comments.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas jumped at the opportunity to ridicule the secretary of transportation.
“The roads are racist. We must get rid of the roads,” he tweeted.
The roads are racist.
We must get rid of roads. https://t.co/nde3mJHn37
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 8, 2021
He continued to poke fun at Buttigieg’s comments pertaining to Hispanics, tweeting, “You see, we Hispanics are very, very tall, and we need rich, woke Dems to raise the bridges for us. Without Pete’s condescending help, there’s no way we can get to the beach.”
You see, we Hispanics are very, very tall, and we need rich, woke Dems to raise the bridges for us.
Without Pete’s condescending help, there’s no way we can get to the beach…. https://t.co/3B5j9UvvGV
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 8, 2021
Others followed Cruz’s lead.
“Can’t you just FEEL the racism when you drive on some of these roads? I know I can,” the New York Post reported one radio host saying.
However, this is all just a ploy. It doesn’t matter whether roads are (or even can be) actually racist or not. This is simply a platform that Buttigieg is using to stay relevant.
He wants to make it clear that he is on board with the left’s battle against racism, both existent and non-existent. The DOT will do its part in combating racism.
“This is not just a matter of halfway accidental neglect. We’re talking about some really intentional decisions that happened, and a lot of them happened with federal dollars,” Buttigieg said, Politico reported.
Sure, some of the roads in this country may have been built by racists. In the 1950s, when the highway system was being built, there was a displacement of communities that the roads were built through. There have been many academic papers that have looked at the history of highway projects in America and how they affected communities.
But what Buttigieg is doing is simply infusing identity politics into his position in order to stay relevant. Being the secretary of the Department of Transportation is not the flashiest job. But Buttigieg needs to stay in the spotlight if he wants a shot at being the Democratic presidential nominee for 2024.
He needs to show that, even though he is just dealing with the dry side of transportation, he can still uphold the left’s goals of making every policy issue an issue of race and identity.
However, this will hurt Americans. While gas prices are rising, ships sit at port unable to unload, and inflation goes through the roof, the Biden administration is wanting to tear down the very roads that our economy depends on because they are “racist.” Buttigieg’s vie for relevance could deeply hurt the American people.
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