Republicans calling out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for plan to use infrastructure funding to address ‘racist roadways’

by mcardinal

Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News 



Republicans are pushing back against Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s assertion that the roadways in the United States are inherently racist. 

According to Fox News, CNN’s April Ryan put a question to Buttigieg on Monday, asking “can you give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into roadways?” 

The CNN correspondent was referencing an interview from April of this year when Buttigieg told The Grio that “there is racism physically built into some of our highways.”

“I’m still surprised that had 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 that would have been, in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” Buttigieg responded during the press briefing Monday. 

He added, “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 they are reconnecting communities that billion dollars is something we want to get to work right away putting to work.”

This prompted backlash from Republicans, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who didn’t pull any punches when responding to Buttigieg’s comments:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) chimed in tweeting, “The roads are racist. We must get rid of roads,” in his own tweet.

Republicans, and particularly conservatives, have been concerned for some years about the overuse of the term “racist,” which is often bandied about as a blanket accusation against those who object to the progressive agenda. 

Fundamentally speaking, racism is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race,” or “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.” 

Tucker Carlson took to his show to address Buttigieg’s comments as well:

Here we have news, according to the Department of Transportation secretary, overpasses in New York were designed to keep buses of Black and Puerto Rican kids from getting to the beach. And here’s the amazing part, those very same overpasses somehow allowed buses full of white kids to get through. How does that work?!

20th century historian Stephen Petrus took more issue with the inaccurate history Buttigieg cited in his comments. In a Twitter thread he pointed out that in the 1920’s, when the roadways in question were built, they were built as parkways not expressways, with low bridges to enhance viewing pleasure, not to divide races.

Still other’s noted that even if there was truth to the claim that some roadways were originally built to divide races, throwing billions of dollars to change it nearly a century later when demographics have changed doesn’t make any sense.