Bundy on slavery comments: I'm wondering if they're better off - WNEM TV 5

Bundy on slavery comments: I'm wondering if they're better off

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On April 24, 2014, Cliven Bundy talks to the media and his supporters about comments about slavery and African-Americans that were quoted in the New York Times. (FOX5) On April 24, 2014, Cliven Bundy talks to the media and his supporters about comments about slavery and African-Americans that were quoted in the New York Times. (FOX5)
BUNKERVILLE, NV (FOX5) -

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy took to a podium at his Bunkerville ranch Thursday afternoon to defend comments he made about slavery and African-Americans over the weekend.

Bundy attracted media attention for his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing on federal land and his refusal to pay $1 million in grazing fees the government says he owes.

The comments, which were posted on the website Bambuser and also quoted in an article by the New York Times, ignited a firestorm.

The Times quoted Bundy as saying, while relating a story about a drive through North Las Vegas, "They abort their young children. They put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."

On Thursday, the media again crowded around a makeshift stage - a flatbed trailer with a red-white-and-blue-draped lectern on it - where Bundy defended his comments.

"Do you really think African-Americans would be better off as slaves?" a reporter asked Bundy at the start of the press conference.

"The question is, are they slaves the way they are?" Bundy replied. "Slaves to charity and government-subsidized homes. Are they slaves when their daughters are having abortions [and] their sons are in prisons?"

Bundy then told a story about driving through a black community in Las Vegas about 40 years ago - older people standing on the sidewalk and children playing around.

"I could see sadness on those old people's face," Bundy said. "I don't think they were happy with their government-subsidy home. They looked to me like they were slaves."

Bundy explained that he was only wondering whether African-Americans are better off today than during slavery, not that they should be enslaved, when he made the comments that were quoted in the Times.

"I'm wondering, are they better off with their young women aborting their children?" Bundy said. "Are they better off with their young men in prison? Are they better off with the older people on the sidewalks in front of their government-issued homes with a few children. Are they better off? Are they happier than they were when they were in the South, in front of their homes with their chickens and their gardens, and their children around them and their man having something to do?"

Bundy said anyone who believes he is about slavery is wrong, but he's glad that his comments have started a discussion about the topic.

"It gives America the opportunity to discuss this," Bundy said. "This thing about slavery and Negroes and government subsidies, and the slavery they put people in when they get them - that needs to be discussed. America's ready to discuss it. Let's do it."

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