Republicans have gotten the unearned reputation of being the party of racists. But if the people who claim to be on the side of disenfranchised blacks would actually stop to listen to the left’s leaders, they would realize that racism can come from some unlikely sources.

Consider Al Sharpton’s appearance on Meet the Press this Sunday. Sharpton never misses the opportunity to appear in front of the cameras, and he was in rare form for this sitdown with Chuck Todd. Sharpton said that he supported bills for jobs and infrastructure development in black communities, claiming it was the only answer for what Todd characterized as “economic hopelessness.”

Ok, that’s all well and good, but it was what he said afterward that raised my eyebrow. “You can’t kill a jobs bill and infrastructure,” Sharpton insisted, “and then tell men to take care of their families. You can’t have it both ways.”

So there you have it, in clearer terms than the left is usually willing to put it. Sharpton believes – as do all ideologues in his camp – that black men will not take care of their families unless the government gives them a helping hand. They just won’t.

That doesn’t seem racist to anyone else?

Liberals like Sharpton have long perpetuated a myth that has doomed black Americans to a life of dependency. That myth says that black people have only made progress due to the liberal policies enacted over the last 50 years or so. Before then, blacks were floundering, unable to find an economic foothold in racist white America. But a glance at the facts makes this a hard pill to swallow.

Between 1940 and 1960, the black poverty rate fell from 87 percent to 47 percent. In just 20 years, absent of any of the liberal programs that have been put in place since, American blacks made tremendous economic strides. Jim Crow laws were put to bed, civil rights laws were put into action, and black America continued to fight out from under the abhorrent history of slavery and racism that stained the nation for so long.

All good, right? Except the left wasn’t satisfied with merely evening out the playing field. To liberals, the only acceptable answer was to make restitution for all those years of racism. This restitution came in the form of affirmative action, welfare, and other policies designed to give the black man a helping hand. We’re sorry, said America’s white people. Can you ever forgive us?

Well, let’s see what those policies have accomplished in the 54 years since 1960. The poverty rate for blacks, as of 2010, is 27.4 percent. That’s roughly the same as it was in 1980, meaning it has come to a grinding halt for the last 30 years!

If you sat down right now and started reading the stories of black Americans who lifted themselves out of poverty to become rich, powerful, and influential, it would take you several lifetimes to get through them all. They didn’t need a jobs bill. They didn’t need entitlements. They needed someone to tell them that they had greatness inside them. If black America listened more to the Thomas Sowells and Ben Carsons of the world than the Al Sharptons, we wouldn’t be in the jam we’re in now.