These are the remarks, as near as I can tell:
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy said over the weekend, according to the Times. “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.”Right off the bat - in terms of the guy trying to gain support for his cause, which had nothing to do with race, this was a real stupid move. I suppose you can broadly draw the line from 'he was mangling with the federal government, and he's talking about government's negative impact, so...' but really, if his goal was to keep a spotlight on the particular issue he's involved in, he should have just kept quiet.
Now, if he's more interested in using his sudden bit of public spotlight to go after the federal government? ... Still not a good move. Because now everyone isn't talking about the federal government, but his comments about race. As near as I can tell, Bundy didn't want to talk about racial issues, and well, now he is. So in terms of skillful use of the media? Yeah, this was a stupid move.
And was it racist?
Before I give my analysis, I want to ask any regular reader here - give your own analysis if you're willing. But don't just tell me 'it was racist' or 'it was not racist'. Pick through the quote. Tell me why it was or wasn't racist in specific terms.
Were the broad generalities racist? Associating blacks with abortion, government subsidized living, etc?
The slavery allusions? 'Maybe they were better off as slaves.'?
I'm hoping someone gives their input in either direction, because while I have my opinion, I'm really interested in how others process this kind of thing when they encounter it. I'll write a bit more on it after I hopefully get some results.
Edit: Additional context available here: http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/unedited-tape-bundy-emerges-sheds-light-racist-remarks