As the election primaries continue barreling toward a predictable conclusion, it is only a matter of time before someone looks to garner the vote of the mainstream populous on matters of national solvency, employment and programs that are erroneously labeled as entitlement. During this time of year, it is not unheard of to ear-hustle upon the political conversations of the common man, whether in route to work, school or simply running daily errands.
For me, it is an unintended case study in demographics, class and race. Race relations being as they are in this country, only Black and Brown folks seem to be comfortable speaking aloud in public (and around White folks) on matters of race as it relates to welfare, unemployment and social security checks.
“Well, my social security check is only $X,” said an elderly black woman on the 2 train. “I don’t know how I’ll get by. I’ve been working hard all my life but all some of these “n-words” do is have babies and collect checks.” “Yeah, it’s unbelievable…” responded a middle aged Nuyorican woman wearing medical scrubs.”
I just stood there quietly. Interjecting my opinion on a stranger’s conversation would not have only been rude but extremely disrespectful. Statistics and politics inform me that these musings could have come straight out of the mouth of any Republican candidate running on a national, state or local ticket.
I had to research some facts in the hope that our readers living as a member of a disenfranchised minority (Black and Latino) will at least have the facts straight the next time they want to publicly undress the members of another (single Black mothers). The truth of the matter is indicative of several things, but racist scapegoating and classism are prominent among them in my mind. So here’s the skinny;
The data shows that the overwhelming majority of the population in America’s poorest counties are white. Of the top 20 counties researched based on per capita income, African Americans made up approximately 50 percent of the population only twice (Dooly County, GA, 49.54 percent and Stewart County, GA, 61.54 percent, ranked sixth and fifteenth respectively.) Only one county out of the top 20 poorest in the nation were predominantly Latino American (Starr County, Texas, 95.7 percent, is ranked 19th overall).
The data also seems to show the vast majority of the poorest states in the union that vote Republican are overwhelmingly white and located in the south. Below is a list culled from a USA Today/CheatSheat.com listing the top seven states with the highest percentages of their population collecting welfare. With the exception of Washington, D.C., each state is majority White. The reason why DC appears on the list is because the percentage of its residents on welfare is high at over 21 percent.
• Number of food stamp recipients: 868,192
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 18.67%
• Number of food stamp recipients: Just over 1.28 million
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 19.58%
• Number of food stamp recipients: 791,222
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 19.93%
4. West Virginia
• Number of food stamp recipients: 369,249
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 19.96%
3. New Mexico
• Number of food stamp recipients: 448,328
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 21.5%
• Number of food stamp recipients: 650,911
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 21.74%
1. District of Columbia
• Number of food stamp recipients: 144,768
• Percentage of the state's population on food stamps: 21.97%
According to Think Progress, the overwhelmingly White Republican state of Arizona has a child hunger rate twice the national average. Additionally, the amount of federal dollars spent per capita in Arizona as a percentage of state revenue (entitlement, welfare and other) ranks 10th in the country.
Did I mention that Arizona is 79 percent White? Additionally, Politifact reports that 97 of the poorest 100 counties in America are in red states. So, the next time you want to fix your face to shame Black women as Welfare Queens getting over on the system, please take a moment to get the facts.