The imagery generally associated with people who receive SNAP Food Stamps benefits is usually a black single mother living in the inner city. She lives in public housing, and if she does vote, she votes democrat. That’s typically the image media perpetuates when we think of people who receive certain government supplements. The SNAP Food Stamp program is a great option for families here in the United States, who still needs government assistance whether they are apart of the working population or on welfare. Despite the stereotypes of the face of the food stamp program, surprisingly the highest usage of SNAP isn’t in Brownsville of Brooklyn, Compton of LA or the Southside of Chicago, but in Owsley County, Kentucky, which is also 99.22% White and 95% Republican (PoliticalBlindSpot.com). A very great contrast from what is socially projected throughout many media outlets.
Words by Queen, AFROPUNK Contributor *
How Snap is Distributed Amongst Race
The population of this town has approximately 5,000 residents, according to census the earning potential is the lowest income in the country outside of Puerto Rico. Most of their income formerly came from the lumber, tobacco and coal industry, and when that declined employment there did also. Although Black people are proportionately over-represented in the food stamps statistics, this shows that there is much more to the story.
To go further, 37% of the people enrolled in the Snap program as of 2012 are white, versus the 23% that are black also receiving these benefits (Trivisonno.com). The Amount of Americans added to the Food Stamp program since president Obama was elected is at about 12 million, which is why a lot of the GOP like to call him the food stamp president. Not mentioning that the economy was in shambles when he was first elected in 2008, what they also fail to mention is currently white people are 42% of the poor but in reality use 69% of government benefits (YourBlackWorld.Net). According to Yvette Carnell, the GOP loves to perpetuate this image, of people of color mostly using these services. “If you pay any attention to right wing media, then you know that folks on the right are obsessed with unraveling the safety net, mostly because they believe that the safety net benefits mostly black and brown people” (YourBlackWorld.Net). If you compare the amount of the poor, per race, using these benefits the gap is far greater amongst the white poor. The Economix blog of the New York Times reports that, currently amongst the 22% black poor, only 14% receive government benefits. The disproportion is very evident as to which population generously receives these governmental benefits.
Why Speak About this
Of course the need of SNAP and other government benefits to help supplement income is needed in this country, but I write this to help change the imagery that is connected to a lot of these skewed facts, and numbers. I’m pretty sure the GOP are aware of these misrepresentations, also, they know who will be affected when terminating these programs. The residents of Owsley County (mentioned earlier) have all felt the effects of many of these cut backs. Regardless of race, poverty fosters addictions, teen pregnancy and more.
Which supports the argument that the Right Wing Government has no concern for the poor or working class of the United States, and in order to convince the masses of this skewed agenda, they need a scapegoat, which in this instant is the face of a poor black person.
How Do We Change This
In order for these media images of the black poor to be unattached from these untrue stereotypes we must support media that puts forth truth, articles such as this one, the publications used as sources, as well as other news outlets. It’s also our social responsibility to make the information more detectable for the masses.
* Queen's blog, MsVixenMag.com