Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Racism and ignorance in this presidential season

 Appearing in the print edition  of the Sky Hi Daily News today was a letter to the editor from a local reader who bemoaned all of those on the public dole, 69% increase on food stamps, and some unemployment figures...among other complaints about Obama.  I always thought there was a racist element among those who opposed Obama. Newt Gingrich coined Obama as the "foodstamp President", widely interpreted as  a dog whistle to the Southern Whites in a coded message that black welfare queens were the prime abusers of food stamps..   The post on my   blog  a few days ago regarding the hanging chair  hung by a rope over a tree limb shows that racism is present even in Loveland, Colorado. However, this letter to the editor that appeared along side my column concluded with "America showed how far we have come by voting in a black president. Now let's do what's best for the country and our children and vote him out".   The reference to "black" was not included in the rest of the body of the letter other than in unemployment statistics and no attempt to show causal relationship of welfare increasing to anything, much less the recession.  The "black president" reference was hardly a coded message ; it was just obviously an indication of the state of mind of the Grand County, Colorado writer.. This is without a doubt the dark side of parts of the electorate who oppose Obama's re-election. 
The bemoaners of  the blackness of food stamp recipients are also ignorant.  More whites receive food stamps than blacks, with each category comprising less than 25% of the total.
From a 2010 study by the US Department of Agriculture,  here are the statistics. 

Profile of recipients of food stamps  2010 USDA report
In fiscal year 2010, 46 percent of all SNAP participants were nonelderly adults, and 8 percent
were elderly. About 62 percent of nonelderly adults were women, as were 66 percent of elderly
adults. Forty-seven percent of all participants were children, similar to the number of participating
children in fiscal year 2009. About 66 percent of the children were school-age
Race and Hispanic Status
Household Head  Percent of total food Stamp recipients
  White, not Hispanic 24.0
  African American, not Hispanics,23.2
  Hispanic, Any Race 15.2
  Nonparticipating Household Head 17.9
Rest “other” categories

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