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1 SanFranciscoZionist  Mon, May 13, 2013 10:03:53pm

It’s a good piece. One thing I would nitpick about is that I see the whole ‘twice as many whites on welfare as blacks’ thing quite a lot these days—it seems to be a Thing To Point Out now—and I have two problems with it. One is that it quite simply ignores the ratio of white Americans to black Americans—there are a hell of a lot more white Americans, and a higher percentage of black Americans on public assistance. We don’t let the wingnuts get away with statistical silliness like that, and we shouldn’t do it either.

And building from that, I feel as though it dismisses the whole issue of black poverty and economic disadvantage for a throwaway gotcha point. “Twice as many whites on welfare as blacks!” OK, am I supposed to think now that white Americans are twice as economically disadvantaged as black Americans? Should I assume black Americans are doing fine in this economy? Well, no. So what is the point of this point?

2 cinesimon  Mon, May 13, 2013 11:34:45pm

re: #1 SanFranciscoZionist

Indeed. It’s playing the same game as right wingers, and their fiscal allies, moderates ‘centrists’(the old republican party).
We don’t need to - but, I can see the temptation, given the only people who fall for such simplicity, also fall for the outright dishonesty coming from the right(including the self-described centrists - who’re very far right, especially with regards to fiscal issues. Essentially, if we are only gong to be 100% honest both factually and contextually, we will never even get a look in with low-info republican voters - they simply don’t pay enough attention. Not to mention the enablers of political dumbing down, the media.
I think Obama showed, especially in his first presidential election, that one can treat the electorate as an adult population, explain and discuss issues using nuance, taking the high road and being as honest as possible - and still get elected. I know many Dems were freaked out when he calmly explained things, and didn’t react with the simplistic volume that his opponents did and do. But he managed it.
BUT - a big but: conditions have to be favoring us cycle-wise - be it an election, or a public debate. If not, such high-road ideals will see losses.
IMHO.

3 Walking Spanish Down the Hall  Tue, May 14, 2013 8:24:39am

re: #1 SanFranciscoZionist

It’s a good piece. One thing I would nitpick about is that I see the whole ‘twice as many whites on welfare as blacks’ thing quite a lot these days—it seems to be a Thing To Point Out now—and I have two problems with it. One is that it quite simply ignores the ratio of white Americans to black Americans—there are a hell of a lot more white Americans, and a higher percentage of black Americans on public assistance. We don’t let the wingnuts get away with statistical silliness like that, and we shouldn’t do it either.

The purpose of stating it here is to stress that the assumption of a welfare queen being black is erroneous, the likelihood that a person on welfare chosen at random is black is lower than that person being white.
If people were to base their mental image on the reality rather than on racial bias (read racism) they should have an image of a white person in their minds.

As stated in the article, this isn’t a statistical silliness. That there are more whites on welfare and that the highest percentage by race on welfare are black are not mutually exclusive. In fact the point in the article concerning racial bias in employment goes directly to the higher percentage of blacks on welfare by showing a systemic racism in employee selection increases the number of blacks on welfare.

And building from that, I feel as though it dismisses the whole issue of black poverty and economic disadvantage for a throwaway gotcha point. “Twice as many whites on welfare as blacks!” OK, am I supposed to think now that white Americans are twice as economically disadvantaged as black Americans? Should I assume black Americans are doing fine in this economy? Well, no. So what is the point of this point?

No, you are supposed to question why the image of a black comes to mind when welfare is discussed. By pure numbers, the image of a white person should come to mind.

I have witnessed the process of resume dumping and interview callbacks mentioned by the author personally. I was an assistant manager of a Consumer’s Distributing back when dinosaurs roamed the plains and was trained on hiring by a regional manager. He would dump any resume that had an aboriginal sounding name or had a reservation as an home address. I should have said something but didn’t because I needed the job. Thankfully, I became a manager 8 months later and changed that practice.

4 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, May 14, 2013 12:28:58pm

re: #3 Walking Spanish Down the Hall

By ‘pure numbers’, you should visualize a white person when someone says ‘American’, then, since white people are sixty-three percent of the US population. But there are issues there. This isn’t about pure numbers, this is about carefully choosing numbers that add up to a social vision. I’m in favor of skipping the numbers, unless they tell us something, and going straight to the vision.

The resume discrimination I’ve seen up close as well, which is one reason I’m not sure the contents of my racist mental filing cabinets are all that relevant. When I think of people on welfare, BTW, I think of actual people I know who are on welfare. For most white Americans, statistically, that’s going to be other white people. And yet, the stereotype persists. Do we really think that preaching vaguely relevant statistics will overcome what real-life experience does not?

I’m not adamantly opposed to it, it just seems like a gimmicky thing with no real significance to it, and a big logical hole that any semi-bright racist is going to focus in on.

5 dawncutaia  Thu, May 16, 2013 2:48:36pm

re: #3 Walking Spanish Down the Hall

You are exactly correct. That was my point. And actually if you go by the numbers it is closer to 4 times as many whites on welfare as blacks. But I was trying to point out that if there are more whites on welfare than blacks, why is the stereotype a black woman? That was the sole purpose of that entire paragraph.


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