Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bias Towards Welfare Recipients

It's been a week since we learned all about the Grimmer family, but the conversation about what ensued at the Health and Human Services Office continues, and not for the better.  Manuel Blanco Sr. offered his opinion to yesterday's LMT Op/Ed page.  It's prefaced with what sounds like a sincere willingness to understand the events that lead to the death of three individuals.  But from there on out, his whole entry is full of stereotypes, exaggerations, and Draconian solutions.

People who receive government assistance, in the form of food stamps or medical care, are at one point used as a scapegoat for the many ills in society.  If we want to combat the obesity problem in children, then let's target those who benefit from food stamps, as Rep. Richard Raymond suggested recently.  The only thing wrong with that approach is that obesity affects people of all income levels.

Mr. Blanco addresses the immigration issue by proposing to deny immigrants of services, but to do so would mean a change to the Constitution.  The Fourteenth Amendment grants people citizenship, and thus, qualifies people (ie. kids) for food stamps.

He alludes to a common refrain:  that women are the main culprits of welfare fraud and live the life of the proverbial "welfare queen."  However, he does note that they don't do it alone; those female abusers of the system drive big, shiny SUVs because they're not only welfare cheats, but also gold diggers.

Of all the craziness, this line says a lot about his attitude towards the poor and the system in general.  He refers to both democrats and republicans not doing anything about the problem.
Neither one wants to deal with the problem because both need the Latino vote.
So Latinos are the only ones who get food stamps?  That would be a surprise to the people of Appalachia, and the Old South.

Rachelle Grimmer is no longer with us, not so much because she didn't qualify for food stamps, but because she didn't complete the application process, among other things.  It's shocking what happened to her and her kids, but it doesn't give us license to talk out of our ass.  We can't simplify her situation and leave major parts of her background out.  And we can't attempt to break down the problem of poverty by playing up our own biases.  

Poverty is a bitch, and I can't understand how some people make it out to be so glamorous and carefree.  If we can't get over our own hang-ups, we can't reach a solution.

Check out Sam Seder as he takes on a condescending point of view.

 And Larry Wilmore's (Daily Show) take on poverty is priceless.


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