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Tue Dec 3, 2013, 09:08 AM

Hey, Media: White People Are Poor, Too [View all]

As the article notes, a disproportionate quantity of minorities are poor and this is a problem, but it is still a minority of poor people and representing poor people as overwhelmingly minorities just gets into the stereotypes.


According to Census figures in 2013, 18.9 million whites are poor. Thatís 8 million more poor white people than poor black people, and more than 5 million more than those who identify as Latino. A majority of those benefiting from programs like food stamps and Medicaid are white, too.

But somehow our picture of poverty is different, and the media tends to tell us a different story. A recent New York Times story, ďCut in Food Stamps Forces Hard Choices on Poor,Ē included only pictures of African Americans and Latinos from the Bronx, N.Y., and a number of Southern states. In October, the Times published another story about the impact of statesí rejection of the Medicaid expansion thatís part of the Affordable Care Act.

The images accompanying that story were also all of black or Latino families. Was that because only blacks and Latinos receive Medicaid? No.
This stereotype, like most stereotypes, harms black people in myriad ways, especially because the political right has linked poverty with moral failure as a trope to undermine public support for government programsóremember Ronald Reaganís welfare queen? These tactics didnít end in the 1980s. Last week, for example, Fox Newsí Brad Blakeman said the government was "like a drug dealer" peddling "dependency" to food-stamp recipients.

Social scientists and others have long made the observation that the media over-emphasizes people of color in coverage of poverty and government benefits. But if the message hasnít yet reached even the New York Times, it clearly needs to be said again.

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Reply Hey, Media: White People Are Poor, Too [View all]
Mass Dec 2013 OP
gollygee Dec 2013 #1
Eleanors38 Dec 2013 #2