The last line in an op-ed on Blavity, “To address poverty, we must first understand how impressive the ways we describe it are,” targets the source of the issue the piace focuses on: un-blackening poverty. The stigma that black folks are the poster child for poverty and the subsequent, false reinforcement of that in politics, film, and television has long afflicted the efficient tackling of the issue. Now, during a time when LGBTQ, female, and Black empowerment are prominent topics in the national conversation, is the best time to educate about representation and eradicate those associations for good.
One might say that it’s impossible to get rid of that association completely, and I agree; I’m not shocked when I hear middle and high school kids joke about black people and food stamps, a stereotype so embedded in American culture that one doesn’t have to think too hard to drum up a list of the different shapes that stereotype has taken.
“This reality is nowhere more apparent than with our nations modest welfare program,” the piece details. “Welfare has long been implicitly and stereotypically defined as a ‘black issue,’ reinforced by the media’s continuous, careless portrayal of poverty as black and ‘lazy.'” This, the article illustrates, creates a “feedback loop” in which stereotypes of black folk as lazy and poor people as mostly black are nothing but inseparable.
To begin combating this loop in these falsities, the fact that African-Americans only represent less than 25 percent of people in poverty, as is detailed in the Census Bureau’s 2014 Income and Poverty in the United States report, should be spread.
Secondly, regarding porch rails that contribute to subconscious racial bias, one can look to shows like Power, Black-ish, Empire, or The Adventures of Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae‘s upcoming Insecure, where ideas about social issues, philosophies, and art (i.e., things light years away from property) are explored, thus enriching viewer’s minds with different perspectives on a wealth of topics.
Discussing poverty in one of the world’s wealthiest nations will never go away, but since we’re always going to discuss it, let’s do our hard work and intelligence justice by discussing it right.
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