I love it when American leadership poor-bashes!
South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer was speaking at a town hall meeting when he felt the urge to discuss poor people who receive government aid:
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
The news media have pointed out that 58% of school-age children in Bauer’s state qualify for free or low cost lunch.
But that hole was not deep enough by Bauer’s exacting standards. So he kept digging.
“I can show you a bar graph where free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South Carolina. You show me the school that has the highest free and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s there, period.”
“So how do you fix it? Well you say, ‘Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.’ “
“They can continue to have more and more kids, and the reward is there’s more and more money in it for them.”
Where to start? The suggestion that starving poor people will stop them from “breeding”? The suggestion that while the well-off classes are thinking people who make love, the poor are thoughtless “animals” who “breed”? The weird idea that receiving free lunch makes you a bad student? The suggestion that the poor have to pay back their aid to the government?
It’s not like food is a human right or anything. It’s not like it’s morally reprehensible to suggest starving children based on what class of society they were born into.
How is Bauer not transparent as he blames all of our problems on a despised, disenfranchised minority?
Racewire has some great analysis:
Sarcasm aside, it’s real easy, regardless of background, to buy into the ‘welfare queen’ racialized stereotype — the Black mother popping out kids and living well on the taxpayer’s money, because she has the morals of a common animal. That image has been complemented in recent years by the ‘illegal immigrant’ having ‘anchor babies’ and refusing to learn how to speak American. Call it one of Reagan’s many gifts to the nation he hated so much: a method by which amoral rich white men can change the subject away from themselves.
The truth is that poverty, and everything connected to it, is a systemic issue, not an issue of choice. It’s a lot easier to make it to that parent-teacher conference when you have a good job with benefits and child care. And it’s a lot easier to have that good job when your parents could afford to get you into a good college, and when your family’s lived for generations in a neighborhood with access to public transportation and grocery stores — when you never had to learn about redlining. When the ground you walk on doesn’t make you or your kids sick, because your neighborhood has always had the political clout to keep that oil refinery from being built next door.