Within the last couple of years I’ve heard this rhetoric that going on public assistance sucks you down into the bottom of the barrel of society. Suddenly, ordinary citizens whom had a life changing event such as losing a job, or taking on another unexpected expense brings them down. The US like most other countries shames our poor and those who are on public assistance. What’s even more shameful are the minorities on public housing or food stamps. It’s as if the public perception turns these people into leeches on society, where everyone else has to pay their way.
Just recently Missouri Republicans proposed a bill that would prohibit buying steaks, seafood,cookies,chips, energy drinks,soft drinks. In Wisconsin, Republicans want to limit other foods such as beans, potatoes, pasta sauce, herbs, spices, tuna,pickles, sauerkraut, soups, salsa and ketchup. The real issue is not the food that is being taken away, even though it doesn’t make sense to limit the food without any reasonable explanation. My main gripe I have is with the perception of programs such as SNAP that are the primary source of food and support for minority families. The stark reality is that non-hispanic white makeup 37.6% of food stamp recipients, while blacks only makeup 15.8%. The misconception of the single mother “welfare queen” has been painted on the backs of black women like an unwanted tramp stamp.
My viewpoint has been and will be that corporations and the wealthiest elite want the races to keep bickering over crumbs while they take and take away from all of us. Evidence of my theory is that the government gives 92 billion in corporate subsidies, while using 59 billion for social welfare programs. One thing is clear, the government has always been giving handouts, whether it’s called subsidies, SNAP, there is little difference to me.
Below are a list of US Government programs that were used to elevate Europeans lifestyles.
Headright System-This program granted early settlers land. The program was practiced in Maryland, Georgia, North and South Carolina. Settlers were given up to 1,000 acres just for crossing the Atlantic Ocean and help populate the colonies. Tobacco and other agricultural crops needed a labor force and settlers who paid for their servant would be given land to mend to. The practice started in Jamestown,Virginia in 1618 and continued into the 1700’s. By 1699 a settler would be paid in fifty acres for every slave they owned and added to the labor force. One settler was given 3,000 acres because he owned 60 slaves.
Homestead Act– In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law that anyone who fought for the US government would have the right to file an application for a federal land grant. Slaves could apply, but since they weren’t granted citizenship until later on. Between 1862 and 1934 over 270 million acres were given to descendants of Europeans. The practice was kept alive all the way to 1976,but continued in Alaska until 1986.
GI Bill-The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 benefits included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend university, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. This bill was for every war veteran and upwards of about 8 million vets took full advantage. Sadly, African-Americans were left by the waist side, while this bill propelled hundreds of thousands of white families into middle class status.
New Deal-The New Deal were various domestic programs to help get Americans back to work and out of the Great Depression slump. The President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed these laws between 1933 and 1938. While whites were giving an edge, blacks were often left out of the loop. Programs such as the WPA, NYA and CCC allocated a mere 10% of their budgets for blacks and whites were the beneficiaries of the other 90%. Unions excluded blacks from joining and blacks would be forced out of jobs to later on be given to whites. In 1933 the NRA was called the “Negro Removal Act” by blacks and with good reason. Over 500,000 African-Americans were taken out of work to make room for their white counterparts.
Slavery-The Atlantic Slave Trade during the 18th and 19th century was a practice in British North America and all 13 colonies. Over 11 million Africans were brought across the Atlantic into the Americas. They were forced into labor to grow cotton, tobacco, and other crops on plantations. According to Harper’s Magazine descendants of those enslaved would be owed 40 trillion dollars in reparations for 222,505,049 labor hours from 1619 to 1865.Europeans gained great amounts of wealth and power during that era and their descendants still have reaped the benefits since that time.
The Columbia Emancipation Act– As previously discussed slave owners saved literally trillions of dollars of labor by using forced Africans into slavery. When slavery was abolished in 1862 it came with a price tag. Slave owners were given $300($7,000 today) per freed slave in reparations. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, 2,989 became free. The slave owners were paid under Emancipation Proclamation just for keeping their loyalty to the Union and loss of income.
I really don’t want to use this information to hang over people’s heads. It’s not be used as a punchline in a tit for tat argument, but for learning purposes and a true understanding of how one group of people seemed to have imagined, drawn, sculpted and created the American Dream, while others simply did not elevate to that level. It is clear that white Europeans and descendants have had a huge, leaps and bounds head start in the economic race and for every fictitious “Welfare Queen” there were hundreds of real white women and men who benefited from the government made up of the people of the same ancestry and lineage who also wanted to see themselves and others excel.