Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not At All Racist Email

I get email and it's not at all racist.

They are referred to as homo slackspine erectus created by natural genetic downward evolution through constant spineless posturing,and spasmatic upper limb gestures, which new research has shown to cause shorter legs and an inability to ambulate other than in an awkward shuffling gait. The "drag-crotch" shape also seems to effect brain function. Expect no eye contact or intelligent verbal communication.

History shows that this species mostly voted for Obama and receives food stamps and full government care. Unfortunately most are highly fertile.

How do I know this is about racism and not just a slam against gang culture? Because the Southern stereotype of a black person is one who wear baggy britches, won't pick up his feet, won't look you in the eye (like a man should), and won't talk white. These same people labor under the delusion that most, if not all, Obama supporters are black people who live off the government and have babies for checks.

First off, this is a gross misrepresentation of evolution and tarnishes good science by linking it to racist caricatures and stereotypes. Evolutionary biology shows that blacks, whites, and all other kinds of people came from the same original stock. We may have different colors and cultures but, at our core, we are far more alike than we are different.

Second, this is a terrible misrepresentation of those who rely on government assistance. Let's  examine the census data for the state of Mississippi in 2009.

There were 2,967,000 people in Mississippi in 2009. Of those ~3 million, 15.6% were disabled. The prevalence of disabled were 13.8% of whites and 17.5% of blacks. That's not the huge difference you'd expect if all blacks were lazy and looking to live off the government (and let's be honest, disability is the best way to go if you are looking for a handout because once you get on it, you're pretty much set).

Nationwide, there were 15,219,000 whites and 3,851,000 blacks disabled in 2009. Again, you can see that our disability program is not being overrun by lazy black people looking for a gravy train to ride.

Let's turn our attention to TANF and SNAP.  In 2009, 24,000 Mississippians received TANF - that's less than 1% of the MS population. It is true that 83% of those recipients were black and 16% were white; however, there are better explanations for that disparity than simply, "They're lazy." Less than 1% of the population is not a significant number of lazy people looking for a free lunch.

As for SNAP (food assistance), there were 790,000 Mississippians eligible for food stamps in 2010. The participation rate was 67% in 2009 and 72% in 2010. Even if all of Mississippi's 37% blacks participated in the program, that leaves over 30% of whites who did too.

Nowhere in these data do we find evidence that black people are lazy, stupid bums living off hard-working white people. We should not allow these claims to go unchecked when the data show that most black people, like everyone else, work and pay their taxes.

I'm not a fan of saggy britches and gang culture - something that people of any color may find appealing. I'm also not a racist. I wonder why someone would think I'd find any of this amusing or insightful.