Category: Poverty

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Rural Poverty – In These Times

Media representations of Black poverty typically spotlight the segregated inner cities of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, like Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore. But less than half of the African-American population in the United States resides in cities. Suburbs and exurbs are home to 43 percent of black Americans, while 14 percent live in rural areas. That 14 percent has a poverty rate of approximately 34 percent—twice as high as that of rural whites. Nationwide, African Americans have a 24 percent poverty rate, while whites have a 12 percent poverty rate. Similarly, metropolitan blacks have a 25 percent poverty rate and metro whites 12 percent.

Likewise, recent publicity given to rural poverty in the United States has been limited to a discussion of white Trump supporters. Judging from these accounts, one might imagine rural America as a sea of unbroken white. In fact, Black people (who overwhelmingly vote Democratic) make up nearly 20 percent of the rural poor.

Jeff Sessions is not likely to stop the police war on minorities and the poor

If you have money, or affluence, or fame, your issues get addressed. If you’re poor and nameless—they don’t. There are a great many factors driving violence in places like South Chicago. There’s a lack of jobs, gangs, guns, despair, hopelessness, poverty, as well as police indifference and corruption. Where there’s money, problems get solved—but time and time again the poor pay a price which they can scarcely afford.

Exactly what Sessions or Trump will do to help this problem in any effective way remains unclear. Both of them seem more than willing to fear-monger over the issue, using completely faulty facts and data at the drop of a hat, rather than work to construct any meaningful solutions.