This Week’s Cartoon: “The Color of Welfare”

You’d think that decades in politics would knock the racist claptrap out of someone like Newt Gingrich, but, well, this is the GOP we’re talking about. Instead, he just substitutes polite-sounding phrases like “African-American community” and “demand paychecks” for “those lazy blacks.” How does one go about demanding a paycheck, anyway? I’d like to be able to do that, and have one show up. That would be cool.

The dialogue in the third panel refers to Ron Paul’s Paranoid Kook Reports, which contained the theory that the LA riots only came to a halt because everyone went to pick up welfare checks. And right-wing noise machine poopshoveler Brent Bozell said on Fox News that Obama looked like a “skinny ghetto crackhead.” Rick Santorum has also made similar comments to Newt’s.

To be clear, my point here was not to pick on poor whites, but to criticize the singling out of one group when poverty cuts across multiple demographics. For data on food stamp usage, I looked at this USDA report (big PDF, via the ThinkProgress article linked above; page 75 has the breakdown) and this, which documents disproportionate rural usage, largely by children.


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  • Kevin Moore

    As a white guy, I totally endorse picking on white people. Mostly the rich ones.

  • heydave

    Another home run, ma’am!

  • Tom

    A thought occurred to me while driving home: The poor whites/poor blacks dichotomy is like another example of Washington hypocrisy. Remember the 1980s faux uproar over naughty rock-n-roll music? The one where Tipper Gore and other wives of congresscreatures decided that THEY had the authority to tsk-tsk from behind a hearing-room table?

    I noticed at the time that none of them said anything all the country & western songs about bar fightin’, cheatin’ on your woman, gettin’ drunk and other rural white entertainments. Let alone the country song “Wildwood Weed” about the joy of growin your own dope on the farm! Yee-HAH!

    I looked through the Food Stamp PDF, and it also occurred to me that you can’t say “urban users are inherently black, rural users are inherently white,” because rural black poverty still exists in this wonderful land of ours. My weekend bike trips around north Florida backwoods take me past a lot of little clusters of black communities with small houses and mobile homes clustered on a single piece of property thart has been in somebody’s family for a long time. But yes, it’s weird (and predictable) that a tick like Newt Gingrich assumes that black=food stamp.

  • Michael

    Great article and great blog! Yes, I’m quite sad that the media are not calling Newt out on what I would call blatant racist comments. No surprise that the Newt has no idea about white privilege. Of course, none of the GOP candidates have any idea of their white privilege in my humble opinion.

  • Jen Sorensen

    Tom – I had that same thought myself about the rural poor, but alas, even my wordy cartoons only allow so much room for subtlety.

  • Tom

    Hey! This cartoon just got posted at NPR!

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.