Myths and Realities (III)
--National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)
I discussed this concept in a prior post. So by now it is clear that I view many of the popular views on welfare to be convenient. But, of course, convenience is not necessary a sign that they are wrong. In this case, though, I firmly believe they ARE wrong. Often I see public perceptions are incorrect simply because they oversimplify the truth. This isn't to say that the public is stupid, but to realistically admit that can can't all have a deep and current understanding of a wide range of issues. That task would amount to a full time job in and of itself. Here, though, in the arena of social justice, I see the public perceptions as wrong not because they fail to grasp the "whole" truth, but because they are flat wrong--180 degress off from reality.
There is no question that finding reality here is a bit like trying to hold an egg yoke and I inherently have some bias like everyone else--including every commentator and researcher I quote. And on the other hand there's no question that a soccer mom is a less accurate source for welfare fertility rates than a seemingly respectable empirical study. All this is really an introduction to the third part of the discussion on myths and realities: the nitty gritty.
We have to talk about fertility rates amongst welfare recipients, reasons women on welfare have children, and how the welfare system treats those children. Hand in hand is the public perception of welfare mothers. Who are they? Why are they giving birth? And how does America treat the mothers and the children? There is also the policy side. Which policies do Americans generally believe to be effective? And which policies actually are effective? The same must be discussed regarding social mobilization, employment (even at the bottom, stagnant level), the elderly, the disabled and injured, the length of time one spends on welfare (and why), and onwards. This isn't just welfare but poverty in America. Many significant perceptions are dead wrong. I promise this is the last introduction to much needed specifics.
On a personal note, the postings have been rather sporadic lately, and I thank you for your patience with me. I would like to comment on some feedback that I found disturbing. Some people have commented that this blog is "over their head" and I really want to minimize that feeling as much as I can. Not knowing what the EITC means or how it works makes you nothing short of normal. And that is probably one of the better known terms and concepts discussed in the realm of social justice.
Please feel free to use two methods to ask me and other readers anything at all, no matter how basic:
1) post comments -- so few people post even when many speak with me verbally. This blog allows readers to post in the comment section using your real name and email or anonymously; and
2) feel free to email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org (always displayed at the very bottom of the page).
To the extent that the comments are long, boring, dense, etc., these are things I continue to struggle with when trying to handle confusing and complex concepts in a few paragraphs a person may glance at over lunch. All I can say now is that I know it needs work.