Majority of poor are white and rural

May 10, 2010 06:47

A vastly disproportionate amount of tax payer dollars goes to urban minorities as the ‘face of the poor’.

by Anthony Bradley at

The social justice Christians who are flocking to cities may be too late. Where were they in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s? By 2008, the suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country, according to a recent Brookings Institution study. In the near future, the more progressive justice-oriented Christians will be in the suburbs not the city. Perhaps American Christians concerned about the poor should stop chasing poverty, plant themselves in whatever neighborhood they find themselves, and love whomever comes and goes as housing trends change over time.

Many Christians equate poverty with “inner city” or “urban” areas populated by black people, which is nothing less than factually inaccurate, patronizing, and, some would argue, racist. This wrongheaded caricature overlooks the reality that poverty in America is predominantly suburban, rural, and white. According to the latest census data 44 percent of America’s poor population is white while 25 percent is black. Why then does “the poor” have a black or brown face? Even though a larger percentage of the black population is poor compared to whites, for poverty to be associated primarily with blacks in the inner city may suggest a latent white-messiah, neo-paternalist mentality among those who believe their “whiteness” is what black people in the inner city need. Because there are rarely, if ever, calls for Christians to flock to suburban and/or rural contexts to help “the poor,” one wonders if all this justice talk has more to do with race patronization than “poverty,” as some would argue.


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