RELEASE: New Report: Moving Away from Racial Stereotypes in Poverty Policy

By Joy Moses | February 23, 2012

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress released a report, “Moving Away from Racial Stereotypes in Poverty Policy: Trends Suggest a Decline in Race Baiting, Creating Ways to Better Examine Race in Policymaking,” that analyzes how race baiting and stereotypes affect the debate about public benefits and poverty policies.

Race baiting has often been the source of charged debates in newspapers, blogs, and on television sets across the nation. Programs aiding those in poverty are often at the center of the storm. Unfortunately, in the midst of the name calling and punditry, we as a nation often forget to ask some important questions. How do race baiting, stereotyping, and other forms of spreading misinformation impact support for programs that help people climb out of poverty, the development of poverty policies, and general progress towards the goal of reducing inequality and poverty? This paper analyzes these questions and proposes efforts that could effectively help reduce the influence of racial misconceptions.

The following are factors that this report sees as building a path toward reducing the influence of race baiting:

  • The emergence of a younger generation of Americans who welcome diversity—67 percent say they think positively of America’s demographic changes. Public opinion polls indicating modest progress in getting Americans to replace stereotypical notions such as laziness with ones that reflect an understanding that not all Americans have equal access to opportunity.
  • The rise of a more racially diverse America, which by 2050 will see non-Hispanic whites no longer in the majority, making it less and less advantageous to insult growing numbers of people of color by race baiting for political gain, and with effort on the part of progressives, hopefully reducing the success of flawed public policy built on racial stereotypes.
  • Changes in the media and technology that make it difficult for comments to go unnoticed and without comment, including growth in the number of media and social networking outlets for reporting and commentary.

This paper is designed to help point the way toward a more inclusive and culturally enlightened America that understands that poverty has no racial, ethnic, gender, or regional boundaries.

Read the full report here.

Additional resources:

To speak to CAP experts on the issue, please contact Laura Pereyra at lpereyra@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6258.

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