“All white Owsley County gets more welfare than any black community” [SIC]

I have been seeing this image all over my friend’s walls lately and it disturbs me but not for the reasons you may assume.

Owsley County Kentucky White Republican SNAP benefits

I think the creation of this image is just another attempt at widening the perceived gap between different groups of humans.

To be fair, one should not develop opinions strictly on statistics… if we did that we should wonder if the mere fact that there are more women in Owsley County (which there is) was a reason for the increased government assistance (which I don’t).

Let’s take a look at some facts. Owsley County has less than 5000 people with the majority of them being white. Most of these people worked on the large tobacco farms and of course we know what happened to tobacco in America. Another main means of support were through the gas and oil wells of which most have been exhausted. Owsley also had many large underground coal mining operations which were recently shut down. That’s a lot of hard working individuals who are now out of work.

On a side note, did you know that the crime index for Owsley County is 54% less than the national average? The FBI rates Owsley County, Kentucky at 3 for violent crime, on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the high crime rate. In the two years of reporting (that’s all I could find) there were no reported murder, rape or arson and only 1 robbery, 1 assault, 26 thefts and 4 auto thefts.

Not bad when you consider this is supposedly the poorest county in the entire United States. In comparison, Detroit had a fun 2 years with 654 murders, 832 rapes, 10,500 robberies and 20,235 assaults, 2,3970 auto thefts not to mention 2,039 arsons! I know, I know… Detroit is much larger but remember; I’m talking about the misuse of statistics to prove a point. Should we use these stats to prove that “poor whites” are apparently less likely to be violent than “poor blacks”?

The same thing that happened to Owsley happened in Detroit which used to be the capital city of Michigan. Detroit was once a beautiful and prosperous city. Now much of it is in ruins. Is this the result of blacks representing over 80% of the population? No, of course not; it’s because the jobs disappeared with the closure of Ford, Chrysler, Packard, Dodge and many other factories not to mention the thousands of businesses that relied on those factories. The removal of those jobs spelled the demise of Detroit, NOT the ethnicity of its inhabitants.

I think it is a disservice to all ethnic groups to use anecdotal statistics and the photo of a rundown house as evidence of financial crisis being related to ethnicity.

Where do we draw the line? Shall we start comparing statistics for divorce in hetero vs. homosexual marriage? IQ tests between male and female? Compare spousal abuse between the wealthy and poor? Frequency of arrests or crime statistics of immigrants verses those with lineal citizenship? How about the proclivity towards promiscuity in blondes versus redheads? Employed versus unemployed arrests for shoplifting? How would comparing mental illness or drug use in homeless people versus people with homes or perhaps we should look at which religion spawns the most terrorists?

If any of these comparisons being used to prove a point of one group being superior to another would offend you then I believe the aforementioned inflammatory image and out of context statistics should be found equally offensive.

Am I using my exhaustive diatribe to come to the defense of poor white people? Not at all, if you have read any of my articles or posts or even spent time talking to me you know I value critical, rational and skeptically intelligent thinking.

It is my belief that sharing this type of biased and inflammatory information, without including background data or rational and speculative thought is unscientific and does an injustice to all people in all groups.

I would really like to hear your opinion so please share even if you disagree with me completely.

All stats I quote can easily be found with a google search.

What are your thoughts on this?

Here’s an interesting article about Owsley County

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