No one's fooled when candidates talk about 'entitlements' as a shorthand for race

January 30, 2012

Regarding J.C. Gordon's letter "Objecting to Obama's entitlement mentality doesn't make you racist" (Jan. 26), one hardly knows which is more offensive, the racism, the ignorance or the stupidity of those who choose to be manipulated when terms like "entitlements" are used to imply people of color.

When suggesting that poor people should work at menial jobs, those that make such suggestions should open their eyes. Is it insulting is to assume that people are poor because they don't work, when in fact most poor people work at least two minimum-wage jobs, and some work as many as three?

The work done by the poor is often physically demanding and monotonous, offers no medical or other benefits, and does not lead to opportunities for anything better. Yet the poor work for the same reasons everyone else works.

What seems to be forgotten is that the vast majority of those receiving any kind of assistance are children, the elderly and the disabled. In addition, not everyone has the capacity to be a rocket scientist. Many people in our society of all ethnicities have limited abilities, and the social safety net is there to help them have a minimally tolerable quality of life.

Why is it so much easier to believe that the poor are lazy and unemployed than to believe that many of the 1 percent are simply greedy?

I suppose it all comes down to the fact that some people live such narrow lives that they are never exposed to — choose not to know — people of different income levels and ethnicities. It is easier to believe what you are told rather than to think for yourself or find out for yourself.

It's a sad state of affairs indeed when democratic government requires an informed populace, and instead must depend on those who don't have the capacity to tell the difference between what's real and what's just clever propaganda.

Linda K. Brown, Baltimore

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