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One Hood Subsidized by All: Profiting from the Hunger of Our Children One Food Stamp at a Time - Represent Our Resistance - By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD - Editorial Board

If we don�t stand up for children, then we don�t stand for much.

-Marian Wright Edelman


For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
-James Baldwin

Anti-abortion advocacy groups are willing to shoot to kill abortion doctors and attack supporters on behalf of fetuses. Progressives on the Left organize protest rallies against these advocacy groups, but do these protest rallies call attention to children born and raised in poverty - here in the U.S. - the world�s superpower nation?

The anti-war movement questions the morality of war. Those who call for �peace� recognize the humanity of Iraqis and Afghanis. Historians argue that Afghanistan is the country Empire�s come to die.

Health care advocates, supported by 70 percent of the U.S. public, point to the government-supported health care system in Canada, France, and England where the citizens of those nations can depend on comprehensive care if a citizen faces a catastrophic illness.

Yet, these advocacy groups and their protests will not rally around an endangered population of children in the U.S. Unless these pro-choice, anti-war, health care advocates and activists are calling attention to the impact of U.S. foreign policies in Africa, holding posters of Malawi or Ethiopian children, you will not see a poster of Black American children suffering from governmental (and consequently moral) neglect.

And yet, here in the U.S. �nearly half of American children - including 90 percent of black children and 90 percent of children who spend their childhoods in single-parent households - will eat meals paid for by food stamps at some point during childhood,� according to Thomas A. Hirschl, Cornell professor of development sociology and Mark R. Rank of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (163:11). According to the study�s conclusion, children in poverty are significantly more likely to experience a range of health problems, including low birth weight, lead poisoning, asthma, mental health disorders, delayed immunization, dental problems and accidental death� Poverty during childhood is also associated with a host of health, economic and social problems later in life.

The report continues: �Between the ages of 1 to 20 years, nearly half (49.2%) of all American children will, at some point, reside in a household that receives food stamps.�

American children are at a high risk of encountering a spell during which their families are in poverty and food insecure as indicated through their use of food stamps. Such events have the potential to seriously jeopardize a child�s overall health.

But pro-choice, anti-war, and health care advocates and activists are already turning their heads because the most foreign territory of all - Black communities in the U.S. - also correspond to the dark recesses of the American imagination where other human beings go to die and be reborn as acceptable abstractions.

As we all know, abstractions are often hard to pin down.

Most middle-class citizens in the U.S., suffering now as a result of the Western economic crisis, would locate the 90 percent of Black children expected to spend their childhood on food stamps in the hood. An abstract location that most middle class citizens avoid, the hood is also a metaphorical construction. Borderless. Listen to the young inhabitants offer praisesongs on behalf of a supposedly identifiable place populated by crack cocaine, poor schools and housing, limited social services, toxic dump sites, and, of course, the free-giving �hoes,� and life-taking �pigs� with an assortment of �gangtas� in the middle.

I come from a neighborhood, Dr. Cornel West said, and not the hood. When Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! asked him to explain, West said: In the neighborhood of Glen Elder, Sacramento we had such deep ties of sympathy and bonds of empathy, taking care of each other. Mom ran out of sugar, I�d go to Ms. Durham and Ms. Reed or Ms. Stuckey�s house, get the sugar; same would be true if they ran out. When Mom and Dad were working, we were babysat by the whole block.

The neighborhood had �a web and a womb of support,� West explained. In contrast, the hood �now is just survival of the slickest, a social Darwinian preoccupation of just getting over by any means or preoccupation with the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shall not get caught. And it�s treacherous.� The neighborhood was �easy� because �the love was there.�

Equally as invisible as the hood is now, the neighborhood, however, depended on its residents, the middle class included, to oversee the survival of its children - all of its children. How many children in a neighborhood went to schools with metal detectors? How many children in a neighborhood went to bed on an empty stomach? How many children in a neighborhood would have felt unloved?

Today, in the hood, an array of corporate and military benefactors are substitutes for �Ms. Durham and Ms. Reed or Ms. Stuckey,� Mom and Dad - too poor themselves to matter! The benefactors make an offer to the young inhabitants of the hood - you know - an offer they cannot refuse. You have seen this movie. The children agree to recognize Life itself in the conditions established for the hood, and, for their compliance, Santa Claus�s bag of goodies is filled with little tokens of corporate love headed for the hood.

But it is not love; it is looking out for No. 1: corporate interests!

That 49.2 percent of all children and 90 percent of Black children in the United States will spend their formative years on food stamps is a profitable venture for the supermarkets, particularly big-box chains stores receiving from the government, according to Roland Sheppard, union activist, re-imbursements for �the difference in retail prices� of each item purchased with food stamps. There is a market for food stamps that guarantees a profit for the supermarket. �The government could provide surplus food directly to those in need of food. His would be an alternative to food stamps,� said Sheppard. 50 percent of Black children could be feed without food stamps. �But everything the government does guarantees profits for the rich.� But with food stamps, Sheppard explains, �the government pays these supermarkets and who pays the taxes for the privatization of food stamps?�

The slickest?

The �peoples� representatives� are made offers, too.� Congress, mayors, local representatives, sell their responsibility for the governance of State and the peoples� interests to Wall Street bankers and corporations who, in turn, maintain a monopoly on the hood. It is Wall Street and the corporations, brimming from ear to ear like Keith Ledger�s Joker, who are the true god-heads of these worlds (labeled the hood, Iraq, Afghanistan, the rainforest, the reservations, the barrios, the sweatshops), amazed at their ability to merge their new plantations through invisible (except to them) representations of capital.

Who subsidizes poverty in the hood - and for what?

Say it again - Taxpayers! What�s so abstract in - you pay for the war on poverty as they pay for the wars abroad! You guarantee the expansion of the hood!

$915.1 billion dollars is spent on war. $687 is allocated for Iraq while $228 is spent in Afghanistan.

Below is a list of some cities� contributions in taxpayers� money for war. Add up all the money that the war on poverty could apply to caring for the wellbeing of our children:

Louisville, Kentucky ($386,862,300)

Cleveland, Ohio ($868,145,900)

Chicago, Illinois ($9,712,600,000)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($3,351,469,240)

New Orleans, Louisiana ($638,277,800)

Los Angeles, California ($9,903,894,000)

New York City, New York ($30,997,128,700)

Detroit, Michigan ($1,559,903,400)

And, according to the National Priority Project, request for $130 billion more for war from the FY2010 budget is in the works. Consequently, the total war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to be $1 trillion!

For the imperialists, children, particularly Black, Iraqi, and Afghanis children, living in the margins of the American Empire, are ultimately disposable! The U.S. is engaging in human rights violations against its own children. How can this self-proclaimed moral leader among nations be expected to care about the world�s children?

The militarization of cities within the U.S. against protesters and activists, the poor and the working class ought to mobilize a collective front of resistance to corporatehood! Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer for over thirty years of commentary, resistance criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she has served as a coordinator of student and community resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an equalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher communities behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.



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November 12 , 2009
Issue 350

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
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Est. April 5, 2002
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