Dissecting A Racist Right-Wing Meme
Have you ever come across a right-wing meme so blatantly racist and devoid of facts that you gave yourself a headache from your socket-bending eye-roll? I stumbled across one on Facebook last night that is certainly a contender. I suggest having some Aleve at the ready, and maybe using some preemptive eye-drops, too, before you look at this next image. Take your time.
Okay, ready? Here we go:
Unbelievable: This racist right-wing meme has over 312K shares.
I tried to warn you! This racist right-wing meme was created and/ or shared by “The Comical Conservative,” a remarkably unfunny Facebook page that perfectly illustrates the fact that conservatives don’t quite understand what humor is. The meme, originally shared on March 14th, has nearly 312k shares and over 122k likes as of the above screen grab, proving there are at least that many racists in America (though I think we can all agree there are definitely a lot more than that. I mean, look at how many people are supporting Donald Trump!).
The Racism, It Burns!
Conservatives love to tell us they’re not racists, and that we’re the racists for calling them racists. Meanwhile, they post and share stuff like this. And if we try to point out the obvious racism in this meme, what do they say? They say we’re the ones injecting race into their meme, as if they’re seeing some different meme from what we’re seeing.
It’s obvious that when these conservatives close their eyes and imagine a welfare recipient, they picture, well, exactly what the meme implies: a black person, with an “Obama phone” in one hand and a crack pipe in the other, because duh, everyone who gets government assistance is on drugs… don’t you know anything? And it’s not like they need said assistance, because come on, they bought drugs, beer, and fancy kicks! Clearly they don’t need my tax dollars, right?
We could try to explain to conservatives, using small words and cartoons, how and why this meme is racist, but I doubt they’re going to comprehend it. This degree of racism requires a special pedigree of unwavering ignorance that stands defiant against, you know, logic and common sense and stuff. Their brains are sadly beyond repair. But we’ll soldier on regardless, because hopefully their children can be spared. Probably not, but a little optimism never hurt anyone.
Wrong in every possible, conceivable way
Let’s move on now, beyond the obvious racism of the meme, and break down all the different ways it’s woefully inaccurate. This ought to be fun!
Let’s start with the “free cellphone” bit, shall we? Ronald Reagan, otherwise known to conservatives as Jesus Christ’s little brother, is the one who gave out free phones, with his Landline Program of 1984. That program was expanded to include cell phones by George W. Bush’s SafeLink program, before Obama even took office. The service is fairly limited and only available to low-income individuals and households so they have a very basic level of service.
Now for food stamps. The meme implies that most food stamp recipients are black, but nope… Not true! The majority of SNAP recipients — 40 percent of them, actually — are white, while only 27 percent are black. Oh, and SNAP, aka food stamps? They prevent Americans, mostly children, from starving to death.
Next up? The drug references. Conservatives love to throw around the idea that everyone on welfare is on drugs, but guess what? That’s not true, either. A bunch of red states have tried out mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients, spending quite a bit of money in the process, and utterly failing to yield the results they expected. Out of the 216,744 people they tested, they turned up only 427 positive results. Arizona, who tested the most people (142k), also had the fewest positive results (only three). Meanwhile, these states have collectively spent over $1 million on all of that testing. So much for “fiscal conservativism,” eh?
Last but not least, let’s go after the popular right-wing mantra that people only vote for democrats because they want “free stuff.” This utterly ridiculous charge seems to implicate that the groups who most predominantly vote for democrats — you know, minorities, women, the young, the poor — are too dumb to want to elect democrats for any reasons other than their desire to have the government pay for everything. Not only is this bigoted and ignorant, it’s completely unfounded on top of that.
By their logic, most welfare recipients should live in blue states, right? Well, they don’t. It turns out the vast majority of welfare recipients in America actually live in red states, and tend to vote for Republicans. Meanwhile, red states are also the most dependent on federal aid, often taking more in federal funding than they return.
A cheap, racist insult
It turns out this meme, fed by popular misconceptions amongst republicans, is little more than a cheap, racist insult, utterly devoid of any semblance of factual information and drawn up without any sense of legitimate data whatsoever.
In a way, it’s sort of like the myth of conservative “humor.” Conservatives claim they appreciate comedy. There are conservatives who claim they’re “comedians,” and claim their jokes are funny. But in reality, there’s very little to support that notion. Racism isn’t humorous, folks. Ignorance is never funny. Stupidity, however? That’s comedy gold.
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Matt Terzi is a political satirist and essayist from Binghamton, New York, who has written for some of the most prominent satire publications in the country. He’s now moving into more “serious” subject matter, without losing touch with his comedic roots