Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Welfare Queen

I am taking a class called Race and Racism.  I have found this class to be very interesting because it exposes the roots of racism in our country.  Little things that we don't think about, stereotypes we have been spoonfed without even realizing.  To pass this class I have to write a paper.  I chose my topic.  While I was in undergrad I wrote a thesis called The Paradox.  I took a sharp look the 1996 Welfare Reform Act as it applied to victims of Domestic Violence.

For my topic in this class, I am looking at the same act, but how the work first attitude affects the single mother and how the title that Regan coined the Welfare Queen actually is a stereotype spoonfed to us, that has led to a perpetuating the cycle of poverty, especially in African-American single mothers.  The truth is that Welfare Reform needed to be done, but our country has gone about it the wrong way.  Everyone knows that education is the key to overcoming and surviving poverty.  But instead, our country pushes women with low skills and little education into low paying jobs.  These jobs cannot support their children, or their needs.  And what is alarming is that most single mothers that are African American do not ever receive any child support.  The cycle continues.  Wouldn't it be better to build strong families through education?  Giving the mothers skills to survive and thrive and in the process, passing down the message to their children that education is important so stay in school and do well?  But no, instead we say, you are able bodied, so go out an work that minimum wage job---forget if you have to pay 1000 dollars in childcare, rent, food, and living expenses.  Too bad if you become homeless.   Too bad if you max out on welfare and your kids can't eat tonight.  Too bad, you made the choice to have them, you got to live with it.  Seems sanctimonious to me.


  1. We actually just covered this in my African American studies course and it's funny how when the welfare system first started out more than 80 percent of the programs recipients were Caucasian but the face of the program was the Black woman. And also, the government has no desire to help low educated women obtain the skills to make a better life for themselves and their children. It would mean equal playing ground and that's not what they "really" want. It works for THEM to continue the cycle. Sad...but true...