It’s been said that if you tell a lie long enough – it becomes truth! A great example of this is the fabricated notion that black women are gaming the system, robbing it through fraud and abusing the system that was created for white folk. In the popular imagination, the stereotype of the “welfare queen” is nothing more than race baiting; meant to give the impression that black women are living off the largess of taxpayers. The term is simply a dog whistle, a way to play on racial anxieties without summoning them directly. I wrote this because with the current political season upon us with twenty republicans loaded in the clown the term will be frequently used.
First, let’s set the record straight, there has NEVER been a social program designed or created to help black people ever – PERIOD. So if someone tells you different, and you believe it, know that you’ve been told the second biggest lie. The first is when they told you Jesus was white!
So let me start with this pesky little fact, welfare, like all the others programs were created for white folk: Nationally, most of the people who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are white. According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, 25.7 percent are black, 10.3 percent are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.
In recent years and as far back as the 1960s, Republicans have lamented that a growing share of recipients are able-bodied adults without children a group that made up 10.2 percent of beneficiaries in 2011, up from 6.6 percent before the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. When they speak of welfare, they leave out the part where they tell you that the largest number of recipient’s are WHITE PEOPLE. Republicans are all upset about people getting government benefits, but our nation’s real welfare queens are this country’s billionaires and biggest corporations.
The term entered the American lexicon by the champion of backward conservative politics Ronald Reagan. During his 1976 presidential campaign he described a black woman abusing the welfare but he never used the term “welfare queen” when referencing the woman. But his fellow conservatives pounce on it and have used it every since to create a false prescription of reality. The idea is to make white America believe it’s the lazy black woman stealing from “them.”
The term welfare queen is a pejorative phrase used in America to refer to people, usually black women, who are accused of collecting excessive welfare payments through fraud or manipulation. It is used to imply that all black women in need of assistance fit this description. Reporting on welfare fraud began during the early 1960s. It is worth noting, before that black people were usually considered not eligible. Since then, it has become a stigmatizing label placed on the recidivism of poor black mothers to create racial connotations.
Let’s change the narrative because there are different eligibility rules for the program, but federal law puts the upper income limit at 200 percent of the poverty line, currently $20,090 for a family of three. Many SNAP recipients qualify based on their participation in another means tested program, such as Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Yet, Right now, Congress is working on a compromise, which thanks to Republicans, will likely cut billions from food stamps, and leave millions of additional Americans without access to the nutrition they need to survive.
Therefore, ask yourself WTF can anyone, let alone a family do with or live on this small amount of money! All the while the conservative politicians see to it that corporations get trillions and often times paying no taxes at all. These are the American values! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…