Welfare Fraud : A Black Woman

1289 Words6 Pages
People developed over time with the help of the media, the label of the black mother who lives on welfare, yet is able to afford a Cadillac. Her name was Linda Taylor, a Chicagoan who was infamously known to changing her name numerous times, participating in welfare fraud, and ultimately living a well-off life based on her scams. The Chicago Tribune was the first to refer to Taylor as being a “welfare queen.” Media and politics stereotyped the “welfare queen” as a black woman who takes advantages of taxpayers and the system. This negative stereotype is socially constructed term that wrongly describes people, specifically women, who are blamed for collecting an unfair amount of welfare payments through fraud or scamming. During the early 1960s, welfare fraud became increasingly popular and was featured in numerous magazines. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1976 on the platform of fixing welfare problems and used the Chicagoan woman as an example, without explicitly saying her name, to demonstrate welfare fraud that the phrase became popular. Since then, the defaming label applied to poor mothers has been associated with gender and racial implications, further shaping the discourse of welfares’ effects on poverty. The “welfare queen” can be analyzed by two competing explanations: Oscar Lewis’s theory of the culture of poverty and the social construction of race, also known as racial formation. Oscar Lewis (1959) in his book, Five Families: Mexican
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