Removing the Stigma: Welfare in the U.S.

Stereotypes of welfare recipients persist

USA Today’s recent article on food stamps is a perfect example of the way welfare recipients are vilified.

The article reported how 23 states are proposing to impose more regulations on welfare recipients.For example, people applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Colorado must pass a drug test to be eligible for aid.

“If you have enough money to be able to buy drugs, then you don’t need the public assistance. I don’t want tax dollars spent on drugs,” state Representative Jerry Sonnenberg who sponsored the law, is quoted as saying.

Jason Williamson, an attorney quoted in the article, said the laws are made under the assumption that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs, even when the statement is not true.

I agree with Williamson. Colorado’s proposed law and others like it are only serving to dehumanize people receiving government assistance.

Too often, society unjustly makes negative assumptions about recipients. Like the politicians sponsoring the laws, most people associate recipients with negative characteristics, such as irresponsibility or drug use, even if it is not true.

Laws like these must be repealed to stop the dehumanization of recipients. To change our culture and the way we view welfare recipients we must first take down the laws that support it.


3 comments on “Stereotypes of welfare recipients persist

  1. candelite
    March 30, 2012

    This is a very sad reality. The reality of drug abuse is that it is a disease, one that is also stigmatized and misunderstood by society. Even if a welfare recipient is a drug abuser, the disease works in such a way that one does not “Afford” the drugs, one is enslaved to them and will do anything to get that fix. A person in such a case needs help, not removal of services. As you mentioned earlier, it is the children who most often suffer.

    • Janice
      February 2, 2013

      I agree fully candelite. if you want to mandate drug testing then mandate services to help them as well. The children will suffer not the drug addict.

  2. hummingberd
    September 11, 2012

    Thank you candelite!!

    How did we get to a point where we believe “punishing” a drug addict, by withholding food, will change anything? Further indignities do nothing to solve our problems.

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2012 by and tagged , , , .
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