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Welfare Racism: Playing the Race Card Against America's Poor

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ISBN-13: 978-0415923415
ISBN-10: 0415923417
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kenneth J. Neubeck and coauthor Noel A. Cazenave, both sociology professors, argue that "racism shapes public assistance policies and practices." They examine the role of racism in the early twentieth century and state that "Mother's Pension" and other welfare programs established the pattern for the New Deal's Aid to Dependent Children program (ultimately, AFDC). Using case studies, they explore manipulation of racial stereotypes in 1960s battles over welfare in both the North and the South. The authors trace the racialized political backlash against welfare from the 1960s to the 1996 abolition of Aid to Families with Dependent Children and then examine this "welfare to work" legislation in terms of its race-control functions. Finally, the authors call for progressives to confront welfare racism and demand that government recognize its responsibility to mitigate the suffering of the poor. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


It is a powerful expose of a deeply-rooted form of racism that hits poor people in general, not just those of color...These engaged scholars clearly tell us all to open our eyes wide. -- Multidiversity
Welfare Racism shows the ways racist attitudes and administrative policies and practices have long undermined public assistance programs...More than most academic researchers who deal with welfare reform, Neubeck and Cazenave ask a range of critical political and moral questions about the meaning of welfare reform that moves the reader to wonder about who we are as a nation and what policymakers think about women, people of color, the poor, and the near poor...Welfare Racism is a well-documented study that show how welfare policy can be understood in connection with racialized public assistance attitudes, policymaking, and administrative practices that function to maintain white economic advantages over blacks. -- Contemporary Sociology 31, 4
Few social welfare scholars have provided a fully race-centered perspective on U.S. welfare policy. Neubeck and Cazenave's well-documented and readable study takes a giant step toward filling this unforgivable gap-without ignoring the dynamics of gender and class...The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand but also to change U.S. public policy. -- Mimi Abramovitz, author of Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States
Welfare racism is an important book. It forces the reader to rethink the contemporary history of welfare policy..This is a book that effectively brings to the surface the discriminatory nature of allegedly neutral social policies. And that is not just good scholarship; it is a significant public service. -- Sanford F. Schram, author of After Welfare: The Culture of Postindustrial Social Policy
[A] bracing and illuminating analysis that should change the way we think about American welfare policy..Neubeck and Cazenave show definitively that the politics of welfare cannot be explained unless we attend to contemporary racism. -- Francis Fox Piven, author of The Breaking of the American Social Compact
Whites have long believed that most welfare recipients and most poor people are black. Such myths are so stereotyped, irrational, and off the mark that they cry out for deeper structural and cultural analysis-which is provided with great depth and thoroughness in this momentous book. Bravo to this first comprehensive analysis of welfare racism in the United States! -- Joe R. Feagin, Professor of Sociology, University of Florida
[T]his is an important book which deserves to be widely read and discussed. It certainly succeeds in drawing attention to the on-going role of race in welfare policy. -- Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (August 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415923417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415923415
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By La Reyna on May 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
its racial/gender/class divisions played out before our very eyes on television as well as divisive commentaries on the racial/class impact on society by commentators, bloggers, and politicians. This book examines the racial/gender/class card played out by politicians, both left and right spectrums of the political ideology. How they used long-standing image of poor Black women with kids as a way to garner majority nonpoor voters who are tired of hearing Blacks' demands for greater equality in society. So they prefer listening to race and class-baiting politicians who promise law and order to the masses.

This book makes me thinks but it also makes me angry because as an affluent society, we failed to make sure that everyone has a place at the table. This is all I have to say right now.
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