- Series: Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion
- Paperback: 303 pages
- Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226293653
- ISBN-13: 978-0226293653
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
Gilens (political science, Yale Univ.) has written a provocative analysis of American attitudes toward welfare. Actually, he might have better titled his study Why Americans Hate Certain Kinds of Welfare, because he convincingly shows that most Americans actually support state assistance to the deserving poor, i.e., those who are not lazy and who actively seek employment. On the other hand, Americans overwhelmingly oppose welfare to those perceived as shiftless. This category has come to be associated with African Americans, partly through the medias long-term tendency to connect welfare with blacks. To prove this point, the book analyzes more than four decades of news reports on poverty. In the end, the author shows how racial stereotypes, not white self-interest or anti-statism, lie at the root of opposition to welfare programs. A well-written and thoughtful study on a timely subject.Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Why do Americans who want to "help the poor" have such negative attitudes toward "welfare" ? Yale University political science professor Gilens suggests the media are a primary culprit. Individualism and economic self-interest don't adequately explain white Americans' opposition to welfare. Using detailed analysis of surveys and other sources, Gilens traces this antipathy to portrayals in the media that "racialize" welfare and activate the ancient racial stereotype of African Americans as "lazy." The old notion of "the undeserving poor" is central here; many of those who want "an end to welfare as we know it" think government should be spending more, not less, to help poor people trying to support themselves. Gilens' study of how TV and newsmagazines "visualize" poverty may be controversial; he describes how racial stereotypes lead even liberal photo editors and producers to misrepresent the composition of America's poor people. Recognizing the complexity of these public attitudes, Gilens argues that well-conceived means-tested programs can achieve and maintain strong public support. Mary Carroll --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Welfare is an ugly truth made neccessary by the failings of capitism in the area of wealth distribution. Welfare is so often seen as a program for the poor when in fact it is a program that aid's the rich corporations. Only because of welfare can today's mega corporations afford to pay the minimum slave wages that maximize profits at the expense of hard working class people. Huge corporations and their disgusting ugly fat cat slob investors are getting rich off the blood and suffering of the working poor. Welfare is a sick system but, let's be clear on who reaps its rewards. A person ellegible for food stamps, section 8 housing or TANIF is hardly living the life of a QUEEN Welfare or otherwise. The true Queens of the Welfare Rackets are the corporations who rake in huge profits by paying employees so little in wages that they and their families qualify for entitlements mean to help the poorest of the poor in our nation.
Oh yes Welfare is a disgrace but their are many reasons and many vilians in the welfare mess and they are not always those you most suspect. Welfare has a corportate purpose in addition to functioning as a safety net for the poor. If corporations were forced to pay a living wage there would be no need for the disgrace of welfare as we know it. It is true welfare robs able bodied working people of the dignity that comes only with work, but corporate greed robs a hard working person of the respect that is owed a person who puts in an honest days hard work. Welfare is a two edged sword both edges cut equally deep in liberal and conservative scared cows. The book lays bare the foolish ideas that are the foundation of the USA's welfare state. Why Americans Hate Welfare is also a book about corporate greed run amuck and how walfare is part of the cost of doing business for those who mega corporate giants that grow fat by paying low skilled workers slave wages. Americans Hate Welfare true but we all know Americans hate higher prices that come with paying a living wage even more the book explores these concepts and does a reasonable but far from perfect job of it.
However, the book is a bore. Once you read the preface, introduction and first chapter you've basically finished the book. The rest explains each point- point by point. Interjected between points is explanations of each method used to analyze the point. Is examining the methods used to examine something overkill? Not in itself. However, Gilens drowns casual readers in analysis; and analysis of analysis. He seems to repeat himself often, as if restatement helps drive the point home. After several pages on a topic I could understand by reading a 1 page chart, I just wanted him to move on. Get to the point!
The insights are nothing new to those of use who ignored the dogmatic ramblings of both the ideological left and right for years. Gilens raises questions of racism and classism in people's opinions. That isn't anything new- to some of us
The book gets 4 stars only because of the extensiveness with which it examines the topic. Those intrested in Public Opinion, Welfare or the details of political research should check it out. Everyone else avoid.