The Census Bureau's most recent annual poverty report found that urban black mothers constitute less than one out of six of all poor households. Rural white families account for more--one out of five. White suburban families account for even more--one out of four.
So there goes that myth.
Myth #2: The poor are lazy.
Forty percent of poor adults work, although many cannot find full time jobs. Indeed, even when they do they may still be in poverty. Some 11 million jobs in 1991 paid less than $11,500, $2,000 under the official poverty level for a family of four. Of those poor adults who don't work, 90 percent fall into the following categories: 22 percent are disabled, 17 percent are in school, 21 percent are elderly retirees, 31 percent have family responsibilities.
Introducing The Working Poor...
Myth #3: Welfare mothers breed welfare daughters.
Two long term studies reported by the House Ways and Means Committee in 1992 found that only about one in five daughters of "highly welfare dependent" mothers themselves become highly dependent on welfare. The rest rely on welfare sporadically or not at all.
Breed though??? That's that Willie Lynch Lingo...
Myth #4: Throwing people off the welfare rolls will eventually improve their lives and save taxpayers money.
The most celebrated experiment in welfare reform has occurred in Michigan. Governor Engler completely eliminated his state's $240 million General Assistance(GA) payments to 83,000 childless, able bodied adults.Only 8 percent of these former GA recipients found employment and they earn
an average of only $120 a week. Many sell blood for $20 a pint. Over one third lost their homes when the program ended. As one study notes, if only 5 percent of these former GA recipients end up in prison or a state psychiatric institution all the taxpayer savings from ending General Assistance will be lost.
Kick 'em off welfare & put em in jail....mo money, mo money, mo money!
Myth #5: Welfare is cheaper than creating well paying public jobs.
In his book "Securing the Right to Employment", Philip Harvey calculates that in 1986 we could have achieved full employment by creating l0.4 million public service jobs. He further assumed that the average annual wage would be $13,000. The cost of such a program would have been a daunting $142 billion. But when we deduct from this sum the taxes that would be paid by these new workers and the savings from drastically reduced unemployment insurance payments, welfare , Medicaid, food stamps and other expenditures directly linked to low income and unemployment overall we would have spent $13 billion less. A full employment program, even excluding the social savings from reduced family violence, more stable communities, and less crime, pays for itself in reduced welfare expenditures.
If we can overcome these five myths about welfare we may well engage in a national dialogue with meaningful results, not only for the one in five Americans who now live in poverty, but for the nation as a whole. But this will occur only when we challenge and overcome the welfare myths that paralyze our thinking.
So why do these myths persist? Simply put, they're a distraction. While it's become common knowledge that Black Women in fact do NOT constitute the majority of Americans on Welfare, we're still buy debating that fact with those who continue to spout this nonsense. Worse than that we spend the rest of our time turning our noses up at those we perceive to be the embodiment of that myth. When we see a young black female with a slew of children we automatically assume they're all hers, they all have different fathers, none of whom she knows and our hard earned tax dollars are providing her a comfortable living. We never assume that maybe the young lady is married and her husband is serving our country in the armed forces, or worse, she's the young widow of a young serviceman. We never assume maybe she's babysitting, has a relatives kids for a short vacation spell. Maybe juuust maybe she's a mentor taking a group of kids on an outing. Don't let her have her hair and nails done, oh my goodness. She gets the ghetto welfare queen label stamped to her forehead. The fact is there are a lot of young women in our community who do have more than one young child. Who do seem to value their appearances far more than their children's welfare. We've always had that AND SO HAVE THEY. Trailer Park anyone? But what do WE do to reach out? What programs are there to provide these young ladies with Employment, Education, Social Skills, hell even Etiquette resources??? I recall being in a class not too long ago and the instructor had previously worked at an Employment Service. She related a story of a young lady coming in dressed extremely inappropriately with her boyfriend in tow, dressed just as appropriately. The instructor explained how the entire office snickered and whispered about the woman's attire and the perception she gave...welfare queen with 7 kids. So the instructor pulled her to the side and asked her what would possess her to dress the way she had to come into an employment service searching for a job. The young lady explained that she'd never been to a job placement center before and she wore the nicest clothes she felt she possessed. Basically in a nutshell, she had never experienced being in a professional setting and she simply didn't know any better. Sometimes we assume certain things should be common sense when in fact many things are simply a reflection of our experiences. Had the instructor not taken the time to isolate the young lady and have a discussion she may have never had the chance to learn what was and wasn't appropriate attire for the occasion.
Reaching out doesn't mean we have to offer to baby-sit any one's 8 be be kids. Sometimes it's as simple as finding out what a persons' hardship is and pointing them in the right direction. Directing them to the appropriate resources that will afford them to improve their particular situations. So it's time to relinquish the crown people. Stop getting caught up in the argument regarding who's on welfare and who isn't. Let's focus on the goal. Improving our community so no one will ever be able to make a blanket judgement of our values and morals. Y'all already know how I feel about that anyway...WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK, WE GOTTA DO US!!! As usual, leave your feedback. :-)