Racial Discrimination Within the Welfare System

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When Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated president in 1933, he acted fast to provide relief to those who were in need. On June 8, 1934, Roosevelt sent a message to congress that guaranteed a plan for social insurance as a safety net “against the hazards and vicissitudes of life.” Then, only fourteen months later, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social security Bill in into law (Martin and Weaver).

The Social Security Bill enabled several states to make more adequate arrangements for people over sixty-five, blind people, crippled adults and children, public health, and unemployment compensation. The act also included programs that promoted the health and welfare of children. Under this, Welfare was created.

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Welfare is a government program that gives financial aid to people who can’t support themselves. Welfare is paid by tax payers’ money, and because of this, many people find the welfare system susceptible to be being taken advantage of.

Although many people think this, many facts prove that to be untrue or hypocritical. The welfare system has been discriminatory since it has been created, which in return has led to discrimination for minorities in everyday life.

During the 1930’s and 40’s racial discrimination made it almost unimaginable for blacks to get involved in programs such as Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), which would allow low income families to get financial aid to support their children. In fact, at this time the majority of single mothers using ADC were Caucasian. Due to the extreme hatred of minorities at this time in history, it was unimaginably hard for especially blacks to earn and income. So, they were taking any job they could get. Because of this, many were paid in cash, which made them unqualified for social programs such as ADC. These issues continued, and even got worse through the 50’s and 60’s (Carten).

The 50’s and 60’s was known as the time of prosperity. The economy grew by about 37% during this time. By the end of the decade, the average American family had about 30% more purchasing power than ever before (Shmoop). While life improved for whites, it was quite the opposite for blacks. Black women were particularly discriminated against in the welfare system at this time. There were different requirements and rules such as the “man in the house rule,” where workers would check to see if a man was in the house at any time of the night, and if he was, welfare benefits would be taken away. This was quite unconstitutional but allowed and accepted in the southern states. There were also requirements that the welfare recipient had to have an exceptionally clean house. If this was not followed through, welfare workers could take welfare away from the recipients (Ackerman).

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