Normal view MARC view ISBD view

Why Americans hate welfare : race, media, and the politics of antipoverty policy / Martin Gilens.

By: Gilens, Martin.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Studies in communication, media, and public opinion: Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1999Description: xii, 296 p. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0226293645 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780226293646 (cloth : alk. paper).Subject(s): Public welfare in mass media | Racism in mass media | Mass media and public opinion -- United States | Racism -- United States | Public welfare -- United States | Public opinion -- United StatesDDC classification: 070.4/493616 Other classification: 71.80 | 05.30
Contents:
The American welfare state: public opinion and public policy -- Individualism, self-interest, and opposition to welfare -- Racial attitudes, the undeserving poor, and opposition to welfare -- Assessing alternative explanations: statistical models of welfare attitudes -- The news media and the racialization of poverty -- Media distortions: causes and consequences -- Racial stereotypes and public responses to poverty -- Beyond the attitude survey: public opinion and antipoverty policy -- The politics of the American welfare state.
Review: "Drawing on surveys of public attitudes and analyses of more than forty years of television and newsmagazine stories on poverty, Gilens demonstrates how public opposition to welfare is fed by a potent combination of racial stereotypes and misinformation about the true nature of America's poor. But white Americans don't oppose welfare simply because they think it benefits blacks; rather, they think it benefits "undeserving" blacks who would rather live off the government than work, a perception powerfully fueled by the media's negative coverage of the black poor." "The public's views on welfare, Gilens shows, are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion; misinformed and racially charged, they nevertheless reflect both a distrust of welfare recipients and a desire to do more to help the "deserving" poor."--Jacket.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
P96.P842 U654 1999 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001472216

Includes bibliographical references (p. [235]-279) and index.

The American welfare state: public opinion and public policy -- Individualism, self-interest, and opposition to welfare -- Racial attitudes, the undeserving poor, and opposition to welfare -- Assessing alternative explanations: statistical models of welfare attitudes -- The news media and the racialization of poverty -- Media distortions: causes and consequences -- Racial stereotypes and public responses to poverty -- Beyond the attitude survey: public opinion and antipoverty policy -- The politics of the American welfare state.

"Drawing on surveys of public attitudes and analyses of more than forty years of television and newsmagazine stories on poverty, Gilens demonstrates how public opposition to welfare is fed by a potent combination of racial stereotypes and misinformation about the true nature of America's poor. But white Americans don't oppose welfare simply because they think it benefits blacks; rather, they think it benefits "undeserving" blacks who would rather live off the government than work, a perception powerfully fueled by the media's negative coverage of the black poor." "The public's views on welfare, Gilens shows, are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion; misinformed and racially charged, they nevertheless reflect both a distrust of welfare recipients and a desire to do more to help the "deserving" poor."--Jacket.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Gilens's answer to the question "Why do Americans hate welfare?" is that white Americans believe that welfare is primarily a "giveaway" program for blacks, whom they see as lacking a commitment to work. Based on survey research data, Gilen (Yale) argues that these historically rooted stereotypes are promoted by subconsciously biased media portrayals of poverty that are not related to any general antipathy to blacks. Americans, he says, are otherwise generally supportive of government programs to alleviate poverty. These conflicting and confusing trends in public opinion constitute the main reason why government is not willing to pursue antipoverty programs. Gilens's well-written and logically developed argument deserves to be taken seriously. The book offers many insights into the nature of welfare policy and its relation to public opinion. However, the author's pluralist perspective leads him away from considering how the structure of the political and economic system creates a context for the phenomena he describes. Gilens appears to believe that welfare policy is based on misunderstandings and misperceptions across the board. Other analysts would argue that more concrete interests are at stake, especially among the elite. Those who wish to consider Gilens's perspective should read this book. Undergraduate, graduate, and faculty collections. M. Engel; Westfield State College

There are no comments for this item.

Log in to your account to post a comment.