Stuff White People Don’t Like: White women being forced to ‘live on welfare’ like those ‘lazy black people’

Over at The New York Times I read a piece discussing recent cuts in child care subsidies; and how they negatively impacting single mothers. The article told the story of Alexandria Wallace, a 22yr old single mother struggling to find employment in our tough economy.

Ironically, Alexandria lives in the state of Arizona, and she is also white. And as you know, all eyes are on Arizona given their recent “effective”  legislative introductions to their resident. Check out Alexandria’s story as highlighted and titled, The New Poor: Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers:
TUCSON — Able-bodied, outgoing and accustomed to working, Alexandria Wallace wants to earn a paycheck. But that requires someone to look after her 3-year-old daughter, and Ms. Wallace, a 22-year-old single mother, cannot afford child care.

Last month, she lost her job as a hair stylist after her improvised network of baby sitters frequently failed her, forcing her to miss shifts. She qualifies for a state-run subsidized child care program. But like many other states, Arizona has slashed that program over the last year, relegating Ms. Wallace’s daughter, Alaya, to a waiting list of nearly 11,000 eligible children.

Despite a substantial increase in federal support for subsidized child care, which has enabled some states to stave off cuts, others have trimmed support, and most have failed to keep pace with rising demand, according to poverty experts and federal officials.

That has left swelling numbers of low-income families struggling to reconcile the demands of work and parenting, just as they confront one of the toughest job markets in decades.

The cuts to subsidized child care challenge the central tenet of the welfare overhaul adopted in 1996, which imposed a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance. Under the change, low-income parents were forced to give up welfare checks and instead seek paychecks, while being promised support — not least, subsidized child care — that would enable them to work.

Now, in this moment of painful budget cuts, with Arizona and more than a dozen other states placing children eligible for subsidized child care on waiting lists, only two kinds of families are reliably securing aid: those under the supervision of child protective services — which looks after abuse and neglect cases — and those receiving cash assistance.

Ms. Wallace abhors the thought of going on cash assistance, a station she associates with lazy people who con the system. Yet this has become the only practical route toward child care.

So, on a recent afternoon, she waited in a crush of beleaguered people to submit the necessary paperwork. Her effort to avoid welfare through work has brought her to welfare’s door.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” she says. “I fall back to — I can’t say ‘being a lowlife’ — but being like the typical person living off the government. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to use this as a backbone, so I can develop my own backbone.” (read more)Now of course the larger issue here is that states are cutting back on programs that provides funding for child-care. They are doing so even after the Obama administration added $2 billion the $5 billion the federal gov’t gives to states for said programs in last years Stimulus. The Obama administration has also proposed a $1.6 billion dollar increase in funding for the 2011 fiscal year. However, I do take issue with the presentation centering on single white mothers as “the new poor”. Ethnicity aside, I think what Arizona and other states have done, dangerously sets low-income, single unemployed mothers back.

I’m guessing featuring a few black single mothers just isn’t provocative enough. After all, who really cares about the struggles of black women, right? Instead, as always, nothing is perceived to be a “problem” unless non-minorities are affected. Surely the negative views of welfare expressed in the article was that of  the two white women they featured. However, I think that much of what they believe, has been largely shaped by longstanding negative stereotypes of black women; and black people in general, as it relates to social programs.

Hopefully with more sympathy from non-minorities to the plight of “the new poor”, more people would be moved to voice their concerns. After all, these are circumstances many minorities have managed to endure while remaining voiceless. Here’s to also hoping, that nobody asks questions as to the whereabouts of the fathers of these children. You know, sorta like they do when stories like these involves women of color?