Home > african american bloggers, African American News, african american politics > Glenda Westerfield: So, CNN Thinks that the Face of Welfare is Black?

Glenda Westerfield: So, CNN Thinks that the Face of Welfare is Black?

glenda westerfield, cnn, welfare, african americans, black politics

by Glenda Westerfield, JD

I was sitting on my bed with my daughter yesterday, participating in a familiar bonding ritual.  We were painting each other’s nails and watching CNN.  The broadcaster, polished and hair sprayed to a plastic sheen, announced that a “staggering 46 million Americans receive food stamps” and that Brian Todd would introduce us to a man on the program.  As I watched in anticipation, I said aloud to no one in particular “It better not be a Black man.”

Brian Todd meandered along a dirty Washington DC street.  As the camera followed, Brian announced that 1 in 7 Americans received food stamps this year; and that Frederick Mack, an out of work cook living in transitional housing symbolized  the staggering rise of  Americans on the foods tamp program.  Frederick Mack is indeed Black, and I was absolutely livid when I saw him.

The stereotypical image of the lazy, poor, out of work Black man and the modern day Mammie, uneducated, single, with multiple children, just waiting to collect a handout  is deeply embedded in American culture.   The belief in a whole race of   ne’er do wells is so pervasive , that when I peruse  news articles online, I no longer read the comments left by readers because they seem to always turn to vile statements about “lazy Blacks” collecting aid and draining the resources of the country. There is always the inevitable comment about our President; and the moniker “FOODSTAMP KING”   has stuck like glue ever since a GOP party representative labeled him with it.

The Media is always ready and willing to show the public racist images and opinions, masterfully weaving them into the American fabric.  Mention of the Bush administration’s campaign to make it easier to apply for food stamps and erase the stigma of doing so was absent from the public eye (The USDA even renamed the program, calling it  ‘nutritional aid’ instead of  welfare) and no one volunteered to name him the FOODSTAMP KING.  The fact that up until recent years, the majority of single females receiving public aid were White Women with 2.5 children has always been overlooked when the media is involved. It seems that there are no news cameras in Appalachia, following the large percentage of White children and families who are food stamp recipients.  In addition, the working class two parent family that can‘t seem to make ends meet in this economy is seldom shown.  The suburban families who lost homes and jobs to the recession who are coming in droves to aid offices in California, Ohio, and wealthy parts of Atlanta (According to a New York Times Article in 2009, Forsyth County, once called ‘whitopia’, has a swiftly growing populace of Americans receiving food stamps) have been overlooked on the news.

CNN always prides itself for fair and neutral reporting.  However, when they picked Frederick Mack to “symbolize”   the many number of poor Americans hit hard by the economy, they left fair and neutral behind and stuck to the same old stereotypes.





    August 13, 2011 at 3:42 am

    FYI. In case anybody did not know. In 1996 when the so call welfare reform was done by the BLEEDING “A” HOLE NEO CONDOM CUNSERVATIVE REPUPLICLANSMEN. The population of Amerikaa was 85 percent white and 55 percent of them were on welfare as opposed to the 12 percent of the popoulation was Black and 9 percent of them were on welfare. Until now in percentage paricipationp[atrons on welfare. Whites still out PACE Blacks for being dead beats on welfare.

    August 13, 2011 at 3:52 am


  3. August 13, 2011 at 4:06 am

    I once saw a follow story on CNN about some poor kids in Africa trying to save their village school. The views of the story sent the school enough money to save the school and expand it.

  4. cmiseagle1013
    August 13, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Its sad that a t.v. station such as CNN would point out only blacks and give a stereotype picture of African Americans are lazy and only wants to recieve government funding. First of all CNN should be speaking on the root of the problems in our country that has so many blacks on assistant anyway and that is a topic on so many companies who are white dominated hires so few blacks among them and hires more asians and whites. Maybe if more blacks get hired on jobs, the ones who are on governement assistance wouldnt be on it. Also CNN should not point blacks out personally on Welfare because with this economy being like it is right now , it just as many whites on givernment assistance then blacks and also living on the streets. Shame on you CNN. Speak the Truth.

  5. cmiseagle1013
    August 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

    cmiseagle1013 :Its sad that a t.v. station such as CNN would point out only blacks and give a stereotype picture of African Americans are lazy and only wants to recieve government funding. First of all CNN should be speaking on the root of the problems in our country that has so many blacks on assistant anyway and that is a topic on so many companies who are white dominated hires so few blacks among them and hires more asians and whites. Maybe if more blacks got hired on jobs, the ones who are on government assistance wouldnt be on it. Also CNN should not point blacks out personally on Welfare because with the economy being like it is right now , it’s just as many whites on government assistance then blacks and also living on the streets. Shame on you CNN. Speak the Truth.

  6. jaleelshkr
    August 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    We should know by now that the main stream media ( t v, all of hollow wood and all so-called
    entertainment) is owned by the enemy of man ( mind) called satan.

  7. August 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I am so glad people are changing their focus to something other than FOX news disseminating questionable information. I have told people for years CNN and MSNBC are not your friends either.

  8. ann told
    August 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    There are a large number of hispanics on welfare .did you know that in california illegals qualify for emergency aid because theyre children are citizens ? Worked in a welfare office and 99% of the people appying for aid wer either hispanic or white and now there are more asians

  9. D.a.g
    August 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    We know this (Amerikkka) is the land of the and the home of the brave, from sea to shinning sea; however, Amerikkka requires a boogeyman. It has the same philosophy as all Western European nations that is the I verses It cicely regarding the whole of humanity. The European is I in this equation. Every other being and source of life is “it”.

  10. Linda
    August 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I recently lived among a community of poor black people in North Long Beach, CA which is a suburb of Los Angeles comprised of mostly black and Hispanics. My neighbors were predominantly black. I don’t know if they are representative of the general black population in the United States, but here’s what I saw while living among them for 6 months this past year. All the black women that I met with the exception of two fine, lovely women (who happened to be mother and daughter), had multiple children by multiple baby daddies. My next door neighbor, Jessica was just 17 and had a 14-month-old daughter by one man and was pregnant with a second child by another man. She and her younger 14-yr-old sister, Tati had the same mother but also different fathers. Their mother lives in Colorado since she’d abandoned her daughters to basically become a full-time crack addict. Their grandmother Yolanda took care of them but up until 6 months before I met them, they’d been homeless. But here’s what I don’t get, how could they be homeless when there is plenty of cheap section 8 housing in the area and Yolanda gets a $1400 monthly welfare check for being Tati’s legal guardian and Jessica also received a check (not sure how much) for her daughter each month. They also get food stamps and don’t have to pay a dime for groceries (again, not sure how much). Maybe it’s because Yolanda liked to drink 3-4 bottles of Boone’s and smoke a pack of Newport Menthols a day. No joke. Anyway, Jessica and her sister, Tati and her grandmother, Yolanda were a typical family in this neighborhood – all living off of welfare with not a single person holding down a job. Where are the men in the picture? Going in and out of prison of course. And no, this is no joke either. Every single black man that I met during my 6 months in that neighborhood had been to prison multiple times. No exceptions. Every one of them had been to prison for one or more of the following crimes: robbery, grand theft auto, child molestation, murder, illegal possession of a firearm, etc. Of course, none of them were working either. Need I go on? Ladies and gentleman, no this is not some dream I had last night. This is reality. This is how poor black people live day in and day out. I know that there are more whites on welfare than blacks but the perecentage of blacks on welfare relative to the black population in this country is greater. So get your facts straight. What I saw was not just one poor black family living off of welfare but literally every black family in that neighborhood was living off of welfare. And it was generations of welfare recipients – grandmothers, granddaughters and great granddaughters all on welfare!

  11. Lynn
    August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    No this is not your typical black family, and the statistics will show that there is a larger simular scene such as this in the rural areas of this country that no ones talks about. Most blacks receiving food stamps receive them when jobs are loss to hold over and not a permently fix. This group would be a larger group percentage wise only because blacks are not hired as quickly as whites. To believe anything else is to belive there is no racism in America.

  12. Linda
    August 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Lynn, I absolutely believe that racism still exists in America. My own parents are very racist. My father in particular hates black people. Maybe because he was held up at gun point by a black man when he first immigrated here and opened up a business in Compton, CA back in the 70s when Compton was a hotbed of crime. I’m not saying that my dad should be lauded for his racist stance, but at the same time, I get it. Funny though, he loves President Obama as much as I do. 🙂

    I also believe that the effects of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation took a toll on black Americans and that they cannot (and may not ever) rebound from this so quickly. I understand why there are so many poor blacks living on welfare and I also understand how the system has kept them oppressed. Imagine being told that because of the color of your skin, you were less than human. Imagine being punished for trying to get an education. I can’t imagine it since I’m not black and this is not my history.

    But you know what? While living among these people that I described in my last post, I looked for some glimmer of hope, even a hint of change. I looked for some sign that these people were not ignorant and that they realized their predicament and were willing to take a stand to somehow better their lives. And sadly, there was none. NO ONE had a college degree. NO ONE even wanted to attempt going to college. Not surprising since Education was not prized or valued or encouraged in that community. No, women were literally encouraged to start popping out babies around 16 or 17. No birth control. Jessica, the 17-yr-old who was pregnant with her second child – she smoked marijuana and drank alcohol during the entire time I was her neighbor. She was 2 months pregnant when I met her. I was sickenened just at the sight of her. And what did her grandmother do? NOTHING. She claimed Jessica had to smoke pot because of her morning sickness! Incredible!

    Does anyone remember the 1992 Rodney King riots? I lived through that nightmare and stood near the TV with my jaw agape at the senseless violence. The looting and rioting WAS NOT AN ANGRY RESPONSE TO THE VERDICT ANYMORE. Maybe it was in the beginning but it became very evident to the Americans glued to the TV that these people (of all races, but mostly blacks) were like animals out of control. Who behaves like that?! People who are ignorant, uneducated and use violence as an excuse to try to justify their perceived anger at the oppression of the black people by the white man. But you know what? I’m not buying it anymore. During the entire 6 months that I lived among those blacks, there was not one white man who came along and oppressed them. No, the black people in that community were their own worst enemies. Fighting and killing each other! Stealing from and ripping off each other! Take some responsibility for your own actions!

  13. Susie
    August 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    cleo jones :
    I am so glad people are changing their focus to something other than FOX news disseminating questionable information. I have told people for years CNN and MSNBC are not your friends either.

    I so agree with you, Attorney Westerfield. I began questioning CNN’s validity and veracity when they first aired the program “about” “Black America” and Soledad O’Brian was the narrator. I have been Black all of my life and the Black people I grew up around were highly educated (as in, they had college degrees, plus Ph.D.’s, M.D.’s, J.D.s, & other post graduate credentials). The Black people I knew were well-spoken, and they had jobs that supported their families. Now, after over 60 years of being Black, I also know Black people who are more in the middle level, & SOME who are below. That means I know more people (Black and white) & that makes my experience more factual.
    When I was a child, I thought ALL Black people were like the ones I saw while growing up (educated & self-supporting). All of the Black families shown in that so-called documentary were SO unlike the Black people I knew! I couldn’t even watch the 2nd [so-called documentary]. They/media including CNN & those mentioned by Dr./Attorney Westerfield “think” that what they report is truth. Some people blindly accept their (media’s) reports as truth. I prefer to rely on my own knowledge of Black people & white people, and I have tried to instill that ability to discern into my children, who are now adults. We should recognize that truth should be based on FACTS, and the sampling used to report that truth should include a majority of the people (on which you are reporting), not just the ones YOU (CNN) want to portray. There is a song that says, “Whose report shall we believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord!”

  14. Milo
    August 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Hate to be the one to rain on y’alls parade, but the reason more whites than blacks are on welfare is that there are a lot more whites than blacks in the country. The percentage of blacks on welfare far exceeds the percentage of whites on welfare. This is not a criticism of blacks, mind you; blacks are generally a lot poorer than whites, so it is to be expected that more of them are on welfare. But let’s not throw correct math out the window.

  15. Walter
    August 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Let me say that I have worked the same Job for 16 years and at one time I was geetting Wick for my children. The formula was very exspencesive and I did’nt feel any less of a man because I was getting what I had paid into for 35 years I have always had a job thank God. Even New york policemen and fireman are getting aide weather it’s housing or food, I read and I take the news with very little concern that they will tell us the truth. As far as who is the wealth fare king.we are all a pay check away from being homeless and hungry.

  16. Michael
    August 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I grew up in a town in Northern Illinois and worked in an employment agency, doing outreach work and employment counseling. Blacks there were discriminated against in every way, including employment (very few places would hire QUALIFIED blacks), housing (red-lining, block-busting), education (remember “Dr. Darling” voted on the school board due to his stand against “forced busing”?), etc., etc.. Not to mention police brutality!! Just sickening! Young, talented blacks would just move away…to places that offered some opportunity… There are some blacks who still have the “slave mentality”, are uneducated, unaware of their history and in need of guidance. But the overwhelming majority of the ones I grew up around were ALWAYS making the effort to find and hold jobs, raise their children and take responsibility for themselves. Thank the Republicans and corporations for media consolidation, which is really the problem here..

  17. Milo
    August 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    “But the overwhelming majority of the ones I grew up around were ALWAYS making the effort to find and hold jobs, raise their children and take responsibility for themselves.”

    That is awesome. The more blacks that do this, the more these negative stereotypes will go away. It may take some time, but it will happen.

  18. Milo
    August 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Walter – you are absolutely right – there is no shame in taking assistance from the government, especially after paying taxes for 16 years. As far as being just 1 “pay check away from being homeless and hungry,” I would counsel everyone to build up a few months worth of savings so this does not happen to them.

  19. August 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    The media has always depicted the black family as one with such great need of state or federal support. There’s not one news program that i trust with the truth for the black community. We once had our own news but that was sold. I beleive when we become proud again of who we and not with whom we are told we are, than and only than can we win and prove our truest idenity.

  20. john
    August 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Over 70% of black children are born to a single mother. That is hard cold fact. That is the problem. Black males make up only about 6% of the total population but commit 46-48% of ALL murders. That is hard cold fact. One of the major indicators of poverty and poor academic perfomance is being born to a single mother, especially a teen mother. And it doesn’t matter what ethnic group. The major problem in the black community is the lack of marriage and fathers who stay married with their families. Blacks who are married and have children have a much lower percentage of poverty. However the black community and its leadership would rather always point fingers and place blame in other directions. This problem needs to be addressed in a serious way.

  21. Linda
    August 19, 2011 at 7:08 am

    ITA with John. Let’s look at some cold hard facts here. Why are there so many poor black families that have 3 generations who have lived/are living off of welfare???? I witnessed an entire community in North Long Beach, CA doing this and taking advantage of the system. I spoke to blacks who knew how to manipulate the system to make sure that they got their welfare checks each month. Did they have a desire to get educated? No. Did they have a desire to work? No. It’s a sad, vicious cycle.

  22. john
    August 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Well I am not here to put down the black community nor make across the board statements. My only point is that until the family issue is dealt with in the black community you will see poverty which leads to violence, low test scores and other problems. I would love to see a strong black community, it would make the country stronger and a better place to live. And I acknowledge that past racism and segregation have played a role in the breakdown of the black community. But this problem can only be addressed by the black community itself and its leaders. Recently in Chicago a pregnant seventeen year old mother to be was gunned down in the black community. It was no doubt a terrible tragedy. But almost as tragic was the fact that this seventeen year old gir was expecting her SECOND child – all of this in the Chicago Sun Times. No seventeen year should be having their second child! How can you possibly NOT live in poverty when you have two kids by the time you’re seventeen.People today always say ‘don’t be judgmental’ well maybe we should start to be! And I know many older black people feel the same way….

  23. td250
    August 20, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Horray to you Sir, I am in total agreement regarding this child. We have got to do something about this kinds of breakdowns in our community. When are we going to begin to make some simple decisions about our families and their future.

  24. Joab
    August 20, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Plenty of us work hard, live right, and wear condoms. But I also know there are plenty of us that don’t. They gotta shape up and get right.

  25. td250
    August 20, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Wearing condoms doesn’t fix anything? honoring god’s word is what will call things to get better.

  26. America's Conscience
    August 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    It amazes me how people can say cold hard facts when they don’t know the facts, they are most likely; reporting something someone else said. The lady who claims to have lived in a community with black folks for 6 months and unofficially declared her so call testimony a truth about everybody in the community is a liar. She felt disgust with the people she lived around and only lived there for one of two reasons, she was either in transition or she was there to report a misguided opinion. She did not know all the people there. She did not report any findings by the local government services that provided relief from all the people she claim received services; she did not report how she knows that all the people did not want or did not have an education; she did not even reveal why she was there.

    Secondly, the man who claims that the percentage of blacks receiving welfare is disproportionate per black capital than that of white per capital is misleading. He was right to point out that the percentage of whites receiving services is higher because the population is larger, but he failed to establish that the larger number exceeds whatever the relationship of the per capital because the larger number is always larger, therefore the drain is always comprised of the ones who represent the larger capital.

    His stats are not reliable when it come to reporting the murders per alleged races also. What he did not include in his reporting is that the murder rates are based on convictions not incidents; equally uncompromising is how blacks and whites are charged differently for same or similar crimes in addition to the racial make up of the jury. Another telltale sign of his lies is that he does not report that plea bargains are culprit in statistical hard core facts he so proudly tout. I wonder if he believes that all black men want to have sex with white women, he believes all the other hype.

  27. Joab
    August 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    td250 – darn right wearing condoms fixes things – I’m not anyone’s “baby daddy” because I use them. That means I ain’t causing a lot of single moms to be out there, and that means less welfare is being taken. The folks I see not wearing condoms are the ones that were brought up by only a mom. Unlike them, I had a real man (my dad) who brought me up right, and taught me to take reponsability for myself.

  28. Linda
    August 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

    @Joab: Good for you Joab! The black community needs more fathers like yours. All the black fathers I saw in North Long Beach (every effin’ single one of them) were either absentee dads, drunks, drug addicts, drug dealers, gambling junkies, and all ex-cons. Not a lie. Like I said, it’s a vicious cycle and something needs to be done about the lack of good male role models in poor black communities.

    @America’s Conscience: So I’m a liar, eh? You don’t know me and you don’t know any of the black people that were my neighbors for 6 months. It’s sad that you have to resort to namecalling to prove a point instead of making an educated argument. Head over to 2921 E. Artesia Blvd. in North Long Beach, CA and say hello to my old neighbors for me, will you? Ask Jessica and Tatiana if their grandmother still beats them when she gets drunk off her Boone’s every day. Ask Jonathan if his dad, Kenny has stopped gambling his welfare checks away and has finally bought his 14-yr-old son a backpack, notebook and pencils for school. Ask Shonda if her husband Terell is still on parole after molesting a little girl? By the way, every person mentioned above is living on welfare and they are families with generations of welfare recipients. And every male mentioned above has been in and out of prison multiple times. Don’t forget to say hello for me!

  29. td250
    August 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    It istrue that the black community needs fathers to be more responsible, however we can preach and talk and have meeting all we want but if a man does not make right choices things will never change for us or our communities. The fact remain that black people for some reason still believe that this country will somehow change its mintality of how we’ve been treated, truth be told, nothing is going to change unles Washington DC changes. That where all the power flows from. With that change America will begin the transition.

  30. Glenda Westerfield
    November 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I appreciate your story (the same one you keep beating us over the head with)…but how does living in ONE neighborhood for a 6 month period of time give you insight on how ALL Black families live, especially those who may need aid. I can go down the street right now to the trailer parks and report the same thing you have, but use the word Caucasion instead of Black. I can then use that cross section as my “cold hard facts” when reporting as you have. However, I did actual research.
    As far as the numbers, America’s Conscience is right. Read his/her comment. John did not factor those conditions into his “percentages” (I am a Criminal Law attorney by trade. I pay attention to those numbers. They are important to me and my community).
    Bottom line, I was not writing to begin pointing fingers about what race is doing what. I was pointing out that CNN is creating stigma and promoting stereotypes. But, of course, there are always those who are ready to twist the main point and use it for their own personal prejudicial platform. Linda, you may be trying to avoid your father’s footsteps, but you may want to look down and see exactly where it is you are treading. Your blanket statements and assumptions could very well be taken for racist propaganda. However, given the fact that your Father (who you stated is an immigrant…which makes his position on Blacks ironic) let one bad encounter with ONE Black person scar him forever, I can see where you might have picked up your ability to generalize.

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