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Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy
     

Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy

by Martin Gilens
 

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Tackling one of the most volatile issues in contemporary politics, Martin Gilens's work punctures myths and misconceptions about welfare policy, public opinion, and the role of the media in both. Why Americans Hate Welfare shows that the public's views on welfare are a complex mixture of cynicism and compassion; misinformed and racially charged, they

Overview

Tackling one of the most volatile issues in contemporary politics, Martin Gilens's work punctures myths and misconceptions about welfare policy, public opinion, and the role of the media in both. Why Americans Hate Welfare shows that the public's views on welfare 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.

"With one out of five children currently living in poverty and more than 100,000 families with children now homeless, Gilens's book is must reading if you want to understand how the mainstream media have helped justify, and even produce, this state of affairs." —Susan Douglas, The Progressive
"Gilens's well-written and logically developed argument deserves to be taken seriously." —Choice

"A provocative analysis of American attitudes towards 'welfare.'. . . [Gilens] shows how racial stereotypes, not white self-interest or anti-statism, lie at the root of opposition to welfare programs." -Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

John Harwood
...[T]he most important contribution of Martin Gilens' Why Americans Hate Welfare is to identify the responsibility of...the journalistic community...in turning the welfare issue into a racial Rorschach test.
The Washington Monthly
Library Journal
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
Booknews
African Americans make up 29% of the American poor, yet two-thirds of poor Americans shown in news stories on television and in magazines are black. Gilens (political science, Yale U.) untangles the complicated attitudes Americans have about poverty, welfare, and race, and proves that news organizations routinely "racialize" stories on poverty and have been doing so for decades. He links this racialization of poverty to current public opinion about the role of welfare in American society. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226293660
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/13/2009
Series:
Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
303
Sales rank:
708,800
File size:
5 MB

What People are Saying About This

Fay Lomax Cook
...goes to the heart of one of the central issues of the day—race and the place of African Americans in the U.S.
— Fay Lomax Cook. coauthor of Support for the American Welfare State

Meet the Author

Martin Gilens is an associate professor of political science and a fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University.

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