The Welfare Queen
Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign centered the story of Linda Taylor, branded by newspapers as a “welfare queen.” There was nothing typical about Taylor or her actions, but her case became an invidious stereotype — the scheming, minority welfare swindler, living high off the government dime and honest American taxpayers. Readers were led to think of her in racialized and criminalized terms as a Black woman. This sexist and racist term became a popular trope, which is still used in derogatory ways by lawmakers attempting to dismantle or de-fund the safety net.
Josh Levin, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth (Thorndike Press, 2019).
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be