Welfare: Black faces televised White missing

Mary Lou Henneman
St. Paul, MN

Black faces continue to be portrayed as the face of Welfare for televised commentaries and Black voices for radio broadcasts about the welfare system. Although, according to the KSTP.com website where I live, “Forty percent of MFIP-eligible caregivers are white, 37 percent are black, 9 percent are American Indian, 6 percent are Asian (including Pacific Islanders), 6 percent are Hispanic (an ethnic category that is coded as a race in keeping with U.S. Census Bureau practice) and 2 percent report multiple racial/ethnic backgrounds,” seldom do you see White faces or hear as many other ethnic voices represented on media broadcasts about welfare. It reminds me of the reporting that was done on the looting of stores during Katrina: White reporters claiming they witnessed Black persons looting a flooded store, while others reported white people as gathering supplies for their families. The media needs to do everything they can to make conscious the ‘unconscious biases’ that exists within them (and all of us) or to at least acknowledge publicly that they are aware that they may be biased about something they are reporting.


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