Welfare: Are they lazy, or is it a result of oppression?

Our class conversation this past week about welfare and the analysis of people on welfare was very interesting.  This is a topic that really opened my mind because I had not thought about, or been exposed to both sides of this argument. 
              Some students commented that people on welfare were lazy and should be drug tested because many do not work and they just receive money for being poor and are able to live without working and sometimes being alcoholics or addicts. 

The counter argument consisted of multiple points, which were also very interesting.  A fact is that many of the poor people on welfare are not white, so this becomes a targeted issue for certain ethnicities in the minority. 

It was agreed that some of these people on welfare were alcoholics or drug addicts, but a the question that arises is; are these people on welfare because they are addicts, or does the fact that they are poor result to them becoming addicts? 

The question then arises, because these people are oppressed because of their race or social status isn’t welfare the best option for them?  If you were in their position of hardship, and the only other option would be to have a minimum wage job with poor working conditions, wouldn’t you prefer to be on welfare as well?  In addition, if you lived in those conditions, and drug use would help ‘numb the pain’ and make their situation feel better would you do the same thing?

I think all of these questions that were asked were very interesting, and it gives a many questions to think about in this interesting argument.  After hearing this topic discussed, I believe that many people who are on welfare are oppressed and don’t have many options of which way to take their professional life.  Many people are making more on welfare than having a minimum wage job and in their situation it makes more sense to be on welfare than be exposed to the poor working conditions.  I also consulted a link about welfare;

MYTH: People are poor because they are addicts or alcoholics.

FACT: Alcoholism and addiction are not limited to poor people: they are found at all levels of society, up to the Presidency. While epidemiologists debate whether alcoholism and addiction are most likely to be found in certain social classes or ethnic groups than others, they generally agree that they are more likely to be the result of the stresses of poverty than the primary cause. Something to remember, though, is that addiction often depends on availability. The addictions of poor people are limited by income. Compare this to physicians, for instance, who have the greatest exposure and easiest access to opiates: their addiction rates are higher than those of most if not all other professional groups, but they are not living in poverty.


– Jake Woodring


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