fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Welfare royalty take their message to the stage

welfareQUEENS the play

There’s a performance on the west coast that’s making royal what has historically been deemed irresponsible.

welfareQUEENS is a play that debuted last April in San Francisco, according to the website, Poor Magazine Online.

The play challenges the stereotyping of black and Latino single mothers lazily filling up welfare rolls to take care of their umpteen amount of children.

The play title is the latest social pun in a movement to reclaim words that have for so long degraded disenfranchised and voiceless populations. As blogger riffRag puts it,

Through intentional use of the highly problematic objectifying label/stereotype of ‘welfare queen’, originally coined by Ronald Reagan as an extremely derogatory reference to poor mothers who were receiving cash aid from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the welfare QUEENS project will re-contextualize the word and who it refers to in the framework of a post welfare reform, increasing stratified American society. This society makes it illegal to be poor; this society does not recognize, support or legitimize the “work” involved in raising children; and this society is quick to accuse poor mothers of the crime of being poor rather than recognize the heroism of their survival.

And the goal of the play isn’t to be preachy. The script was written by, and the cast staring have all been on welfare, or struggled as working poor. The team is headed by long-time Bay Area activist and journalist, Lisa Gray-Garcia, author of the memoir, Criminal of Poverty – Growing up Homeless in America.


October 29, 2007 - Posted by | Happenings | , , ,

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