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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The "Welfare Queen" Experiment: How Viewers React to Images of African-American Mothers on Welfare


In the midst of this evolving political landscape on which new debates about welfare ensued, the news media played and continues to play a critical role in the public's understanding of what "welfare" ought to be. Utilizing a novel experimental design, I wanted to examine the impact of media portrayals of the "welfare queen" (Reagan's iconic representation of the African-American welfare experience) on white people's attitudes about welfare policy, race and gender.

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