Wendy A. Bach


Imagine yourself for a moment as a mother seeking help from the state. Your need might be for education, safety, housing, money, health care, or childcare. Depending on where you live, your race, your gender, your class position, and the composition of your family, the support you seek is likely to arrive, if it arrives at all, in radically different packages. If you are economically privileged and, more likely than in a world without structural racism, white, help is likely to come in to you in a particular form. For you, help may come in the form of high quality public schools, childcare, home mortgage deductions, safe streets, or employer-based but government subsidized health care. The support you receive from that subject position is certainly not enough to meet your needs, but it is not likely to be structured to penalize you for seeking support. The only real risk you run by seeking support is the possibility that you might not get it. In contrast, if you are poor and, more likely than in a world without structural racism, African American, and if you are living as a parent in the inner city, any support you receive is likely to be structured quite differently.

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