Controlling Sexuality Of The Poor

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In the article "Controlling the Sexuality of the Poor", West discusses the " transforming of fictive characterizations". And some examples of these "fictive characterizations" are: a) blacks are the ones who create disaster in society, b) the existence of the single black mother is an epidemic in society, c) a black man without a father is more likely to commit a crime, d) "illegitimacy" has overrun the black culture and it is beginning to infiltrate the white culture as well, e) the spreading of life is considered to be the spreading of disease, and f) poor black women are the "poster children" for the decline of morals and values in the society. Policy makers consider that personal responsibility is the underlying issues for identifying teen pregnancy as a social problem. Personal responsibility is related to poverty in a way which emphasizes the economic links between welfare and illegitimacy. Policy makers offer the solution of " removing subsidies [which] will discourage promiscuity...

Ending this governmental program is seen as a means for creating sexual discipline among poor females"(56). Policy makers ignore the actual facts which create the title of promiscuity. The title is sometimes wrongly assigned to these women. According to West, churches are used wrongly to help welfare recipients because being instruments of the state, they degrade women. Instead, they need to challenge the state and work with the poor Black women for their behalf. The church needs to be a dependable place for these poor women to go to for help with their problems. Representative Delay, evokes the "images of prostitution", when he discusses poor women and welfare. He states that "... it is as if the state acts as a pimp, inviting the girl into this way of life, and then sees to it that she gets paid" (57).Delay believes that money is the motivation for young girls to procreate. West's comparison between the culture of policy makers today and slavery is an accurate one to which I agree with. Black women through out history and today have been presented as having sexually immoral characteristics, and their position has been similar through the decades. Black women are seen as immoral if they give birth to an illegitimate child today and back in the days of slavery.West offers some solutions to the problem that is discussed in the article. One solution is that church leaders and other community activists must help formulate moral agendas to change the image of the poor Black female. Another solution, is that the social and spiritual value of the poor Black mother has to be recognized and promoted in order to erode popular conceptions of these moms as female things that spawn social ills. These women have the right to "stigma free sexual expression"(70).