Welfare Queen Character Analysis

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The term, “Welfare Queen”, stemmed from Ronald Reagan's campaign to put an end to women in particular, who abuse the welfare system. A Welfare Queen “has emerged from a long and deeply racialized history of suspicion of and resentment toward families receiving welfare in the United States” (Black and Sprague 2). In Season two of Orange is the New Black, we are introduced to a new character named Vee. Before being placed at Litchfield Prison, she was a foster mother to Taystee and her brother RJ. Throughout this season Vee is questioned if she abuses the welfare system and fits the title “welfare queen” by cheating the system. Vee is in prison for selling drugs and running a business out of her home to help pay for her and her family’s needs. According to the Atlantic,…show more content…
Vee represents this term throughout season two while in prison, as well as flashbacks before she entered the system. At the beginning of Taystee's story, we see Vee meet her at the Black Adoption Fair where she tells Tasty, later in life she will take her in. As they sit on the bench and talk, RJ, comes over to hand Vee cash for the drug trade he had just done. She replies back with “This feels light. Light ain’t right unless you want to sleep on the streets” (Kohan). She has made her own foster child a part of her drug business in order to live with her. Not only does this set a bad example for RJ of how the proper reward of hardworking is earned, but also puts him in a position to choose; sleep on the streets or sell Vee’s drugs. Vee covers this up when Taystee calls her out for being a “connect” and says she is a business woman (Kohan). Vee was given no reason in this season to say why she does not have a real job or why perhaps she may not be able to get one. Therefore, she is cheating the system but having her own illegal drug business to help support the

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