Claudine – The Welfare Queen


In 1974, Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones starred in the motion picture Claudine – a single Black mother of six children, on welfare, who finds love in a garbage man. Claudine is one of the first movies to highlight the dynamics of the Black male/female relationship. It also shows the interference of the WHITE man and his ruling thumb as king of the Welfare Queen.

Introducing the Welfare Queen

The first dialogue exchanged between Diahann and the other Black maids taking the bus to work. She explains how she’s suffering from headaches and lack of sleep. The other Blackwomen exchange looks and conclude that it’s perhaps because she hadn’t had sex that morning. She’s a single mother with six children she exclaims! She can’t be putting out and “sleeping around”. A Blackwoman in the group pipes up, “when women fought for equal opportunities they didn’t mean voting – when you got needs, you got needs!”

Let me be so fucking crystal clear on this: when WHITE women were fighting for “equal opportunity” is DID NOT include the Blackwoman. I know this is a hard concept for many Blackwomen to grasp. Gloria Steinem doesn’t give a damn about your BLACK RIGHTS. This so-called “women’s liberation” movement never sought to include the Blackwoman. WHITE women sought to be liberated from WHITE men. She wanted the same equal opportunities as the WHITE man!

The majority of Black folks in Amerikkka fought for CIVIL RIGHTS yet along comes a blonde bimbo telling you to leave your man because she wants to leave hers. The Blackman wasn’t holding the Blackwoman back – what the hell does she need to be liberated from? You say you got needs? Well, tell me what else you want from a Blackman other than an orgasm – if that’s all you’re looking for why should he be the one searching for more?

It Must Be Her Fault

James wants to know what the hell happened to her to be thirty-six with six kids. The Blackman longs to understand how this “keeps” happening to the Blackwoman. “Oh [I must be one of those] ignorant black bitches who always got to be laid up with some dude; grinding, having babies for the taxpayer to take care of”. Slavery and designated Sex Farm Plantations treated Black people like cattle! Blackmen were desired for their big, strong, strapping – “Sambo” physique as he would produce “good stock”. The Blackwoman didn’t make too much of a difference to the slave-master. The Blackwoman would lie around and layup with the various, strange men master brought for her to have sex with. Later he would soon separate every member of that BLACK family.

We, as Blackwomen, have learned that the only value we possess is being able to produce children. Often you can hear a Blackwoman proudly saying, “at least I get paid for what I do now”. The Blackman has been conditioned to believe that his worth is measured by how many children he has. His genes must be worth something is master wants more like him. We were taught these concepts by the WHITE man. Conditions of slavery have stayed with us generations later. Today, Blackwomen still measure their worth based on who wants to sleep with them. Today, Blackmen still measure their worth based on how many women they have slept with.

White Supremacy Holds on Tight

Single with six children – the Blackwoman has been down this road before. She prepares herself for the moment the Blackman will not want to bear the burden of being a husband and a father. She can’t see herself with things no woman around her has yet to acquire. From birth, Blackwomen are emotionally and psychologically prepared to go through life alone. She tells the Blackman, “let’s just enjoy each other until it’s over. Nice goodbye. Nice memories.” The Blackwoman sikes herself out before she ever goes to bat. 

How could she ever see a life without her husband – Mr. Welfare. He is the nosiest husband in town! What does he do? He sends his tired WHITE woman to your door for information. Quick – hide the toaster! Hide the iron! Hide the man! Don’t you dare get caught with another man in HIS house!

He damn near starves you and makes you beg for pennies at his feet. If you can’t feed your children then you don’t d-es-e-r-ve them he tells you. You get a part-time job without telling him you are a sneaky, lying fraud! Decide to stay home and “raise the children” you are lazy. You no longer desire to be the Welfare Queen of this racist castle. You want a divorce but he refuses to sign the papers. Therefore you teach your daughters that any Blackman worth loving “will bring the groceries instead of eating yours”. But how can he?

The System is Rigged

The Blackman wants to take Mr. Welfare’s woman? How much money you got? Every dollar the Blackman makes must be reported to Mr. Welfare. Every purchase, every gift. If you marry the single Blackwoman and her children they become your sole financial responsibility. Blackmen often feel like if those aren’t HIS children then HE shouldn’t be financially responsible. Let’s say he goes through with it and marries this Blackwoman. Mr. Welfare says the Blackwoman don’t need money if the Blackman is working. He’s over forty! He’s a garbage man!

Mr. Welfare doesn’t care. He’s bitter and wants his woman back! The Blackman now has to PROVE that he is MAN enough to take care of his family without foreign assistance. No handouts! But what if he loses his job? The law states the unemployed, married Blackman MUST apply for welfare. All the reporting, deductibles, interviews and home-visits will drive that Blackman to drink. He concludes that it is better to love her from a distance or give up the idea of loving her at all. Now papa’s a rolling stone.

Nothing Has Changed Today

James leaves Diahann because it’s just too much! Just when things couldn’t get worse her eldest son has a vasectomy. He figures being a father or a husband is the worst thing to be. It’ll never work out because the WHITE man isn’t playing fair. Also, her eldest daughter is now unmarried and pregnant. Begin the cycle. “Momma if you loved me why didn’t you kill me like they did on the plantation?” her son asked. You see there was once a time when Black mothers would kill their infant child because she knew the future ahead of it. Diahann replied, “I guess I don’t love you because I wanted you to LIVE” – she sees a better future now. Unfortunately, when slavery ended the WHITE man had no use for Black babies. He stole the concept of welfare from Black communities, coined the term “eugenics” and formulated Planned Parenthood.

Blackwomen want husbands for themselves and fathers for their children. The Blackman sees his only possible opportunity as making money – BUYING FREEDOM. However, don’t be so easily moved. Money ain’t everything. Learn, study and educate yourself – for yourself, by yourself; no foreign assistance! All the money in the world means nothing to the BLACK NATION if you don’t have the knowledge on what to do with it. The biggest house on the hill and the nicest car in the driveway carries no merit if you are one day from the unemployment line. To Mr. Welfare the unwed Black mother and jobless Black father are…

P.S. James marries Diahann.

Photo Cred: “Story of O.J.” by Jay-z,,, &

My Black Female Childhood

Welcome to My Black Female Childhood

From the moment a child is born they are attached to their first teacher – their mother. The female infant never stops studying and learning from her mother. As a child, you will mimic everything, right or wrong, and the first mental recordings, which cannot be erased, will become references to survival. I am currently reading Shahrazad Ali’s book “The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman”. Chapter-by-chapter I am revealing my truths about the Blackwoman that I am. This is my Black Female Childhood.

Absent Father – Black Female Childhood

My father never played a major role in my Black Female Childhood. We talked on the phone, I was sixteen and I have met him. Once. I was twenty-one. Although he was absent my mother never spoke ill of him towards me. I never grew up thinking my father wasn’t shit, left us and didn’t give a damn or how much she couldn’t stand him. Thank God. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have, indeed, heard those phrases growing up in my Black Female Childhood. Other Black female family members, acquaintances, and the media would share those views about the Blackmen in their lives.

Many Blackwomen are set up to believe that the Black man is a bother, liar, and a dirty cheat. I have seen Black women withhold information they think is necessary, listen or obey only when they choose and/or have automatic backup plans if it doesn’t work out. These are my first impressions and first-hand accounts of the Blackman who is rarely, if ever, present to defend himself and his kind.

No Strong Male Presence – Black Female Childhood

My brother was born when I was four and I knew then that his father wasn’t my father. I don’t recall if my mother ever explicitly explained that to me of if I just knew, ya know? They never worked out – my mother and my brother’s father, so a man in the house or “of the house” was never a concept that I was hip to. Everything went through, by, pass and around my mother. Eventually, my mother would marry in my teenage years and I will never forget this particular lesson of authority in Black male/female relationships.

My mother had asked me to clean before she left for errands. Shortly after, my step-father would return home from work and relieve me of my chores. I went outside and he took on the responsibility himself. Well, he didn’t finish fast enough because, you see, my mother had returned home. I was outside. He was in the shower. The house was not clean. Shit.

I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t matter what he said. It was what my mother said. Certainly, I had new questions to deal with in my Black Female Childhood: Can I dismiss any and everything he has to say from now on? The man who I know as my grandfather is not my biological grandfather; am I no longer obligated to listen to him either? Why am I – the child, being punished if the adult in the situation is claiming responsibility?

Black Fairy-tale’s Lied to Me

My only sense of authority is a woman and the very i-d-e-a of a man telling me what to do in my personal life is foreign and damn near laughable. I learned early that my mother – a woman, had the last say and made the last decisions. The Blackman’s word is under scrutiny, questionable and carefully taken into consideration.

I have never seen a Black male/female relationship “acted out” in my Black Female Childhood let alone my entire life. My grandparents lived out-of-state and my mother essentially a single-parent with “no family” nearby. Relationships were grown folks business, therefore, all I knew came from television, music, books, and magazines. I was barely 10 years old in the year 2000 and my lessons on Black love and family came from ‘Girlfriends’, ‘The Parker’s’, ‘My Wife & Kids’ and reruns of ‘Moesha’, ‘Living Single’, ‘Martin’, and ‘The Cosby Show’. The Black woman’s Holy Grail of movies on love consisted of ‘Love Jones’, ‘The Wood’, and ‘Love & Basketball’. I could forever replay and study them down to the T.

By the time I was 12-years-old, I had seen every “classic” Black movie involving love, relationships, and marriage. Movies told the truth and I believed them! I recall watching ‘Set It Off’ with Queen Latifah on television and cried my-little-baby-eyes out because I thought that I just saw the most gruesome crime L-I-V-E, right then and there! I was far too young to separate fiction from reality.

Separate the Lies from Truth

I carried these emotions and ideas into adulthood as they governed the way I was going to live my life. My 90’s-baby Black Female Childhood power couple heroes were Martin and Gina, Mya and Darnell, Nina and Darius! “Baby-Making Music” was well into my childhood memories. From getting Usher’s “My Way” for Christmas to your momma banging TP-2. The movies and music almost seem to entice, mislead and misguide the Black woman.

I still have unresolved issues with that man – my father. I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity, again, to talk to him face-to-face. The right “words” to use haven’t found me. I can’t start a conversation when I don’t even know what I’m going to say. Everything that he wasn’t present to teach I learned through trial and error. Everything I know about the Black man I learned from the ‘The Brothers’. That would carry me into the next chapter of my life – those teenage years.

Photo Cred:,, &