Posted on May 11, 2023

California Reparations Committee Demands State Apologize for Reagan Using Term ‘Welfare Queen’

Aaron Kliegman, Fox News, May 10, 2023

California’s reparations task force is calling on the Golden State to issue a formal apology for former Gov. Ronald Reagan coining the term “welfare queen” and for a disproportionately low number of Black Californians working as doctors and lawyers as part of a broader effort to make amends for slavery and racism.

The task force, which was created by state legislation signed by incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020, formally approved over the weekend its final recommendations to the California Legislature, which will then decide whether to implement the measures and send them to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Among the recommendations is for California to issue a formal apology enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor for slavery and anti-Black racism.


“In issuing its apology, the legislature must formally apologize on its own behalf, and on behalf of the state of California, for all of the harms delineated in the [task force’s final] report, and for the atrocities committed by California state actors who promoted, facilitated, enforced, and permitted the institution of chattel slavery and its legacy of ongoing badges and incidents of slavery that form the systemic structures of discrimination,” the committee writes. {snip}

The task force demands the apology include a “censure of the gravest barbarities carried out on behalf of the state by its representative officers, governing bodies, and the people,” highlighting several examples in a “non-exhaustive list.” Among the list was Reagan using the term “welfare queen,” which the task force called “racist coding to promote his philosophy preferring a limited government.”

The task force says Reagan deployed the remark when he served as the governor of California from January 1967 to January 1975. However, the term “welfare queen” became popularized when Reagan used it during the 1976 presidential campaign after he left the governor’s mansion.

The so-called “welfare queen” referred to a mixed-race woman named Linda Taylor, according to a 2019 biography that portrayed her as a con artist and criminal. While Taylor was prosecuted for welfare fraud and reportedly abused the system, critics argue she wasn’t a good example of a typical welfare rule breaker and her story was used to fuel stereotypes. The task force argues that “welfare queen” is a racist term to denigrate primarily single Black women who live on government benefits.


Beyond Reagan, the task force also wants the California Legislature to apologize for there being disproportionately fewer Black doctors and lawyers.