Florida’s Drug Screening Legislation: Created to Pander to Whites but Target Americans of Color?

Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed a bill on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, that requires those seeking public assistance and those already on public assistance to be drug-tested, and they will have to pick up the cost for the test. This bill will affect approximately 58,000 recipients in the state of Florida. Since Americans of all races have lost their jobs, this piece of legislation, in the minds of scholars and practitioners, may be perceived to target so-called “criminally minded, welfare-depended blacks.” There are those who need some public assistance until the job market improves, which should obviate this racial stereotype. Howard Simon, Director of ACLU said:

Once again, this governor has demonstrated his dismissal of both the law and the right of Floridians to personal privacy by signing into law a bill that treats those who have lost their jobs like suspected criminals.

Many white Americans are already under the illusion that welfare is synonymous with people of color, specifically African Americans, resulting in various negative images such as “welfare queens” who eat well and drive fancy cars. The white racial frame can only see African Americans as the only racial group that is draining the system. Even white college students who prepare essays or speeches about welfare in our communication classes tend to overrepresent African Americans on the welfare rolls. However, they have overlooked in the research that more whites receive public assistance.

With this said, does Florida’s drug-testing measure deliberately target people of color, specifically African Americans, given the racial stereotype that they are lazy and want the government to take care of them?


  1. Blaque Swan

    Of course this is about race. Not just African Americans, but Latino Americans, too. I’m sorry, but I haven’t heard of white people doing stuff like this to themselves. Not since the years before the Great Depression. I don’t think this can be overemphasized: the white South was solidly Democratic until the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. They wouldn’t do this if they thought it would hurt them. You saw how crazy the went when they realized Paul Ryan was threatening to put government hands on their medicare.

    And of course this abridges Constitutional right to privacy. There’s no legal cause for delving into people personal lives. And besides, lets say all 58,000 people this bill is supposed to affect were on drugs – they’re on welfare!!! If anybody has an excuse for doing drugs, it’s them. And trust and believe, once a few white men get on “60 Minutes” choking back tears as they tell of the humiliation of going from a $75K+ management position to welfare and being drug tested, this law will be repealed. . . . On the other hand, I wonder if this law will be equally enforced or if it’s at the discretion of the social worker.

    Not to mention how stupid the law is. Anyone who can afford to take a drug test for the hell of it doesn’t need welfare in the first place. . . . Come to think of it, perhaps it’s an ingenious catch-22. Since the government entered the charity business, one of the things conservatives have used shame to keep people from seeking welfare. This is just another instance example of that. In recent decades, they’ve also sought unreasonable requirements and limits to assistance. This is just another example of that, too.

    Now, the politifact article you linked makes it seem as though only people who receive cash assistance will be tested. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, either. Exactly how does FL distribute its welfare funds? Some stats have moved to using electronic ATM-style cards. What? Does FL seriously hand out wads of cash to people or something?

    Plus, I heard that people who know what they’re looking for can just go get this herb called yellow root out of the wild, and hide the drugs in their system anyway. So the whole thing is just dumb.

    And racist.

  2. cordoba blue

    Swan Tells Us: “And besides, lets say all 58,000 people this bill is supposed to affect were on drugs – they’re on welfare!!! If anybody has an excuse for doing drugs, it’s them.”
    WoW! Now there’s an intelligent approach for getting black people out of the housing projects. If you’re unemployed, get doped up, start trippin’ and you won’t even care if you stay unemployed or uneducated! And Swan wonders why I criticize some of her comments?
    If African Americans keep listening to Swan, forget it guys, it’s the marginalized metro for you. You’ll never achieve anything. Might as well get used to it..but hey at least you’ll be so doped up you won’t know the difference. It’s exactly this type of cynical “what the hell” thinking that keeps poor blacks from ever even trying to achieve middle class status. Hey, while we’re at it, let’s have a book burning..while we’re high..plus burn down some schools..can you blame us?

  3. cordoba blue

    Plus, I don’t appreciate my tax dollars going to support anybody’s recreational drug habit. I don’t ask the government to pay for my cigarettes or wine, why should I pay for somebody’s coke? Paying for food and shelter is one thing, but this is NOT using the government’s support in a way that hard working Americans would approve.
    Many hardworking black Americans pay taxes also! Has this fact slipped your mind? And I’m sure they’re not working 40 hours a week to pay for sandwich bags full of weed for the unemployed guy down the street either. It all goes back to those terrible words Swan hates to hear: personal responsibility. “But African Americans shouldn’t have to take personal responsibility for any of their behavior..it’s ENTIRELY about white people changing their PERCEPTIONS of African Americans.” Says Swan. Here we go again…So I’ll just have to interpret paying for someone’s drug habit as “a white perception malfunction”. Yeah..here we go again.

      • cordoba blue

        *yawn* Back from the family yacht docked in Puget Sound already? And I thought you said you knew everything about the “other reality”. Well, I guess you never did live in the housing projects after all did you “Attle”? But if anyone would know about the cost of a coke habit, it’s a 20 something hippie. How’s the *yawn* big brother attorney? What do attorneys make these days? 250K a year?

        • cordoba blue

          Re-reading my comments, I know they were very rude. I really don’t want to sound like a superficial commentator. My temper gets the better of me sometimes, and if you want to address me with sarcasm,,, I can’t stop you. However, I’m not going to respond to your comments again. This is supposed to be an academic blog, I personally would like to keep it that way. Trading insults is horrible. I won’t do it anymore. I’m here because I want to stick to the issues, not get into little cat fights.

          • Seattle in Texas

            cord, you can be rude all you want–do what you gotta do. But why do you consistently attack Blaque Swan in such a rude manner? I think if you wanted to keep this an academic blog, she too would be getting an apology? Regardless if you agree with her or not. You wouldn’t be confronting her with rudeness and sarcasm, if you wanted to keep it professional?

            Somehow your comment above was submitted prior to my comment below, so it wasn’t showing up. Kinda funny. Nonetheless, my questions still stand if you don’t mind since you took it upon yourself to profile me again. Where are you getting your information? And can you please bring the links back to me where I made all those claims on this site? It would be much appreciated. And an apology extending to Black Swan too, would be much appreciated.


        • Seattle in Texas

          hmmm, I need you to bring back a citation where I said my bro was an attorney on here, cord. I do have a brother though…haha–and I need you to cite where I said I know everything about the “other reality”. And I said I lived in the housing projects? Really? Please bring back a citation–or just bring back the links where I said that. I’m curious where you get your information. Anyway….

          Uh, yeah, I don’t know anything about the worlds in which you speak, uh, coming from the the white upper middle class world and all. I don’t know anything about the drug world either, which was why I was so surprised that the government gives out enough money to support coke habits, etc. At least, according to your comments above….

          Oh boy, yeah, the yacht was great–incredible. aaaaah, yes, the glorious Puget Sound. Thanks for asking….

        • Imagine

          It’s funny cordoba how much you like to critize someone and act like you know Seattles lifestyle and past and all the crap that you keep talking about Blaque Swan. Kinda crazy that you like to target that black minorites and only talk about their drug habits… What about White People none of them do drugs? I would like to see you live in the projects of course you being black and jump into middle class. Would you be rejected from jobs, classified as a theif, killer, or maybe a rapist? Lifes so much easier for white people, you should know. I’m sure your taxes are paying for coke habbits and sandwhich bags of weed for mostly whites sitting back on welfare since there are more whites on welfare than blacks… ROFL…

  4. cordoba blue

    @ Seattle. You left this comment to me on another thread:
    “I crack up when people of the higher SES make reference to the “real world”…really? I’d love a definition. Seriously. I’m curious about your ability to function and succeed in those worlds that you thereby define as “non-real”(?)by default of the “real world” you suggest since of course the folks you are referring to can’t survive in the “real world”…hmmmm. White up white up! White up or you don’t belong, you don’t deserve to be in, or a part of, the “real world.” My guess is that your ability to survive in the non-real worlds that you speak to, wouldn’t be too long.”
    I then responded and asked if YOU yourself have ever lived in a low SES, ie housing projects, since you accused me of not being able to survive in a world other than my own. You never answered MY question. That’s how the “you’ve never lived in the projects Seattle” meme got going.
    I also remember (can’t find it) you mentioning your brother and you spent alot of time together and felt empathy for poor people and he was an attorney. Now THAT’s THE LAST TIME I’M DISCUSSING THIS. I really do hate bickering about personalities etc. Plus, your responses to me haven’t always been..ummm..civil either Seattle. And yeah..you have a knack for the sarcastic. But I’m not engaging in this inane personality comment thing anymore.
    Plus I criticize Swan’s ideas, not the person. I know she is sincere in her beliefs but sometimes (like the comment about can you blame people for doing drugs if they’re on welfare) I can’t agree with her.

    • Seattle in Texas

      wow, okay–interesting logic, but okay, I’ll go with it lol. I still need the citation where I said my brother and I spent a lot of time together and felt empathy for poor people and he was an attorney. Please bring back the link on that since you’re the one throwing out these claims in the first place. Closing it off because you can’t find them is pretty lame, and weak, to say the least. Thanks.

      Actually, I haven’t interacted with you very much on this site…but if you’re the same person as ellen, and later miranda, etc., then yes I have, I suppose. Trolls are no fun… If your different from them, then you haven’t been on this site for too long and began commenting after they…I haven’t been active much at all in the last couple of years, soooo, I know I haven’t interacted with you hardly at all on here. You just compelled me to respond to you with your consistent rudeness towards her. It’s dumb.

      And no, you criticize and insult her as a person in your responses to her in numerous ways in the way you refer to her as, “Swan” and challenge the antiracist points in which she is making as a person of color, etc., which is different than being critical of her ideas (being critical from a white perspective on top of it, that is). I find it problematic when whites in general try to undermine the thoughts, ideas, and perspectives of people of color. Your communication style towards her is offensive in general. So I disagree.

      Anyway, please bring me back the citation of where I said those things you claim.

      Thanks much

      • cordoba blue

        @Seattle: I can’t find the thread you want Seattle. It was about two months ago that you mentioned your brother. Sorry. Let’s just (and I need to do the same) keep the conversations civil and not based on personalities. Just because you disagree with someone does not mean you need to make editorial comments on their personalities, lifestyles etc. Right? Thanks.

        • Seattle in Texas

          cordoba blue, yes–I agree with you on the commenting.

          I’m trying to remember when I may have mentioned my brother in the last couple of months…I have mentioned him on this site before, I’m pretty certain. The particular time I remember speaking of him was with relation to a post on Detroit some time back–but I cannot remember if I disclosed the person I was talking about was my brother….

          A couple of years back also, I did reference a Seattle area attorney who was very dear to me and many others. It was relevant and appropriate to the main post. He was an activist and a wonderful attorney–one of best in the areas in which he practiced. He was involved with the representation of the victim in the story below to provide an example of the types of cases he consistently dealt with if this helps:


          In that post, I was honoring this person. I was trying to think if it might have appeared as though this person was my brother? (like did I say “Brother David” or something, and I don’t believe I did). He was not my brother, but a very special and rare person for many. He also assisted with making some significant positive impact in some Washington Laws.

          Other than that, those are the only two times I can remember off hand at least, referencing my brother and an attorney. They are not the same people and those posts were left a very different points in time. I’m trying to think of when else I may have referenced my brother and why….

          At any rate, yes I am sarcastic, and can be rude, crude, and vulgar–characteristics that do come out when I see trolls and bullies. It’s one thing to disagree, but another to be insulting and consistently harassing others. I don’t like the harassment. It is possible to disagree with others in a respectful manner too. So please be respectful to Blaque Swan, perspectives of color, and others. The trolls? Well…I have only silence here for that. You have put up some insightful posts and I, along with others, have appreciated them. I hope you continue to contribute to this site in those ways, and respectfully disagree others when you do disagree.

          Take care

  5. cordoba blue

    @ Seattle:
    That was very kind-hearted! Thank you! Once again, ladies and gentleman, we have an example of how two political commentators on a site (who formeraly did not see eye-to-eye) can resolve their differences if each person admits their short-comings and resolves to do better. When I read the last rude comment I wrote, I felt ashamed of myself. I do not want to sound like this or treat other people with such indifference or callousness. How can we call ourselves humanitarian and anti-racists if we can’t even be considerate of each other?
    We both admitted we have the capacity to be sarcastic, for example. That shows me Seattle, you have what’s called in 19th century books (and I really love this phrase) generosity of spirit. That means you are not afraid to give of yourself, or readily show kindness to others. You do not have to always gather praise and attention for yourself alone. Some people never get to that point in their entire lives, and I think are incomplete people for it.
    With your kind words, I am really inspired to be EXTRA DIPLOMATIC if I do disagree with anyone. Kindness promotes kindness. You take care too Seattle 🙂

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