Brookings analyst says race impacts popularity of welfare among white people

Analyst Vanessa Williamson told Hill.TV on Friday that the popularity of welfare in the United States dropped among white people when the programs became accessible to people of color. 

"Unfortunately, we have a really dark history in this country of racist attitudes about poor people," Williamson, a governance study fellow at the Brookings Institution, told host Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking."

"I think some of that is translating now into some of the attitudes you're seeing about immigrants," she continued. 

"There's a great book called "Why Americans Hate Welfare," and the answer is when welfare became something that was available to people of color, the popularity of those programs among white people went down," she said. 

NPR last year reported on a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, which found that since 2008 more white people have said they were against welfare programs in part because of an uptick in "racial resentment."

"We find evidence that welfare backlash among white Americans is driven in part by feelings that the status of whites in America is under threat," Berkeley doctoral candidate Rachel Wetts said in an interview with NPR. 

— Julia Manchester