California Rep: Racism, Classism Preventing Poor from Getting Diapers

California Rep: Racism, Classism Preventing Poor from Getting Diapers

California Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez claims racism and classism are blocking the passage of her proposed bill to provide $80 a month to help needy families buy diapers.

Gonzalez said that she received a barrage of offensive comments on her twitter after expressing her frustration at the lack of support for AB-1516, which she sponsored. The assemblywoman, who represents Chula Vista and parts of San Diego, explained to Capital Public Radio that she was shocked by the multitude of nasty phone calls, hate mail, and unflattering Facebook messages she received.

Sometimes a new idea provokes strong reaction, but that won’t stop my commitment to #progress. #AB1516 #diapers

— Asm. Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaAD80) August 11, 2014

Have advocated for unions, immigrants & gun control. Still, the offensiveness of comments on our diaper bill exceeds anything I’ve ever seen

— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) August 7, 2014

“I’m a progressive. I’m used to having some kinds of fringe people coming after people,” she says. “But I think what is different about this is the lack of understanding and the racism and classism involved when dealing with poor women.”

According to Republican political consultant Mike Madrid, the country is expressing their frustration with the expanding welfare state and the immigration crisis. 

“It really speaks to people’s basic, core feelings about everything from immigration, to poverty, to welfare issues -all three of which are very dynamic and very passionate in their own right,” Madrid said. “And when you combine all three of them, I think what you’re seeing is a kind of a visceral reaction to the entire proposal.”

Madrid predicts that other issues will provoke the same reaction as the diaper bill in the future, as demographic and economic divides grow in California.