In reference to Chelsi Henry’s April 24 op-ed “Limit welfare to paying for basic needs”:

For years politicians have portrayed blacks as the face of welfare to create the perception that they are inferior, shiftless and irresponsible.

Just a few will be hailed by some as the kind of blacks we need in leadership positions.

Think again.

Thousands of successful blacks are out there whose parents were poor and could have qualified for welfare but chose instead to suffer through their poverty and work harder for a brighter day.

You don’t hear much about these folks because many news consumers don’t want to acknowledge the existence of blacks who are not criminals or on welfare and have earned their pay every step of the way.

My first job after college was as administrative assistant to the director of the Kershaw County Office of Economic Opportunity.

My primary responsibility was to conduct research on poverty in the county and write program funding proposals designed to reduce the effects of poverty on residents. One biggest surprise to me was to learn that the number of whites on welfare far exceeded the number of blacks.

Lying, cheating and taking advantage of the system is not unique to any race. My years as a mid-level HR manager in a predominantly white corporate environment taught me this lesson well.

I have mixed feelings regarding proposals to restrict welfare to paying for basic needs. Must we remove every bit of dignity from a poor man’s existence? After all, an occasional glass of wine — “wine that maketh glad the heart of man” — Psalm 104:15, KJV) might be just what a welfare recipient needs to relieve stress.

BONNIE LEAZER

Certificate Court

Charleston