Seminar Series

“African-American Women SNAP Beneficiaries: Milwaukee’s Pigmentocracy, Racism, and the Creation of a Political Underclass”

A presentation by Prof. Gladys Mitchell-Walthour and 2017 Support for Undergraduate Research Fellow Elijah Nicks
March 2nd, 2018
12:30-1:30 pm
Mitchell Hall 206

Summer 2017 we conducted 22 in-depth interviews with African American women Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program beneficiaries in Milwaukee, WI. We asked about their opinions of the program, opinions of the government’s support of SNAP and low income people in general, and race-based, class-based, and gender-based discrimination. We hope to contextualize the conditions in which SNAP beneficiaries live to demonstrate a clearer picture of diversity within the group as well as highlight the role of the state in the creation of continuous black female poverty and a lack of economic opportunity. Continuous poverty and a lack of educational opportunities has led to some citizens who are unaware of America’s political institutions and the role these institutions play in their economic marginalization, essentially a political underclass which allows the state to maintain racial dominance.