In Intersections of Race, Gender, and Precarity: Navigating Insecurities in an American City, Stephanie Baran argues that when it comes to assistance the United States government often creates more problems than it solves. These institutions are not in the business of creating a pathway for people to escape poverty, often compounding that poverty instead. Through a two-year ethnographic study of poverty and insecurity in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the author shows how people navigate situations of poverty through interviews with recipients and organizations as well as those working at a local community pantry. Consequently, research uncovered how local food organizations with connections to the Milwaukee Chapter of the Black Panther Party hide their more radical roots to protect food donations from white donors, in essence protecting white fragility. People are far closer to experiencing poverty than they realize, as shown by the Government Shutdown of 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and typically have incomplete and inaccurate ideas of poverty as well as how people can experience upward mobility. Intersections of Race, Gender, and Precarity reveals this gap through a focus on how all these factors show up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Stephanie M. Baran is instructor at Nicholls State University.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Note on Methodology
Chapter 1“Let’s go eat in the office”: Life at a Milwaukee Food Pantry
Chapter 2Benefits: How Public Perceptions Hurt Recipient Access
Chapter 3Perceptions of Poverty
Chapter 4 Food Insecurity in an American City
Chapter 5Outside the pantry
Chapter 6What happens when a government ‘fails’ to act?
Chapter 7“I feel like a rat in a race”: The Benefit Experience
Chapter 8Hunger Task Force: Your Free & Local Food Bank
Conclusion An Ode to My Time at Feed the Need
About the Author