Rural Americans Are Poor Because of Racism, Sexism and Other Discriminations

By Faktorovich, Anna | Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Spring 2019 | Go to article overview

Rural Americans Are Poor Because of Racism, Sexism and Other Discriminations


Faktorovich, Anna, Pennsylvania Literary Journal


Rural Americans Are Poor Because of Racism, Sexism and Other Discriminations Ann R. Tickamyer, Jennifer Sherman, and Jennifer Warlick, editors. Rural Poverty in the United States. 476pp, images. ISBN: 978-0-23117223-3. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

The motivation for this study is that: "America's rural areas have always held a disproportionate share of the nation's poorest populations... What is it about the geography, demography, and history of rural communities that keeps them poor? In a comprehensive analysis that extends from the Civil War to the present, Rural Poverty in the United States looks at access to human and social capital; food security; healthcare and the environment; homelessness; gender roles and relations; racial inequalities; and immigration trends to isolate the underlying causes of persistent rural poverty." I requested this book because I live in a rural area and I just finished a campaign for mayor with the promise that I would bring in more people and businesses here if I won. I spoke with several people who told me they did not want new people or businesses moving in. The main reason for this was they feared their jobs would be taken by the newcomers. Businesses also did not want competing grocery stores and the like opening in case their own sales might go down. They explained that the City Council and others in the local government had voted against bringing in what became Vernon College and the Walmarts that were instead positioned in Vernon and Childress, 30 miles away in two directions. What would these conscious decisions to remain small and to deliberately depopulate to limit competition have to do with gender or race? It seems to me the authors of this study are out-of-touch with the realities of rural life. Surely there is plenty of racism in cities as well. The blurb continues by stating that the volume utilizes "sociology, economics, demography, race and gender studies, public health, education, criminal justice, social welfare, and other social science fields. They take a hard look at current and past programs to alleviate rural poverty and use their failures to suggest alternatives." In reality, there are hardly any programs in place to alleviate poverty, and America's budgets for welfare and other anti-poverty programs are shrinking. …

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