The intersection of poverty discourses: Race, class, culture, and gender

Debra Henderson, Ann Tickamyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath present a timely window on the contradictory inner dynamics of race, class, gender, and poverty in America. The exposure of extreme poverty, closely associated with an urban Black underclass, stranded by natural disaster and political neglect, was both a reminder of the existence of deprivation that the public is reluctant to acknowledge and a reinforcement of popular prejudices and stereotypes about poverty that the same public is all too ready to espouse. In the United States, poverty is commonly given a Black and disreputable face and then alternately ignored and demonized, part of a legacy of institutionalized racism that obscures the complexity of its demographics, causes, and consequences. Media coverage of the disaster followed a familiar script: surprise and discovery, followed by efforts to classify victims and victimizers, deserving and undeserving, laced with a little sympathy for the former and moral outrage at the latter. Regardless of whether Katrina actually generates new concern, policy, or programs for the poor or just represents one of the periodic rediscoveries of poverty, the portrayal of its ravages graphically reinforces popular views of who is poor and why that underlies much of public opinion and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEmerging Intersections
Subtitle of host publicationRace, Class, and Gender in Theory, Policy, and Practice
PublisherRutgers University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780813544540
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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