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News Posted on October 23, 2015

Professor Pruitt Comments on Rural Poverty for In These Times

Professor Lisa R. Pruitt was interviewed by In These Times for an article on "Why the Left Isn't Talking about Rural American Poverty." Discussions of poverty tend to focus on urban populations and people of color, despite the fact that poverty rates are often higher in rural areas, which are commonly associated with white poverty, Pruitt said.

"For better or worse," Pruitt said, "when we talk about poverty, we focus on black poverty, and we focus on Hispanic poverty. We've collapsed our nation's poverty problem into our nation's racism problem and it leads us to turn a blind eye to rural poverty."

Pruitt said that the problems of the rural poor get little attention from politicians or the media, in part because of persistent stereotypes.  "I think the assumption is that rural white voters are racist and illiberal and intolerant," she said. "And so there are all sorts of incentives to distance ourselves -- for the Democratic presidential candidates to distances themselves -- from rural whites. I think that most rural white voters are pretty alienated from politics generally, and the Democratic Party in particular."

Lisa R. Pruitt is a professor at UC Davis School of Law whose recent scholarship explores the legal relevance of rural spatiality, including how it inflects dimensions of gender, race, and ethnicity.  Pruitt's work also considers rural-urban difference in transnational and international contexts.

In These Times