Professor Pruitt Comments for Washington Post on Unemployment and Rural Communities
Professor Lisa R. Pruitt commented for the Washington Post on the divisions that exist in many rural communities between those who work and those who don't. Resentments often build up against those who have little choice but to try to survive on disability or unemployment benefits, Pruitt said.
“There is a critical divide in the minds of low-income whites, between people who work, even if they struggle, and what has historically been called ‘white trash,’ ” said Pruitt. “The worst thing you can do in rural America among low-income whites is not work.” There’s a mentality, she said, that “only lazy white trash” accept what’s derided as “handouts.”
Lisa R. Pruitt, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor at UC Davis School of Law, is a scholar whose recent work 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.