Tag: poverty

The Gastropolitics of School Lunch

For Americans of a certain age, the term school lunch evokes the worst elements of institutional dining: soggy pizza, mushy vegetables, plastic sporks. Or perhaps it is the nutritional inadequacies that are most salient in our collective imagination: after all, the Reagan administration (according to popular legend) once classified ketchup as a vegetable.1 Passage of… Read more →

UK Squatters’ Fight for Decent Housing

The topic of squatting — living in or using a dwelling without the owner’s permission — often elicits condemnation from the well-housed, confusion or fear from those who consider modern civilized life to revolve around a stable and secure home, and a general attitude that only dirty hippies would resort to essentially living illegally and… Read more →

Poking Holes in Political Memes: History, the Welfare State, and the Trope of the Founding Fathers

An elderly man behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store asked me what I do. When I told him I’m a PhD candidate in history, he commented that understanding history better would really help this country to get “back on track.” I braced myself for a speech about the greatness of the… Read more →

“Why does Congress wish to have mothers and babies die?”

It takes a rare political personality to gain regular air-time on today’s political pundit shows. Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner is one of those personalities. If anyone is going to grab precious minutes on air it’s Turner, a politician who wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “GOP — Get Out of My Panties”… Read more →

Mommy Wars of Yore: Classism and its Casualties

Most of us are familiar with the Mommy Wars. The Internet is the battlefield, and woman is pitted against woman in a ruthless competition to out-mother each other by breastfeeding longer, Pinteresting better, and home birthing harder. Critics point out that mothers are feeling more pressure than ever before to be certain kinds of mothers, and… Read more →

Love, Death, and Human Rights: A View from Rio de Janeiro

My partner Clayton was murdered while riding his motorcycle home from work on April 28, 2015. He was followed by three men on two motorcycles who opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon and shot him nearly 20 times in the back. Clayton was a police officer in the favela of Manguinhos, an urban slum in… Read more →

Obama, Ryan, O’Reilly, and the Poverty of the Political Imagination

By Austin McCoy

President Obama, Paul Ryan, and Bill O’Reilly walk into a bar. Rather than engage in abstract conversations about the role of America in the world or the federal government’s role in the market, they decide to talk about an issue where they can forge some common ground. What issue could the three men come together around? It is probable they would likely converge around trying to explain and address the poverty of black men and women in the United States. This common ground is possible because national conversations about public policy never seem to escape the orbit of culture, meritocracy, colorblindness, and normative understandings of gender and family. More specifically, Ryan’s, Obama’s, and O’Reilly’s recent comments on the subject revolve around two political archetypes—the heteronormative family and the black male. When considered together, they take a special place in our nation’s “gendered imagination.”